There’s no “right” age at which you should seek out financial advice. All our lives are different, our personal lives and careers move in different directions and we all have our own goals and challenges when it comes to our finances.
So when we at Harvest Financial Services are fortunate enough to start working with a new client, we start with a blank page. We base all of our work around your unique financial goals, your specific circumstances, and we help you plan from that starting point. Because you want all recommendations and potential solutions to be based on your specific needs, not some “off the shelf” solutions, you should ask us for advice.
However, at the same time, we see themes emerge. And where we see these most frequently is around the ages of our clients. Clients at different stages of life often face similar financial challenges, so we would like to give you a sense of the typical financial challenges that people face at different stages of their lives, and why they come to us for help.
We have a very small number of clients who are yet to hit their 20’s, these people are really a long way ahead of the game in terms of getting their finances in order. However we’re seeing a growing number of people approaching us in their 20’s as they start to turn their attention to their financial affairs. Yes these people are still enjoying life to the full and the entertainment budget is often bigger than any other budget in their lives! But with the need to save sizeable deposits for mortgages today, we see quite a number of people looking for help, as they want to build up a cash pile over a 5-10 year period.
Of course we also see people getting married at these ages and this of course results in conversations with us. Couples want to protect themselves against unexpected events down the road, such as a serious illness or a death. They want to make sure such events won’t result in financial hardship. And we also see people starting to build up nest eggs, particularly when children come along and education comes into focus. These couples want to remove financial constraints where possible from the decision as to where they will educate their kids.
And some fortunate clients have surplus cash at the end of each month after the mortgage and all bills are paid, and they want help in starting to build an investment portfolio or to make an early start on their retirement planning. They really are the wise owls!
As clients start making some inroads into their mortgages and hopefully career advancement is resulting in looser purse strings each month, the conversation with us changes. These are the years when we see a really keen focus on retirement planning, as clients want to ensure that they will be able to live the life they want in the later stages of life.
We also see clients wanting a wide and solid financial base and they seek help in building an investment portfolio that will deliver on their financial objectives, while also reflecting their own appetite to take risk. Many of these people are simply not happy seeing their wealth being eroded by leaving their money on deposit where it may be earning no interest.
And of course as clients start to age, they become a bit more aware of their mortality. We see a real focus on clients wanting to make sure that they have enough financial protection in place, in case anything should go wrong.
As people move to the 2nd half of their lives, the main focus is on the future and life after retirement, and a desire to plan to never run out of money – a bigger challenge now with the state retirement age being pushed out. So clients are looking to maximise their pension funding, while as the years progress, we often also see clients looking to take some risk out of their portfolios.
These are the years when conversations typically start about wealth transfer down the road. As a result of the financial crisis in Ireland, a quite penal Capital Acquisitions Tax environment ensued. We see many clients in this age group looking for our help in building tax efficient strategies to pass on wealth to families both through gifts and on death. This is a really important area in which careful planning is needed.
20 years ago, maybe this is where our relationship with clients ended. But certainly not any more… Now it’s about putting that pension fund to good use. This starts with making some important choices at retirement itself, maximising the tax saving opportunities, and then ensuring that your money is managed wisely, to ensure that you don’t outlive it.
Wealth transfer is a key topic of conversation here too. Often now we see the children of clients being involved in these conversations. This can help hugely to ensure the most tax efficient solutions are delivered.
But usually the conversations are about a lot more than money with the over 65’s. Their aim when they do eventually pass on is to leave a really positive legacy behind them, both financially and in other ways. We help them do that, and at that stage, our job is done.
We hope this article demonstrates the types of challenges our clients face at different stages in their lives. Age is no barrier – we of course will be delighted to help you with your own challenges whatever they might be. As always you should only consider the investment views contained in this article in the context of your financial goals and specific circumstances.
Should you require financial advice, please contact Harvest Financial Services and one of our advisors will assist you.