The Importance of Financial Planning

Understanding Investment Risk

During the last few years of the 2000’s we all saw the effect that stock market falls had on pension funds, investments and share prices. We all saw how the values of pensions and investments fell. If you were one of these people that has been affected by the stock market falls, it’s understandable that you might still think twice about investing in shares (non cash funds). However, we all know that leaving your money in cash for a long time may not necessarilty generate the best returns.

As 2015 has begun with historically low interest rates, many people are now seeking alternatives to deposit accounts. However the levels of risk associated with alternative investment options and also the investors attitude and capability of taking on risk must be carefully assessed in considering suitable choices.

It All Begins With A Plan……

Before you begin to choose a suitable investment you will want to consider what are your investment objectives. Setting these objectives correctly based on your current situation and knowing your investment profile will form the basis for choosing the correct options.

Rating Funds

It is important to note that most managers of Investment and Pension Funds are now broadly in line with guidelines received by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in the context of Risk Rating their Funds. The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7 meaning that you can now readily identify the level of “risk” pertaining with 1 being at the very lowest level and 7 the highest.

Investor Attitude to Risk

A very important piece of work that should be done as part of the decision making process is to take full account of an investors attitude to risk. There are many “Risk Attitude Questionnaires” that help to determine this and help to match the investors requirements with the huge range of investment fund options available in the market. Apart from recording the investors view it also takes account of really relevant matters such as:

  • What is my knowledge of investments?
  • When will I need access to my capital?
  • Do I need to draw an income?

Capacity to Bear Risk

This is another very important factor to take into account when constructing your portfolio. It is one matter to say you can accept risk in order to achieve high returns but another key factor must be to match your profile with your capabilities.The real message in all of this is that while there is a myriad of options and choice it is vitally important to seek and have independent advice available to you. If you need any further information on this please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Call Aidan Wall at: 046 924 0961 or email:

The Importance of Financial Planning

Life Assurance – Looking After Your Loved Ones

Statistics show that people are more likely to insure their cars and homes than themselves. They don’t seem to baulk at all about insuring their borrowings such as the mortgage on their home, however, insuring themselves has been shown to be much more price sensitive. Perhaps it is the mandatory nature of car, home and mortgage protection cover that makes it so much more acceptable. In reality, however, your life is your most important asset – especially if you have dependants.If you have people dependant on your income generating ability such as a spouse and children you really ought to be taking measures to ensure that their financial wellbeing is secured in the event of your untimely death.

Stop, Think and Ask Yourself…

  • Do I have dependants who rely on me and my income and who would be at a major financial disadvantage if the worst were to happen to me?
    • If the answer is yes and there is none or not enough Life Assurance cover in place then you should consider doing something about it.
  • Questions that need to be asked and advice that needs to be sought around this are: –
    • How much cover should I have?
    • Apart from providing for my dependants future financial wellbeing, do I have liabilities that need to be covered?
    • What type of cover do I need and for what period of time?
    • What is the cost and how do I go about getting best value?
    • Do I need to cover my spouse’s life also?

So…what are the next steps?

There are many reasons why people are slow and reluctant to put in place appropriate and sufficient Life Assurance cover.

  • It’s discretionary and therefore not prioritised – it should be though
  • There is a fear that it is hugely expensive – in general this is not the case
  • Maybe you feel that having Mortgage Protection to pay off your mortgage is enough – it’s not
  • How do I start?? – it’s easy, seek good advice

The role of a good advisor in all of this is to help you through the process of:

  • Identifying what type of cover you need
  • How much cover you need and the cost
  • Helping you choose the most appropriate policy for your needs
  • Assisting you through the process of putting the policy in force
  • Carrying out regular reviews to take account of your changing circumstances

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