3 reasons to make social care part of your retirement plan

3 reasons to make social care part of your retirement plan

The cost of funding care and delivering support to the elderly has become a national priority. However, research suggests it’s still not something individuals are thinking about when they make retirement plans.

As average life expectancy has risen, the demand for care has soared and more people are living with complex needs. A report from Frank Knight shows the number of beds in care homes increased by 2,500 in 2020. However, the number is still falling in relative terms – there are now 28.7 care-home beds per 100 people over the age of 85, compared to 33.7 in 2010. By 2030, it’s estimated that there will be 2.1 million people over 85, and that demand will continue to outstrip supply.

While you can’t yet know if you will need some level of care later in life, the growing figures highlight why it’s important to consider the possibility.

And yet less than one in ten (7%) people consider planning or funding social care as a priority when retirement planning, according to a survey from Aegon. Just 1% said it was their single greatest financial priority.

Despite the majority overlooking social care when retiring, health is one of the biggest concerns for retirees. Almost half (48%) said they were worried about declining health. Within this, the need for assistance with basic activities and the need to move into a nursing home were among common retirement worries.

Why aren’t retirees thinking about care?

Investigating care options means confronting the possibility of your health declining over time. This is a difficult thing to do and some retirees may choose to bury their head in the sand.

Another reason for overlooking care when retirement planning is that 38% believe the cost will be covered by the NHS. While the NHS does provide some services to support the elderly, in many cases, retirees will need to fund care either partly or wholly, depending on their financial circumstances.

If you haven’t considered care as part of your retirement plan, here are three reasons to do it now.

1. Focus on enjoying your retirement

The above research indicates that deteriorating health and a need for care are worries for retirees. Taking control of this eventuality by making it part of your financial plan can help you focus on the things you enjoy in retirement.

Knowing that you have a care plan in place, should it be needed, will allow you to relax and feel confident in your future.

2. You will benefit from more choice

There isn’t just one type of care. Having the funds to pay for care yourself means you will have more choice.

If you needed some support, would you prefer a carer who came to your home several times a day, or to move into an assisted living facility? Your needs will affect what your options are but setting out your preferences can help build a plan that suits you. In some cases, you may hope to rely on the support of your family and friends, but it’s important to remember that circumstances can change.

Not only will planning for care give you more control over the type of care you choose, but the firms that deliver it. If you rely on your local authority or the NHS to pay for a care home, for example, it may not be in the location you want or offer the facilities that are important to you.

It’s also worth discussing your wishes with loved ones in case they need to make decisions on your behalf.

3. Safeguard the inheritance you want to leave to loved ones

If you’re required to pay for care, it can significantly deplete your savings and other assets, including your home. If leaving an inheritance for loved ones is a priority, planning for care can help safeguard what you’ll leave behind. If the total value of your assets exceed the below thresholds, you’ll need to pay for your own care.

  • England and Northern Ireland: £23,250
  • Scotland: £28,750
  • Wales: £50,000.

Setting aside a fund to cover care, should it be required, can help you protect other assets you want to leave behind. It’s also important to consider what you’d like to happen to this fund should care not be needed; who would you like to benefit from it? Could it increase your Inheritance Tax liability?

If you’re nearing retirement or are already retired, thinking about care now can give you confidence in the future. Please call us to discuss how you can make planning for care part of your financial plan.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate or tax planning.

Guide: 10 things that could increase the value of your property

Guide: 10 things that could increase the value of your property

Talking about homes and property values is something of a pastime in the UK. Property is probably among one of the largest assets we own, so it’s not surprising that we want the value to go up.

While property prices have soared in recent years, investing in your home could push up its value even more. Whether you like to take on projects yourself or hire a professional, our latest guide explains ten things you could do to boost the value of your home, including:

  • Creating extra living space by converting the loft
  • Updating your bathroom
  • Showing your garden some love
  • Converting a room into a home office.

Download “10 things that could increase the value of your property” and discover how to boost the value of your home.

Guide: 10 ways to make the most of your garden in 2021

Guide: 10 ways to make the most of your garden in 2021

After a year of lockdown measures, our gardens and outdoor spaces have become far more important. In fact, more than half of people say they get a good deal of pleasure from their garden. With spring arriving, now is the perfect time to invest in yours.

Our latest guide aims to help you get the most out of your garden, whether you love entertaining outdoors, want a space to relax, or even grow your own vegetables. Did you know almost four in ten people already grow some of their own food?

Gardening doesn’t just provide you with a beautiful extension to your home, it can help you remain active and improve wellbeing too. Whether you’re a beginner, or a budding Alan Titchmarsh, you should find something in the guide to help get the most out of your garden this summer and beyond.

Download 10 ways to make the most of your garden in 2021 to read more.

We hope you find some useful tips and inspiration for your garden.

6 fun things to do with your family this Easter

6 fun things to do with your family this Easter

The Easter holidays are almost here and it’s the perfect time to plan fun activities with children. Covid-19 restrictions are easing but there are still measures in place. However, this doesn’t need to ruin your long weekend – with a bit of planning, there are still plenty of fun ways to spend time together.

Here are six ideas to try this Easter:

1. Set up an Easter egg hunt at home

A hunt for Easter eggs has become a tradition in many households. While large community hunts are off the cards this year, hiding away treats in your home and garden can be just as much fun for little ones. Pick up Easter-themed treats from your local shop – just remember where you’ve hidden them all!

If you have older children, cryptic clues that lead them to a pile of chocolatey treasure can get them thinking and keep them entertained for longer. If you need some inspiration, a Google search brings up lots of riddles to build a trail around your home.

2. Get creative with Easter arts and crafts

If you have a budding artist in your family, Easter crafts are a great way to spend a day. Think about the craft projects you used to do at school for some inspiration. How about an extravagant Easter bonnet competition or painting eggs with a colourful mix of paints?

Good Housekeeping has over 50 Easter craft ideas for you to explore, many of which you can do with everyday household items. Alternatively, many supermarkets and online stores sell craft activity packs that have everything you need for an Easter project.

3. Arrange a family picnic

The days are getting warmer and it’s expected that outdoor gatherings for up to six people or two households will be permitted by Easter. After months of social distancing, it’s a great opportunity to plan a picnic with friends or family you may not have been able to see.

Taking some outdoor play equipment, like bats and balls, can keep children entertained for hours. Your local playground may also be open, so it’s worth checking this too.

4. Visit your local National Trust property

National Trust houses remain closed, but most gardens are open and many of the Easter trails will also be going ahead this year from 29 March. The trails will take you around the beautiful gardens and natural areas of the properties as they start to come alive for spring. There is plenty of fun for young children along the way too, and, of course, the trail ends with a chocolate reward! You need to book in advance for many National Trust properties.

If there isn’t a National Trust property local to you, parks, reserves, and gardens are a great place to get outdoors over the bank holiday weekend. Make sure you check opening times and restrictions before making plans.

5. Plan a movie night

Easter movies may not be a staple like Christmas films, but there are still some good options to enjoy with children. The release of new family-friendly movies often marks the school holidays, but many are delayed until cinemas reopen in a few weeks. A movie night at home can be just as popular though.

Grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and get comfy on the sofa to enjoy an Easter-themed film. Peter Rabbit, Hop, and Rise of the Guardians are all excellent options for a family film night this Easter.

6. Take a (virtual) trip to the zoo

If your Easter usually involves a day trip out as a family, you don’t have to quite give up the tradition. While most venues are closed, the last year has seen virtual experiences soaring – you can even take a digital trip to the zoo.

Chester Zoo has been hosting live virtual zoo days that let you see everything from impressive elephants to adorable red pandas. The videos take you behind the scenes of the zoo, allowing your family to see it from another perspective – perfect for young animal lovers.

It’s not just Chester Zoo that’s offering a virtual experience either. Over the last year, many attractions, including museums, galleries, theatres, and more, have developed an online presence. If you have a family favourite destination, it’s worth checking their website to see if they’ll be hosting online events.

How to fund property renovations to create the stunning home you want

How to fund property renovations to create the stunning home you want

Following a year where we’ve spent more time in our homes, Brits are choosing to renovate their properties so that it suits their tastes and lifestyle. If you’re looking to take on a significant cost to refresh your home, there are several ways you can fund it.

According to Aviva, one in five UK adults have put home-buying plans on hold. While for many this is a short-term plan, nearly one in ten expect to postpone plans by at least three years. Combined with the shift towards working from home and social distancing restrictions, it’s not surprising that people are choosing to invest in their property.

The rise in spending on home improvements has helped offset some of the losses found in other sectors. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 0.7% in January. Discounts on clothing were more than offset by prices for home improvements, which are absorbing more of our cash in lockdown, according to Hargreaves Lansdown.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “A January home improvement frenzy drove prices higher, as lock downed shoppers decided that if they had to stay home and stare at the four walls, they may as well paint them.”

If you’ve been thinking about taking on a home improvement project, what are your options for funding it?

1. Use your savings or investments

If you have savings that will cover the cost, this is the obvious choice. This means you can take on a project without having to worry about paying for it at a later date. However, you still need to be aware of the long-term impact – would taking money out of an ISA mean you can’t reach other goals? Or would withdrawing from investments affect your income later in life? In most cases, you can balance spending now with long-term plans, but reviewing your finances first means you can move ahead with confidence.

You should also review where you’ll take the money from. You can contribute £20,000 a year to an ISA but may not be able to replace the savings you’ve withdrawn, for example. Or taking money out of a pension could mean you face an unexpected tax bill.

2. Put the spending on a credit card

Credit cards are a useful way to invest in your home now and spread out repayments. However, keep in mind that you could be paying interest which may be higher than the alternatives. High interest rates can make credit cards an expensive way to borrow. If you have a good credit rating, you may be able to get a 0% interest credit card, effectively allowing you to borrow money for free, assuming you pay off the full amount before the 0% period ends.

3. Choose “buy now, pay later” options

More businesses are offering shoppers the choice to buy items now and pay later, including the option to make monthly repayments. This can be tempting as it allows you to improve your home now and incorporate repayments into your regular outgoings. However, like credit cards, they can prove expensive and it’s important to review the interest rate. Again, some providers offer a 0% interest deal. You will also need to make sure you can keep up with repayments and be aware that it could affect your credit score.

4. Take out a home improvement loan

For larger projects, a loan may be more suitable. Home improvement loans will typically offer a competitive interest rate when compared to credit cards or other types of loan. You don’t necessarily have to choose the provider that your mortgage or bank account is with – shop around to find the best deal for you. Taking out a home improvement loan will usually involve a hard credit check and could affect your credit score. You should ensure you can keep up with repayments, as the loan could be secured against your home.

5. Remortgage your home to borrow more

Whether this is an option will depend on how much equity you hold within your home. Increasing the amount you borrow through a mortgage can mean you receive a lump sum that you can then use to complete home improvements. However, keep in mind that your monthly payments will rise or your mortgage term will be extended.

Before you make any decision, you should weigh up the long-term impact. Please get in touch if you have questions about how home renovations can fit into your wider financial plan, whether you’re thinking about taking money from a pension or searching for a new mortgage deal.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

5 steps to take for successful business succession planning to prime your firm for growth

5 steps to take for successful business succession planning to prime your firm for growth

No matter the size of your business, some key people ensure its smooth running and growth. Without these people, even successful companies can face difficulties. Creating a business succession plan is an essential step for business owners.

A succession plan is a strategy for developing future leaders within a company. It can help identify the people that will step into key roles in the future. It can mean that should an employee leave, you have someone ready to take over that you can have confidence in. Business succession planning can also provide security in other instances too, for example, if a key employee becomes ill or the business needs to expand quickly. In many cases, as a business owner, you should also be part of the succession plan, paving the way for you to step aside when you’re ready.

With a succession plan, being proactive is essential. When someone is ready to leave, it’s too late to start the process. Being proactive means you can reduce the potential negative impact it could have on business operations.

If you’ve yet to put a succession plan in place, here are five steps you should take to get started.

1. Set out the business’s vision and growth plans

It’s impossible to create a succession plan that accurately reflects your business without first spending some time looking at what you want to achieve. What are your business’s core aims and goals? How do you see the company changing and growing in the next ten years?

With a business plan set out, you can ensure succession planning aligns with your business’s needs.

2. Take note of existing skillsets within the business

Once you have an overview of your business and how you want it to move forward, it’s time to assess how your business operates now. You should look at the employees currently in place and identify the skill sets they bring. Are there any gaps in your workforce? Which skills are essential to the running of your business? And are you positioned for the future?

While hard skills are often the focus when reviewing your workforce, don’t forget about the other insights team members can bring. Someone that has worked closely with clients for several years could have valuable experience and strong working relationships that are just as important as technical skills.

Don’t forget to include yourself either. While you may have no plans to leave the business yet, taking steps to ensure it could run without you can provide a safety net and offer you more options later.

3. Speak to your employees about their goals

Speaking to employees can offer a wealth of information and help you better understand what they want to achieve. As part of wider performance reviews, asking what their professional goals are and the skills they’d like to develop can identify those keen to move up in the company. Employees may surprise when you ask where they see themselves in the future.

While some firms opt not to tell employees they’re being fast-tracked to leadership roles, it can be beneficial. It can mean they’re more engaged with the business and the additional responsibilities you want them to take on. It can also help you retain the employees that are part of your succession plan, providing stability.

Just as important as nurturing talent within the business is recognising when you’d benefit from recruiting.

4. Set out a plan to develop skills and experience

Once you’ve selected potential candidates, a plan is essential. This should bring together the skills your identified were essential within the business and how you can support candidates to develop them. That may include in-house training, going on an external course or simply involving them in routine processes so they can learn while working.

Don’t just pass on the skills needed but give them a test run too. Whether you hand over the reins for certain projects or allow a leadership candidate to take charge while other employees are on holiday, it can give you confidence as well we motivating them.

5. Make evaluating your succession plan a regular task

Don’t put a succession plan in place and then forget about it.

For it to be successful, it needs to be regularly reviewed and evaluated. You should ensure leadership prospects have regular appraisals to identify where skills and experience are needed, as well as couniting to look for promising talent among other workers.

You should also consider if your succession plan could be beneficial as part of your hiring strategy. Promoting the opportunities and support given to leadership prospects can help you secure promising talent and increase candidate numbers when advertising roles.

When you’re planning the future of your business, it’s also important to consider your own future. When you step aside from your current role, what do you want to do? Whether you plan to set up a new business or retire, financial planning can help ensure you have the means to achieve your goals. Please contact us to discuss your financial situation and the steps you should be taking.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.