We are on our own, or are we?

There was once a time when thinking of planning for retirement did not take much effort. This was when final salary pensions and jobs for life were considered the norm.

Fast forward to today and we have a very different scenario.

Many final salary schemes have been closed and with those that have remained open, retirement dates have in some cases been extended and contribution levels increased.

Both the age when we can draw our State Pensions and the number of years National Insurance contributions required to qualify for a full pension are being increased.

The future for those of us working today may look remarkably different from the retirement of previous generations. 

The onus of how much to save, where and with whom has passed from employers to employees. The whole subject of pensions/investments can seem daunting and just too difficult. Often then, it is simply ignored.

This leads us to the inevitable conclusion that we must make more preparation for our own retirement as the ability to delegate this to a combination of final salary and State Pensions is waning.

We are on our own and need to make hard choices such as exercising thrift and deferring spending today to ensure that our future selves have money in order that we may lead dignified and independent retirements.

This is difficult as in the age of consumerism we now live in, we have what seems like a perfect storm with the need to plan for ourselves, together with ever greater ‘shiny new objects’ attracting our money.

Now more than ever there is a need for a Financial Planner - to provide the objective third party, to provide accountability, to demonstrate the effect spending decisions now may have, to help us make good decisions with our money.

The aim should be that we are not forced to work well beyond the age we would like to stop. Or to find ourselves in retirement unable to achieve the things we wanted to do or  perhaps even being forced to return to work.

We can buy most anything now online including pensions and savings. What we cannot buy online is the accountability/support/guidance that a financial planner provides.

We might feel we are on our own but help is there if we know where to look.

Warm regards

Neil

N.B. This article should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any product for sale, it contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular, strategy or investment product. Information contained has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. Past performance is not an indicator of future results.

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Testimonials
VF - Devon
Lee is easy to talk to and very confident and knowledgeable which makes you feel at ease.  He explains things in a way which is not condescending, but is precise and easy to understand. I was slightly nervous about re-mortgaging my property in order to raise capital for my daughter but after an unhurried, relaxed meeting with Lee I felt much happier about the whole process. I would have no hesitation in recommending Lee to anyone seeking financial advice and will be returning to him myself for some investment help in the future. What could they have done better?  Nothing, he's already brilliant! Maybe some chocolate biscuits on the desk.
VF - Somerset
I first sought financial advice from Lee about 15 years ago, advice which I stupidly ignored at the time. Lesson learned.. Over the years I have benefitted greatly from Lee's knowledge and experience, along with his skill of ensuring that whether it is in relation to mortgages, insurance, pensions or savings, I consider all the options open to me.  Lee is professional, approachable, hugely experienced and ensures that he he keeps up to date on market developments and fully informed about what products / services are available.
VF - Somerset
I inherited a substantial sum of money and needed some advice as to how to make the most of it.  Simon was very friendly and down to earth, simplifying the monetary jargon so that I could understand exactly what was going on and therefore make an informed decision. Simon was a wonderful advisor, who answered all of my questions (no matter how silly) and made me feel in control of my finances again. He is always available to answer any queries and I would highly recommend him to anyone.
VF - Somerset
Simon is extremely knowledgeable in all areas of financial planning and is always happy to explain things further if his clients are unsure. He is professional in every aspect, from his face-to-face contact to completion of paperwork and I cannot recommend him highly enough. I would have every confidence in placing any of my financial business with him. Simon takes the time to get to know clients and then provides suitable advice. I am very happy to have Simon guiding me through the world of financial issues and would happily recommend him.
Avril, Devon
I am a pensioner and when I first saw Neil I was extremely worried about how to keep my savings safe but also have a good return from my investments.  Neil was very kind and explained everything in detail to me for the best way to go forward with my money. I have now been with him for three years and my portfolio has grown and I feel confident with all the advice he has given and the investments that he has done for me, I know that if I have any worries I can contact him and he will always get back to me immediately, I now feel confident with my investments and all the advice that Neil has given me and I am enjoying my retirement. I am extremely satisfied with everything Neil has done.
Donna Noll
Simon, is so easy to talk with and he ensures you understand completely his suggestions to help you create more wealth! I bought my buy to let property without stress and i can honestly say that was down to Simon's advice, help, support and knowledge. I could not recommend Simon highly enough.
Nick Girone- Maddocks, Gibbins Richards Estate Agents, Wellington
Many thanks to David Blair and all at Blackdown Financial for their inventive and pro-active assistance in a recent tricky transaction. With David Blair the ball is kept FIRMLY in the air, Thank you!
Euan and Jane Barker, Wellington
We have been clients of Blackdown Financial for over 20 years.  During that time we have found them always approachable and willing to take the time to understand our situation, viewpoint on risk and what we were looking to do for short, medium and long term financial planning.  They have then advised us on appropriate decisions and investments.  This advice always appears well considered and accurate, and we have generally followed it on that basis, almost always with good results (so far!). The feedback and ideas presented by Blackdown always have some relevance to our situation.  If we are uncomfortable with some or feel them too risky they have never pushed them hard at us so decisions on which direction/proposals to follow always feel well suited to us. At times some of the advice given by Blackdown is clearly not going to benefit them in the short-medium term which has led us to build a better level of trust in them.   We hope to continue using Blackdown over the next 10-15 years as we continue to plan towards retirement.
Leigh, Taunton
My wife and I were 1st time buyers. David and his colleagues removed a lot of stress and provided much needed experience to the process. He was able to provide insight and advice for all areas of house buying, and we often used him as a sounding board. David was always honest with regards to his fees/commission and also not afraid to dissuade us from ideas that he didn't believe were the best option - although we never felt pressurised or subject to a hard sell. David was able to find mortgage deals that we were not, with better rates, and explain the pros and cons of each option. He was always careful to make sure we understood what he was telling us, without using blinding us with numbers and technical language. David also ensured that we were able to afford the options in the long term, exploring potential changes to income and circumstances that would affect us. When we had submitted the paperwork for the mortgage and subsequent life insurance/income protection, David and his team were invaluable for chasing the other parties, solving issues (of which there were quite a few!) and generally took a large portion of stress away from us. I would thoroughly recommend using David and his company.
Chris, Taunton
David was first recommended to me by a well-respected local estate agent.  From the outset I was treated as a valued client by David and his excellent support team.  As an active property investor I have found David's professionalism and strong relationships with lenders invaluable during the four years that I have been a client of his.  Every mortgage application that we have submitted has been successful during this period. David is always friendly, approachable and above all, flexible, and has always dealt promptly with my frequent requests for market updates and information.  I am always happy to recommend him.  I not only value good service and successful business outcomes, I rely on them for my living.  Because of this I have no problem being critical of and leaving companies that do not deliver, however friendly they may be. In four years I have had no reason to complain about any aspect of David or his team's work on my behalf beyond the occasional absence of a cup of coffee at a consultation!  I have not benchmarked the cost of the financial advice that I receive against other local firms and Blackdown Financial have recently increased their fees. Others may be cheaper, I have not found better.