Couple Ian and James needed help organising their finances at a key point in their lives. Which was when our financial advisor Phil Betts stepped in to help them with this, and, ultimately, planning ahead for their dream retirement. “Phil was initially recommended to us by our accountant and we liked him straightaway,” explained Ian. “So much of this comes down to people as individuals. He comes across as someone who is particularly trustworthy and genuine, who I would really trust with my life, and, importantly, not flashy – I’m not impressed by things like glitzy offices or anything like that.” In fact, Ian and James were among Lairgate Financial’s first clients. “Phil was working for another company when we first met him, and we were so impressed by what he’d done for us, we were really keen to go with him and support his new venture when he decided to set up his own business with business Partner Wayne,” added Ian. “And this coincided with a lot of things that were going on in our lives – first of all the death of my mother, my decision to move into the family farm, and James’ decision to sell his farm, which had been passed down to him. “Then, James and I decided to enter a civil partnership, and we realised that we needed somebody who was going to be sympathetic to our new financial situation – who could consolidate all our affairs and bring together all our finances into one place, effectively as a married couple. “This meant all sorts of decisions, to generate an ongoing income for the rest of our lives; and how to make the most of our tax allowances. Thankfully, Phil was able to sort all of that for us without any worries or complications. “It was so reassuring to have someone stable and trustworthy, like Phil, to help us through a fairly tricky stage of our lives.” James has now retired fully, while Ian continues to run his own landscape architecture business, Ian Stubbs Design Associates, so he needed to know from Phil how to maximise his pension contributions while there’s still time, to give him the right kind of momentum for his future plan to retire at 65. With them for the journey “Not all married couples these days have a joint account, and James and I don’t. It’s quite good that we still have our own separate pots of money, but our ultimate goal is to be able to live out our shared plans, and to make sure our assets are in a good place when one of us is no longer around.” And being able to bounce any ideas off Phil before they take action is really reassuring for the couple. “I had a parcel of land some way from the house and, given we are never going to farm it, we decided to sell it and invest the proceeds. We sought Phil’s advice on where best to invest it, so that James and I are each making the most of each year’s tax allowances. Once Phil was clear about our precise needs, he came down to see us and explain his proposals. He then made all the necessary arrangements once we were clear exactly what we wanted to do. It’s really reassuring that he’s there whenever we need him.” Changes to the pension rules introduced by the Government in 2015, mean that ordinary people have far more choice regarding what they do with their pension pots, and gone are the days where the only option was to save into a company pension scheme and accept what you were given at the end of it, or use your pension pot to purchase an annuity which, in many cases, ended when the owner died, instead of going to their loved ones. However, with today’s additional choices comes potential risk – because making the wrong decision as to where you invest your pension pot, or indeed what you spend it on, including how you take your benefits, could be disastrous. However, Ian was savvy enough to seek Phil’s help with consolidating the various pension savings he’d built up over the years, into one, more manageable investment. “Over the years, like a lot of people who work in the private sector, I’ve switched several times from one pension to another, not necessarily disadvantageously, but when my circumstances changed, I wanted to review everything and now it’s all consolidated into one pension, and Lairgate Financial now look after this and all of James’s and my other finances.” Like most couples, the pair wanted to ensure they would both be OK should one of them no longer be around. “Our Wills are up-to-date and we’ve made sure we’ve looked after each other in that respect,” added Ian. “And now Phil is constantly monitoring all our assets and making sure how we save is in line with everything we want to achieve, that we’re always making the most of any tax and married couple allowances, and we don’t inadvertently do something that could be detrimental in the long run. “We don’t have children so our affairs are relatively simple compared to a lot of people’s, and it’s really just each other we have to look after, but nevertheless, it has to be done properly and it’s really important to have that peace of mind that everything is set out and will happen exactly how we want it to when we’re no longer around.” The world’s their oyster The couple have both lived interesting lives – Ian is a qualified landscape architect who has worked in both London and the United States; while James spent most of his working life looking after a wealthy US family. Yet, ironically, they met when both their feet were firmly back on the home ground of Lincolnshire. In 1985, Ian’s father moved my family back to the place where he was born and restored the old farmhouse. “James and I have carried it on with phase two,” Ian explained. He has used his landscape architect’s skills to turn the surrounding land into a show garden for his clients to visit, and for him to photograph to demonstrate his work. And this is a fitting project, given that the two men both have their roots in the countryside. “Thanks to the steps we’ve taken with Phil, our pension savings should be more than efficient to enable us to do that,” added Ian. And that’s the driving force behind everything we do here at Lairgate Financial – doing the right thing with our clients’ money so that it becomes the key to their aspirations for their life and legacies, just as it should be. Phil added: “It’s really critical to review your finances regularly, especially at times of major change, to make sure that you’re putting yourself, and those you care about, in the best possible position when it comes to everything from maximising income tax allowances to legacy planning. “Fortunately, Ian and James were well aware of how important it is to seek professional advice, and it’s my pleasure to help them achieve their financial aspirations.” If you think you might benefit from an informal, friendly chat about any of the financial matters mentioned in this case studies, get in touch with us via XXX or XXX.

“Not all married couples these days have a joint account, and James and I don’t. It’s quite good that we still have our own separate pots of money, but our ultimate goal is to be able to live out our shared plans, and to make sure our assets are in a good place when one of us is no longer around.”

The challenge

Having lived and worked all over the world, couple James and Ian had re-settled close to their rural Lincolnshire roots, and were at a time of their lives when their financial arrangements and future plans needed a thorough review. Having each received property legacies, and saved for many years into pensions and elsewhere, they had entered a civil partnership and wanted to form a joint plan for their finances, that would help them make the most of pensions and investments now, and gear up for their future aspirations. With Ian, the younger of the two, still working, he needed to maximise his pension savings, in particular, while each of them also wanted to ensure the other would be OK financially when one is no longer around.

The solution

Our financial advisor, Phil, talked to both men at length, to understand their views and aspirations. He then thoroughly reviewed all their documents and made recommendations for pension funds; stocks and shares ISAs and other products and services that he knew would help them achieve their medium and long-term objectives. However, what the couple say they value most, is the knowledge that Phil is there, on-hand, if they plan to do something and need to make sure they’re making the right decision. And they also value the peace of mind that comes from knowing Lairgate Financial is continually monitoring their portfolio and its performance, and suggesting any adjustments needed to optimise their assets.

The results

The pair feel reassured by having a ‘right-hand man’ in Phil, who they know they can speak to whenever they need some input and advice – and who will guide them before they take action to ensure they avoid any mis-steps. They now know that their finances and future planning is in good order, and they can get on with enjoying their lives together and planning for their future, knowing that their pensions should provide them with sufficient income to make it possible.

“Not all married couples these days have a joint account, and James and I don’t. It’s quite good that we still have our own separate pots of money, but our ultimate goal is to be able to live out our shared plans, and to make sure our assets are in a good place when one of us is no longer around.”