Investment planning

Investment planning. Two simple words that make many of us quiver for a variety of reasons.

If we’re not stopped in our tracks by the fear of bamboozling financial language, we’re held back by a lack of time in our busy lives to properly consider investing. After all, we can always put our futures off until … well, another day. And at the end of the day, investment planning can become very specific to our own circumstances.

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The thing is, there are many more reasons, why the words, ‘Investment planning’ shouldn’t fill you with paralysis, including:

  • There are people who can explain things, clearly and simply. Yes, you will be able to see the wood for the trees—especially, here at Skipton
  • The sooner you sort things out, the better chance you have of improving your situation in future
  • Thinking and talking about your options can actually open up more opportunities—or avenues you hadn’t thought of before.

Yes, it can actually be a rewarding experience. And can lead to making positive decisions. But as with everything in life, it’s a good idea to put things in place so you get things right. And here are 5 ways you can do that…

1. Work out your goals

What do you want to do in future? When do you plan on retiring? Where do you see yourself in a decade or more? Do you want to leave anything for those you care about?

Just a few of the questions not just worth asking yourself, but also talking through with someone else. That’s because there are different kinds of savings or investments which are best suited to different needs.

Much of financial planning for your future is about having a range of investments to suit your needs. And that’s because, inevitably, you’ll have different needs—along with some surprises—which need attending to as life goes on. And as with other things in life it’s about balance.

2. Consider life events

Ok, so goals can change over a lifetime, but life events are a little more definite. All the more reason to make sure they’re in your investment planning mix. And often a little easier to consider, too. You’ll have an idea of how many and what kind of holidays you want to take over the next few years. And if you have older children, you may have university or even wedding expenses on your radar. If that’s the case, then savings products like fixed rate bonds could work well. Whilst your money will be tied up for a certain length of time, the pay-off is usually a higher rate of interest than say, instant access savings accounts.

Then of course, there are longer-term life events to think about. Picture your retirement. What does it look like? How is your pension made up and will it be enough? Once you’ve got an idea of that landscape, you might consider things like stock market-based investments. And ‘consider’ is very much the watchword here, as with all investments, there is a certain risk involved as the value of investments can go down as well as up. However, the flip-side of that is this type of investment does offer potentially bigger returns than savings accounts over the longer term. (You should be prepared to invest for at least five years.)

3. Understand your appetite for risk

Whilst we’re on the subject of ‘risk’, this doesn’t have to be scary, either. The main thing to remember is this general rule of thumb: the higher the potential returns, the greater the risk your investments may decrease in value. They can return less than the original amount—which is a scenario we all want to avoid, but always have to consider.

And here’s the thing. It’s all about appetite. Your appetite for risk might be greater than mine. And, say if you’re married, your appetite for risk might be less than your partner’s. Everyone’s different and because of this it’s very much worth talking through and examining how you feel about your personal attitude to risk.

Do this and you’re on your way to tailoring a mix of savings and investment options suited to your personal needs.

It’s also worth looking at the facts about investing in the stock market, too.

With specific regard to investment and dependent on wherever you are on the risk spectrum, we might recommend a mix. A range of investment funds which could include cash, property, corporate bonds and stock and shares.

Daniel Howard, Technical Research Manager

You should also note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. By investing with Skipton your capital will be at risk and you may get back less than you invested.

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4. Be tax savvy

Tax. Nobody likes it. We all have to pay it, in some form or other, during our lives. But if you didn’t consider it, there’s a good chance you could end up paying more of it than you really needed to. So think about, or better still, talk to someone about maximising your tax efficiency.

Quick example: under current legislation you have a £20,000 annual ISA allowance.

This means that you can invest up to £20,000 in an ISA a year and any interest/growth you earn will be free of income and capital gains taxes. Now doesn’t that sound better than saving £20,000 in another kind of account and potentially having to pay tax on the interest/ growth you earn? So, if you have a sum of money you want to save or invest, it’s well worth thinking about having different pots.

Pensions are also a very tax-efficient way to invest over the long term. That’s because a pension allows you to benefit from tax relief, too. Effectively, this means that for every £80 you pay into a pension the government will boost it by £20. Plus, if you’re a higher rate or additional tax payer, you can claim even more relief through your annual tax return. When you start to hear about things like this, and more, it quickly becomes clear why discussing your aspirations and your circumstances can only be a good thing.

For flexible retirement solutions, your capital is at risk and you may get back less than you originally invested. The value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise.

5. Keep talking

Things change. Life changes. So it’s definitely a good idea to make sure you keep reviewing your plans. And you can do that with regular financial reviews, designed to make sure that everything you’ve got in place is still working for you.

With Skipton, we can help with all of the points above. Our expert financial advisers explain everything in plain English, our reviews will help you to navigate life’s twists and turns and make sure your plans and ambitions are still on target.

And naturally, the sooner you talk through your objectives, the sooner we could start putting a plan together for you.

But why take advice from Skipton's advisers?

  • With 88 branches across England and Scotland as well as direct telephone access, we’re local experts with national support
  • We advise beginners who want lots of guidance as well as experts who don’t
  • Our advice is personalised to you and your needs
  • All advice is backed by our No Pressure Promise. You will never be expected to take action or to take any of our recommendations.

Interested in finding out more? Speak to us about how we can help, just call us on the number below or ask us to call you back.

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Important information

Our recommendations are likely to include stock market-based investments. These are not like bank and building society savings accounts as your capital is at risk and you may get back less than you invested. The value of your investments and any income from them may fall as well as rise.

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For more information on our service and to find out whether you could benefit from financial advice, call our specialist team today.