General FAQs

What is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER?

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM or (CFP®) is the gold standard in Financial Planning and is a recognised accreditation across the world. A CFP® professional has met the rigorous academic standards in the (i) Grad Dip in Financial planning, (modules include; Tax, Investments, Retirement Planning, Financial Planning & Risk Management) (ii) passed the CFP® accreditation exam, (III) met the experience requirements and (iv) satisfied the FSPB code of ethics requirements before being accredited.  Please visit the FPSB website for more details.

What does Impartial Financial Advice mean?

Impartial Financial Advice means that we are not tied to any Financial Services product providers. This allows us to research the open market to find the best solution for you in terms of cost of the product, the level of cover and exposure to risk. This is termed a “Fair Analysis” and we will summarise this in our statements of suitability for any product recommended.

Do you take on all clients who contact you?

We prefer to work with Clients who want to ensure a stress free Financial future, so all parties must have a vested interest. During our Client engagement process, we have a number of meetings which allow you to gauge whether you would like to work with us and allow us to determine likewise. Where we see incompatibilities or conflicts of interest, we call these out and halt the process.

How can I be sure my interests come first?

At Lifetime Financial Planning, we have advised Clients over the past 40 years and many of our Clients from then remain with us still today, because, as professionals with a fiduciary responsibility we put their interest first.

Additionally, we are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and are obliged by law to act in our Client’s best interest and also, we abide by the Financial Planning Standards Board code of ethics meaning that we are overseen by significant and competent bodies at all times. Also we recommend you review our Code of Ethics.

How much will it cost to engage your Financial Planning Services?

The great aspect of this work is that EVERY Client is different and so too are their needs. Our Clients receive a specific financial plan tailored to their circumstances using our six step process approved by the Financial Planning Services Board.

The cost for each plan is determined by the complexity and will be communicated to you prior to commencing any work. Our hourly rate is set out in our Terms of Business and we can usually estimate the number of hours required once we have an understanding of your financial situation.

If financial products are required to enable the plan, and you authorise us to implement these, we will be paid commission for the work in arranging these products by the chosen product provider. A full disclosure of the commission rates available to us from the product providers is available on our website.

I already have an existing policy, pension or portfolio of investments, can you review them?

During the six step Financial Planning process, we will identify these at the Factfind stage and will provide commentary on their suitability within the context of your personalised Financial Plan.

Where insurance policies, pensions or investments already fulfil the planning need, we say so and recommend no change. We do, however, expect you to transfer any agency for these policies to ourselves so that we can monitor them for continued suitability.

Where there is a Financial need identified in the plan, we make a recommendation to implement a solution. It is then your decision whether to implement the solution or not.

Do you deal with self-employed people, employed and retirees?

Yes. Our client base consists of employed, self-employed and retired people.

For self-employed people, we look to establish a working relationship with your Accountant to help organise your personal Financial affairs to your best advantage.

With employees, we assemble all your past employment benefits, including pension benefits, shareholdings, share options etc. to have a central repository for all your benefits.

For retirees, we specialise in optimal use of all available assets avoiding financial “own goals” with investment assets, in order to ensure your lifestyle is fully funded to our recommended target age 100 years.

In all cases, we look to work with your Solicitor or Accountant and Tax advisor to organise your affairs to your best advantage.

Do you work with Trusts?

A trust is a legal entity which requires specialist legal and tax advice, on an on-going basis. Whilst we have a broad knowledge of the various types of trusts, tax implications and reporting requirements, our role is to work with the Trustees and the appointed Legal and Tax professionals, as the Investment Advisor to the Trust.

Do you have an investment philosophy?

Yes, we do; We believe that

  1. Human beings are not built for disciplined investing
  2. Real returns require a disciplined strategy
  3. Time in, not Timing the markets leads to better returns
  4. Volatility is normal & inevitable, so must be accepted
  5. Diversification reduces portfolio volatility
  6. Higher returns come with greater volatility and
  7. Compound interest is an extremely powerful tool.

Financial Protection FAQs

What is meant by Financial Protection?

It means protecting you and your loved ones from the financial consequences of premature death, serious illness or accident.

What does Life Insurance do?

It puts tax free money into the hands of those that need it in the event of your death. It is particularly important for breadwinners and parents, to ensure that your Family can maintain their lifestyle, enable children’s education, and generally avoid a major hit to standard of living.

This can include paying down debt, providing a lump sum or a continuing income to replace the lost income of the deceased person.

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 one reason why we conduct a Factfind exercise to gain a full understanding of your financial position. A full Financial Plan is the best way to establish what amount of Life insurance you need.

What is Mortgage Protection Insurance?

Mortgage Protection Insurance is used to pay a tax free lump sum to the lender to pay off your Mortgage in the event of your death. It may also include providing a tax free lump sum to clear the debt if you are diagnosed with a specified Serious Illness, such as a heart attack or cancer.

What is Serious Illness Insurance?

This is usually included with a life insurance policy. It provides a tax free lump sum if you are diagnosed with a specified Serious Illness, such as a heart attack or cancer. It is usually needed to replace lost income and meet additional medical and other expenses associated with the illness.

What does Income Protection do?

It provides a continuing income for you and your Family if you are unable to work for a long period due to an illness or injury. The income you receive is taxable. The premiums are tax deductible.

What is Accident Cover?

This is usually included in a life insurance policy. It provides a tax free income for a period, usually a year, if you are unable to work due to an accident.

Which insurance company is best?

Its horses for courses. We compare all the companies and recommend the most suitable one for your particular case. We always look for the least cost option. But some insurance companies offer other benefits and we explain these to you, so you have the full picture.

Can we insure against our Children’s Inheritance Tax bill?

Yes, a Section 72 Whole of Life policy can be used to pay all or part of an inheritance tax bill, without the proceeds being taxable. As you will appreciate, there are terms and conditions to be met.

Retirement FAQs

Will we have enough?

This is probably the most common question we are asked.

Is there a danger we will run out of money. People are living longer nowadays. The average age of the last survivor of a couple is 95. So you may be living for thirty years or more after stopping work. A Lifetime Financial plan is the most reliable way to assess your likely financial income post working.  And as things change in the future, your plan needs to be updated and adapted as circumstances change.

What is Financial Independence?

We dislike the word retirement. Many people like to take it easy and slow down for a few years before stopping work altogether. And even then they may want to continue some voluntary work. We prefer to talk to our Clients about financial independence, which means having enough so that you do not actually need to work. You can then choose to work if you want to.

What is a Pension Fund?

Building a pension fund is probably the most tax efficient way to convert income into assets. It is an investment in a mix of assets such as equities, bonds and property. It is usually built up over many years, to be drawn on when your earned income reduces or stops in later life. It may be part of a jigsaw of other assets such as state pension, deposits, property or other investments. Building a pension fund is probably the most tax efficient way to provide for a continuing income is later life.

What about the State Pension?

The State pension is paid for by people who are working and paying tax and prsi. The Irish State has no pot of gold, no coffers from which to pay pensions. And our population is ageing, which means in future there will be many more pensioners to be paid for by fewer workers. So we can expect both financial pressure to reduce State Pension payments and political pressure to maintain the payments. Our recommendation is to provide your own pension and regard the state pension as a bonus.

Investment FAQs

How risky are investments?

Volatility is normal and inevitable in markets, especially Equities markets. We will have a discussion with you at the outset and explain how markets work.

We will also advise on how an investment fits into your overall financial position and how much is appropriate for you to invest. A low volatility investment mix can be expected to deliver low returns.

To achieve higher returns over the long term you will need to accept the greater volatility.

What returns can I expect?

Investing is all about the future, which is not predictable. Nevertheless we will give you an indication at the outset of the long term returns you might expect

Should we leave our money on deposit?

Inflation is the enemy of deposits. Long term returns on deposits are almost always below the rate of inflation. The result is the value of your money shrinks year by year. Because the shrinkage is gradual, it goes unnoticed for years.

But what if we need money in an emergency?

We always recommend holding a certain amount on deposit as an emergency fund which is readily accessible.

Are there guidelines for success in investing?

There are timeless rules for success in investing.

The likelihood of gains increases with time, so invest for the long term. Then as a long term investor, you can ignore the inevitable market volatility. Time and compound interest favour the long term investor.

Diversify your investments, which means investing across asset classes, business sectors, geographies. Invest in the regulated markets. Investing regular amounts smooths the journey so regular savings is a great way to build a long term asset.

What about tax?

A CGT portfolio will save you tax, so we arrange most saving and investment accounts to minimise tax.

Can I utilise past losses to reduce tax?

Yes we arrange investment accounts where certain eligible capital losses from the past can be set off against future capital gains.

What are the charges and other terms and conditions?

We fully explain all aspects of your investment including charges to you at the outset. We set them out clearly in a document called a Statement of Suitability and provide other information documentation.

In recommending investments, do you take sustainability into account?

When providing advice, we consider the adverse impact of investment decisions on sustainability. As part of our research and assessment of products, we examine the Product Providers literature to compare financial products and to make informed investment decisions about ESG products. We will at all times act in our Client’s best interests and keep our Clients informed accordingly. The consideration of sustainability risks can impact on the returns of financial products.

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.