What does Impartial Financial Advice mean?
Impartial financial advice means that, unlike an advisor at your bank, we are not tied to a restricted number of financial product providers. This allows us to research the market to find the best solution for you in terms of the cost of a policy, level of cover and exposure to risk.
What is a Financial Broker?
A financial broker is a fully qualified expert who is authorised to advise individuals and business owners in financial matters which can include financial planning, life insurance, serious illness cover, mortgage insurance, inheritance tax planning, income protection and investments and pensions.
How do I know my Financial Broker is qualified to give advice?
Firstly, a Qualified Financial Advisor should have the QFA letters after their name. This means that they have acquired the relevant qualifications and are competent to give advice to individuals and business owners on their financial matters.
Qualified Financial Advisors are also highly regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and an up-to-date register of QFAs is available on their website.
Why use a Financial Broker when I get free advice from my bank?
Banks tend to ally themselves with a limited number of financial institutions which can restrict the range of options available to you. This may result in you purchasing an “off-the-shelf” financial product which is not suited to your specific needs.
We are able to research the market and negotiate the best possible terms on your behalf. Impartial financial advisors can often obtain much more competitive quotes from life and pension companies.
How can I be sure my interests come first?
Firstly, we want you to succeed in your financial goals because our best customers are repeat customers and those referred to us by clients who are happy with the service we provide. We wouldn’t have lasted 30 years in this business if we didn’t put our client’s interests first!
Secondly, as Financial Brokers, Lifetime Financial Planning is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and we are obliged by law to act in the best interests of our clients.
How much will it cost to engage the services of a Financial Broker?
You may be surprised to hear that there is often no extra cost involved in engaging the services of a Financial Broker when they are paid by commission. For their service you get access to a far greater choice of suitable (and often more affordable) products, expert impartial advice and a knowledgeable professional who is obliged by law to act in your best interest.
Financial Brokers are also obliged to outline any additional fees (if applicable) in their terms of business before any work is carried out on your behalf, so there is no need to worry about nasty shocks!
What is a Financial "Factfind"
A “factfind” is an early stage in the Lifetime Financial Plan process and it is also the most important. This is where we gain a full understanding of your current financial position in order to be able to give you the best possible advice.
To do this we need to understand, in the strictest of confidence, your income and expenditure, assets and liabilities, family situation (number and ages of any dependents), outstanding loans and any existing portfolio of financial products you currently have. This enables us to build a more accurate picture of what we can help to achieve for you.
At Lifetime Financial Planning we believe it would be professionally irresponsible to attempt to advise someone on their finances without gaining a full understanding of their current position beforehand.
What does "Fair Analysis" of the market mean?
Fair analysis of the market means that we research the market thoroughly for the best product to suit your needs from a broad range of product providers. Unlike the advisor at your bank, we are not allied to a limited number of financial products/providers and can therefore negotiate the best possible terms on your behalf.
I already have an existing policy/portfolio of investments. Can you review them?
We would be more than happy to conduct a review of any existing policies/investments you currently have and make recommendations on any improvements or changes that we feel should be made.
I’m self employed. Can you help to reduce my tax bill?
Yes, we would be more than happy to assist you in minimising your tax bill while still complying fully with tax legislation. We can advise you on some highly tax efficient ways to convert your income into long term wealth. You may also be able to get tax relief on life insurance.
Life Insurance FAQs
What does Life Insurance do?
The purpose of Life Insurance is to give you peace of mind in knowing that your family will be provided for in the event of you passing away. If your family depend on you for their income, the life insurance policy will allow them to continue to enjoy the living standards which you work so hard to provide for them.
This type of insurance is generally tailored to protect the family income until all dependent children are grown up and financially self sufficient and debt is paid off. For this reason priority for life insurance should be given to the breadwinner(s) in the family.
How do I know if I need Life Insurance?
It may come as a surprise to you that some people don’t need life insurance. That’s why we conduct a “factfind” before any work starts on designing your Lifetime Financial Plan.
People who don’t really need Life Insurance include those who:
– currently own sufficient assets to provide an adequate income for their loved ones in the event of something unforeseen.
– have no dependents or whose dependents are grown up and financially self sufficient.
– have acquired sufficient death in service benefits through their employment / pension.
– have a partner whose earnings can comfortably cover the household expenses.
Are you just going to try to sell me a Life Insurance policy?
Remember we are legally obliged to always act in your best interest, and we don’t try to sell you anything. We create a roadmap for your Lifetime Financial Plan, to help you to achieve your financial goals and avoid any unforeseen shocks along the way.
You may be one of those people, listed in the previous answer, that doesn’t really need Life Insurance. However, if your family depend on you for their income we recommend that it should be part of your Lifetime Financial Plan to protect and provide for them in the event of something unforeseen.
What is Mortgage Protection Insurance?
Mortgage protection insurance clears any outstanding debt left on your mortgage in the event that the mortgage holder passes away.
When you’re taking out a mortgage on a home you’re obliged to take out a mortgage protection insurance policy, but you are not obliged to buy it from your mortgage lender. We can gain access to a broader and more competitive range of policies that may better suit your requirements.
Arranging your mortgage protection insurance with us may also enable you to transfer the policy to your new home mortgage if you decide to move in a few years time. The same policy bought from your mortgage lender may be non-transferable, so it would be cancelled when you move to a new home.
I already bought a Mortgage Protection Insurance policy. Can it be reviewed?
Yes, we would be happy to conduct a review of your current mortgage insurance policy and make recommendations on any improvements that should be made.
Transferring your policy to us could give you access to a much broader (and often more competitive) range of products which can be easily transferred to any new home you buy in the future.
What does Income Protection Insurance do?
Income Protection Insurance is designed to ensure that your family income is not lost completely in the event that you become unable to earn a living through injury, illness or disability.
An income protection insurance policy will pay up to 75% of your annual income should such a thing occur.
Income Protection Insurance is important to consider if you are a breadwinner in the family.
Is Income Protection not the same as Life Insurance?
Income protection ensures continuity of up to 75% of the family income if you become unable to earn a living due to illness, injury or disability.
On the other hand, Life Insurance generally leaves a cash lump sum or ensures continuity of income for your family in the event that you pass away.
My income is not fixed. Can I still get Income Protection Insurance?
Yes but it can be more difficult to get for someone whose income is erratic.
In the event that you become ill or are injured a policy will generally pay out on your income from the previous year. This may not suit you if you earn a lot one year and less the next year.
It is possible however to purchase a policy which ensures a guaranteed level of income, generally an average of your income over a number of years.
What does Serious Illness Insurance do?
Serious Illness Insurance (also referred to as critical illness cover or specified illness cover) enables you to benefit from a cash lump sum in the event that you are diagnosed with an illness specified in your policy.
This type of cover can help to remove the stress of medical bills and day to day living expenses and enables you to concentrate on getting well again.
It can also help to renovate your home to cater for your recently diagnosed illness.
What does Whole of Life Insurance do?
Whole of life cover leaves a cash lump sum for your loved ones whenever you pass away. This type of policy can be used to leave a gift for your family or to help with expenses after you pass away, such as funeral and inheritance tax bills.
Premiums can either be fixed from the day you take out the policy or they can be subject to change.
This type of policy should be considered very cautiously as the premiums must continue to be paid in order for the policy to remain valid.
We can help you to gauge for yourself if this type of policy is suitable for you.
Retirement Income / Pension FAQs
Are we going to have enough money when we retire?
This is probably the most common question that we are asked.
The only way to be confident that you will be comfortable in your retirement is to have a Lifetime Financial Plan and to review it regularly. We can help you through the steps involved and guide you along the way to achieving security in your retirement.
If you’re nearing retirement now and you’re worried about your future income then don’t hesitate to contact us. We can conduct a “factfind” to gain a full understanding of your current financial situation and help you to achieve peace of mind in your retirement.
How do I know my investment is safe?
All investment funds are graded in terms of their level of risk. Lower risk funds tend to invest more conservatively to produce smaller and steadier returns, while higher risk funds have the potential to produce larger returns, or result in bigger losses if the fund doesn’t perform well.
Most people choose funds which offer an acceptable return while accepting a degree of volatility.
During the early stages of our Lifetime Financial Plan we can help you to gauge your own attitude to risk, and give our own expert opinion on your threshold for withstanding any losses.
The important thing to know is that we will ensure that you are equipped with the best possible advice before you make any decision on where you want to invest your hard earned money.
If your query has not been answered in the above list then please don’t hesitate to get in touch either through the contact form on this website or by calling us at 046 924 0961.
We would be more than happy to answer any other financial questions you may have.