Time for a spot of gardening!?

We are once again at that time of year when the garden needs a good tidy, the grass it’s final cut of the year; it’s time to bring those tender succulents under cover for the winter.

Any keen gardener will tell you that there are always jobs to do around the garden whatever the time of year; to keep things under control, to keep your garden growing in the way you want it to grow. 

A tidy, well-kept, well presented garden requires work, time and effort.

I am no gardener but I am a financial adviser and like a well-kept garden a financial plan needs regular tending to help it thrive.

Once a financial plan has been put in place, it is tempting to believe the paperwork can simply be tucked away in a drawer and forgotten.  

I strongly believe that a financial plan needs to be reviewed at least annually.

A financial review will first look at whether an individual’s goals – to retire at 60, say, or to fund school fees – have changed, perhaps following the birth of another child, retirement or a change of job. It should consider any need to save more or to switch to different types of investments to achieve the set goals.

A review will also look at an investor’s progress towards their goals and examine whether their investments are performing in line with expectations. Fund managers, for example, will have good and bad periods but your financial adviser will be able to judge whether this is expected or a sign of a deeper problem. If it is the latter, it may be worth considering a switch to another manager.

A portfolio will also need to be tweaked according to the wider economic environment. The 2008 financial crisis changed the investment landscape – for example, the low interest rates that have followed mean income-seekers have had to work harder to achieve the same level of yield. While an event of this magnitude will hopefully not repeat itself in the short term, it highlights the importance of regular reviews and ensuring your financial plan continues to be appropriate.

So don’t let the grass grow around your feet, talk to Paul Hoskin at Hoskin Financial Planning