26 Loch Drive
Monday to Thursday: 9:30am - 7:30pm
Friday: 9:30am - 1pm
Saturday to Sunday: Closed
Independent Financial Advisers helping clients across West Central Scotland with their Investment, Pension, Equity Release, Protection and Mortgage needs
We pride ourselves on taking the mystery out of financial planning by using plain English. We make sure our clients understand what their goals are and how we can help them achieve them.
There are various ways you can unlock some of the market value (or equity) in your property. For example you could downsize to a smaller property or one of lower value - perhaps by moving to a different part of the UK where house prices are cheaper.
Downsizing will give you maximum value from your home, but there may be disadvantages such as the hassle, disruption and cost of moving. You may also be very attached to the area where you currently live.
There is however a solution that allows you to stay just where you are. Equity release plans are now available that allow you to release much needed cash from your home, whilst retaining the right to live in it for the rest of your life.
If you still have an outstanding mortgage on your property you must pay if off, either by using some of the proceeds from your plan or from other funds. Once that's done, the money you release can be spent as you wish. This could be on holidays, a new car, new conservatory or meet unexpected situations such as health care.
Most importantly, your equity can help you fund your retirement or provide reassurance that your spouse will have enough to live on when you die.
These schemes can be helpful in certain circumstances but are not suitable for everyone
EQUITY RELEASE SCHEMES WILL REDUCE THE VALUE OF YOUR ESTATE AND MAY AFFECT YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO STATE BENEFITS. TO UNDERSTAND THE FEATURES AND RISKS ASK FOR A PERSONALISED ILLUSTRATION
Most people take out life assurance to provide for their families and alleviate any financial worries at a difficult time.
Level Term Assurance pays a lump sum in the event of death during the term of the policy. There is no investment element within a term assurance contract so at the end of the term there is no maturity value and life cover ends. The benefit is paid tax free and premiums are usually monthly, and fixed throughout the term. Because the term and benefit are known from the outset, and there is no investment content, term assurance is a cost-effective method of protection.
Decreasing Term Assurance works similar to Level Term Assurance, but the benefit is set at outset and gradually decreases over the term of the policy. These policies can be used as cover for a repayment mortgage, or other loans where the amount of capital outstanding also decreases over time. Because the benefit reduces over time, the premiums are usually lower than for Level Term Assurance.
Family Income Benefit works the same as term assurance but instead of paying a lump sum upon death, it will usually pay a regular monthly/annual tax free income in the event of death to your dependants up until the end of the term of the policy.
Critical Illness Insurance is usually available as an addition to all term assurance plans but can be bought on a stand alone basis. Critical illness provides a lump sum benefit / income in the event of diagnosis of certain critical illnesses, such as Heart Attack, Stroke, Transplant, Blindness, Total & Permanent Disability and so on. The illnesses covered will be specified in the policy along with any exclusions and limitations – these differ between insurers.
This policy is designed to provide an income in the event the insured individual is unable to work due to ill health. The level of premium will depend upon the amount of benefit and term selected and most policies cease to pay the benefit once the insured is able to return to work. Income Protection policies are usually written to retirement age.
ASU policies were traditionally sold to accompany mortgages, allowing for a regular income to be paid to the insured should they be unable to work due to ill health, an accident (or lose their job). The product can be split down, and unemployment cover is usually the optional extra available for an additional premium. Benefits are only usually paid for a specified time for example 12 months. It is important to compare ASU and Income Protection closely as one may be more suitable than another. It may also be possible to use the 2 products to work in tandem with each other.
Businesses may want to protect the key employees within their firm – perhaps the key salesperson, or the IT manager without whom the business will not function properly. Keyperson / shareholder / partnership protection can provide a fixed sum should the individual be unable to work, or even die. The benefit will be designed to cover the firm's expenses in meeting any emergency costs, recruiting a replacement employee and protecting the future of the business.
If a shareholder were to pass away, the firms remaining shareholders or directors may want to purchase the deceased's shares from their estate promptly to maintain control of their business. The same scenario also applies to partners in a firm.
Mortgages are one of the largest single transactions in most people's lives. Buying a property can be a stressful and time consuming experience, although nowadays the financing of a mortgage is a case of finding and selecting the most suitable mortgage, rather than simply accepting a lender's offer.
Banks, building societies, and smaller niche lenders compete for your business, all offering a variety of interest rate deals, associated fees and other enhancements to attract borrowers.
There remain two main methods of repaying a mortgage, and it is possible to set up the mortgage on a ‘part repayment and part interest only' basis. A description of these methods is provided below.
We will work on your behalf (rather than for any insurance company or bank) and aim to ensure that products recommended are suitable for your needs.
What protection do I have?
We will always endeavour to ensure the products recommended are suitable for you. A summary of our internal complaints handling procedures for the reasonable and prompt handling of complaints is available on request.
When we are advising you on regulated products (including investments, insurance and mortgages) you have the protection of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
If you are unhappy about the advice or service you have received you should firstly contact us outlining your concerns. This gives us the chance to put things right and/or to provide our own version of events. Should you remain dissatisfied you might be entitled to refer your complaint to the FOS who will investigate the complaint independently and make a ruling. The FOS work with customers and financial advisers to resolve a complaint, and when they do have to make a ruling it is binding upon the firm.
If you try to contact a firm with a complaint and the firm is dissolved, or unable to meet its obligations, you may have recourse to the FSCS. This service is funded by levies on firms that are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to protect customers where firms have closed or gone into liquidation.
Anything else I should know?
Some financial advisers do give advice on products that are not regulated by Financial Conduct Authority – such as buy-to-let mortgages or general taxation advice. We will explain to you when you are receiving advice on an unregulated product. It is important you are happy with the advice as you may not have the added protection of the FOS or FSCS when dealing with unregulated products.
From childhood most of us are told to put away money to save for the future - perhaps for something special? Or perhaps to be sure that when we really need something we have the funds to acquire it, without taking on debt? Whether you place your money in a piggy bank, or in a multinational investment house, our aims are broadly the same; to provide for our future needs, and to protect ourselves against unexpected causes of expenditure.
When planning your finances, it is important to distinguish the difference between savings and investments. Savings are generally funds that you set aside, but can be accessed relatively quickly. These savings are often for a specific need or purchase, like a holiday or a new car. The most common way of ‘saving' is into a bank account (‘deposit' account) where the money can be accessed in an emergency, and for every £1 you put in, you will get £1 back (short of a bank collapse!), and possibly some interest.
Investments are designed to be held for a longer term, usually at least 5 years. You need to be comfortable with tying up this money for a period of time, and should not consider investments unless you have some savings in place. Most investments are not guaranteed to return your money in full, although do offer the prospect of potentially higher returns than deposit accounts. Returns, risk and volatility are the factors that will determine a suitable place for your savings.
Savings and Investment products range from a simple current account, which allows a small amount of interest, but facilitates regular payments and withdrawals without detriment to your savings. At the opposite end of the scale would be company shares, where you invest money in a company, with the prospect that the company will prosper and the shares will increase in value over time. Whilst the benefits are potentially high, the risks are also much greater.
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