Keeping it in the family

Like your doctor, dentist or family solicitor, it may surprise you to know that meeting up with your financial adviser can develop into a long-term relationship!

It’s the foundation to successful financial planning – and can help your money move smoothly across the generations, and work for you all the way.

Here’s how one family’s pathway through the financial jungle was smoothed by adviser Clive Barwell, from The Nottingham's trusted partner Wren Sterling. He is an expert on later life money matters – and has been helping Jenny’s family, including son Julian, for over a decade.

Clive said: “I first met Rod (Jenny’s late husband) after an introduction from a solicitor when Rod’s mother was ill back in 2005. I was called in to do some urgent inheritance tax work because there were no arrangements in place and a potentially sizeable IHT bill emerging.

“At the time, it was also 5-6 years away from when Rod expected to retire and he wanted to get a steer on what he was going to have and in anticipation of receiving an inheritance from his mother, who was nearing the end of her life.

“He was planning to gift some money to the children as my analysis showed that Rod and Jenny were going to be secure in the long term. There was a clear opportunity to cascade the money down the generations.

“Sadly after we had made plans, Rod died quite unexpectedly. This meant there were two inheritances coming into the family at that time, so the planning for Jenny his wife, and her two children Julian and Alex began to take shape as the issues emerged.

“Generally speaking, a lot of people don’t make long term plans, or even look beyond the end of the month. In my experience it usually needs the catalyst of somebody like me to come in to crystallise thinking.”

Jenny said: “Previously I had left finances to Rod so I had very little understanding. All I knew was that we had always provided for the children, Rod had a pension due to his work and we had some savings.”

Their relationship as clients of Clive and Wren Sterling (formerly Towergate Financial) has evolved over ten years.

Julian added: “I first met Clive in London when I returned from studying in America. I went to see Clive because I was going to receive an inheritance. Clive had worked with my father for many years and was involved in the family’s finances, and now I had an individual relationship with him as I discussed my personal financial plans for the first time. This was a real benefit. I was thinking about these issues much earlier, in my mid to late twenties, than I would have done otherwise.”

Jenny said: “I would say it has become a lot more relaxed. I feel comfortable talking to Clive about our finances and my understanding has certainly improved.

“I now look ahead in two to three year cycles – housing and care and things like that are on my mind now. I might need to move out of London for that, but for the moment I’m lucky enough to be able to stay where I am.

“My advice to anyone else facing a situation like mine would be not to make any rushed decisions.

“I have no complaints about my lifestyle. Travelling keeps me going and I’m fortunate to have been able to do quite a lot of that in recent years.”

In fact, Clive has also discussed when there might be a time in the future for Jenny when this might not be possible – and is looking to make sure she can do what she wants to do without compromising her long-term provisions.

Julian added: “I now have full-time employment after a long time studying and living abroad. I’m still renting, so what’s prime in my mind is to stop renting and buy a property, which isn’t easy in London. Thanks to the inheritance that Clive invested, at some point in the next couple of years I’ll be using that as a deposit on a house or apartment.

“When I was young I never spoke to my dad about finances, then with Clive’s help I was able to understand more about why it made sense to move the money to me at that stage.  

“What really helped was the fact that we already knew Clive. It wasn’t a new relationship and we didn’t need to trust a stranger with the family’s finances at a difficult time.”

Jenny said: “I agree, it’s been very reassuring to have Clive on hand.

“It’s also reassuring for me to know that my children have organised their finances independently of me, so I don’t need to take on the burden of understanding new issues or feel like I need to advise them.”

And do they see the involvement of a financial adviser as expensive?

Jenny said: “I didn’t really think about it that way. It’s a professional service – like calling a plumber out. You could fix it yourself, but you know what’s going to happen! We live in a great DIY world, but I think there’s a lot at stake here. Without Clive’s help we may have lost a lot in inheritance tax in the last 10 years.”

Julian added: “People of my generation don’t necessarily look at retirement because you can’t picture yourself being that old, so they may see it as expensive. I’ve really benefitted from the professional advice though and feel like I have greater understanding of the issues that have affected our family and I know what I’m doing financially over the next few years.”

And that’s the benefit of an experienced financial adviser. 

Having a concept of what it looks like at the end of the journey can make it easier to map out the steps to get there.

Find out more about our financial planning offerings. We also recommend you seek financial advice before taking any action. Call us on 0344 481 1226 to find out how.

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