Planning – leads to better outcomes

The Cambridge Dictionary describes “planning” as:
“the process of deciding in detail how to do something before you actually start to do it”.

That seems simple enough, yet one of the key challenges we have in life is not only to plan, but also to maintain that plan as and when circumstances change.

We have recently completed our 2019 Workshop Program and a theme that emerged in all the workshop sessions was the requirement to plan accordingly. However, when discussing planning we encouraged the delegates to plan their life choices, rather than just simply looking at their financial plans.

Retirement can be a difficult time for some. In our experience, the biggest problem that people have with retirement is that they often view it as a time when they stop something, rather than seeing it as the opportunity to start something. When helping people prepare for retirement, we discuss income and investment needs, but we also try to encourage them to spend just as much time considering exactly what they plan to do in retirement. 

It may be that you have plans to develop a hobby or perhaps start up a business or travel the world. More recently, we are noticing a growth in people retiring to provide childcare support to their children. Whatever it may be, the first thing you really need to do is plan. When organising a holiday, the more effort you put into organising it, the better the trip becomes. The same principal can be applied to retirement.

Note that the planning process doesn’t stop once you have retired. A survey from Public Health England (click here to read in full) confirmed that a man aged 65 is now expected to live for another 19 years and a woman for another 21 years*. Therefore, just because you have reached retirement, it doesn’t mean that you stop long term financial planning. In fact, there is an argument that says it is more important than ever to plan. Whilst you may have organised your income and investment plans, you need to discuss many other factors such as Succession Planning, potential Long-Term Care and Inheritance Tax.

The process of retirement has changed dramatically. No longer do you have to wait to reach a set age and then “see what money is available” to live on. A lot of people now consider their finances and plan accordingly. But, in many cases, the success of your retirement will broadly come down to your state of mind. As Abe Lemons, a US Basketball Coach, once famously said:

“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off”.

Therefore, just ask yourself some simple questions. Is retirement the start of something or the end of something? Is it a time to look forward or a time to look back? 

The more positive you feel about your retirement and the more planning you put into it, the better it will be. Just as importantly, this planning process shouldn’t ever stop.

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​Leave the worrying to us

We have had a new Prime Minster for only a matter of weeks and Mr Johnson has already polarised opinion, almost as much as the topic that has been at the forefront of - and central to - the nation’s thoughts since David Cameron announced the Referendum back in 2016. ‘Brexit’ has become such a familiar term that it has entered the Oxford English Dictionary and we would suggest that the only word discussed more amongst the British is ‘weather’ - although that seems to generate a lot less friction. The Prime Minister seems adamant that we will leave the EU on 31st October 2019, with or without a deal and only time will tell whether this is the case or not.

So… is this a cause for concern?

Firstly, we must emphasise that our role is not to discuss the rights and wrongs of the UK leaving the EU. That is a matter of opinion and our main concern is to help you broadly understand how Brexit, in whatever guise it takes, affects your underlying investments.

So, a better question for us to address is, should you be worried about your investment portfolio? Well, to put it simply, we think not.

Let’s consider what may happen in the short term. Firstly, we may - or may not - be leaving on 31st October. Mr Johnson is adamant that it will happen, whilst others in Parliament are very unsure. This friction will possibly end with a vote of “no confidence”, which almost certainly will lead us to a General Election - which may have already happened by the time this article goes to print, such is the fluid nature of these discussions. All of this generates uncertainty.

However, it must be noted that if you are invested through one of our investment partners, we can guarantee that none of our clients is invested 100% in UK Equities. Discretionary investment managers are dynamically controlling the risk within portfolios and it is for this reason that you will see a higher allocation to more defensive assets than in years gone by. This is to try and smooth out some of the peaks and troughs of the stock market. However, overall performance has to come with an element of volatility and that, in itself, can often offer opportunity.

For example, should we leave without a deal on 31st October, the Pound is expected to fall sharply against the Euro. Yet, with most FTSE 100 companies generating their profit from overseas, this potential fall in currency will be seen as a good thing for them.

As we have said many times before, it is not about timing the market, but time in the market. Our role is to ensure that you are invested in a risk controlled investment portfolio that best suits your circumstances for the long term, to help you meet your lifetime goals.

We are not saying that this won’t be a difficult time for the UK, or that stock markets won’t be affected. But we do want to reassure you that our Investment Partners continue to survey the horizon for storm clouds and have taken active steps to provide more insulation within portfolios, to reflect the challenging market and economic conditions.

Therefore, we would encourage you to spend more time thinking about what you are going to do with your life and money, rather than being concerned about the short term impact of markets on your investments.

Why not leave the worrying to us - that’s what we are here for!

If you would like to print this article or download it to
your computer as a PDF please click on the image here.

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