mowatt financial Planning

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Mowatt Financial Planning: December 2008

Saturday, 27 December 2008

What is retirement?

Firstly, I've been a bit slow with this follow up blog - not a great start. My main excuse is that it's Xmas and my mailing to my ex-collegues at Norwich Union has been slightly delayed.

I'm a fan of Xmas so I hope everyone has had a good time. Only downside was my adopted team Boro (Middlesbrough FC) losing at home to Everton.

As mentioned in the previous blog, I'm writing some articles in the Easingwold Advertiser. My first article is next Saturday (3rd January) so I wanted to cover the article here as well.

This is the first in a series of articles I am writing to look at finances in retirement. Although the focus will be on retirement, much of what I will cover holds good whatever age you are. So please stick with me.

I have a vested interest in this subject as I intend to make a living by giving professional independent financial advice. However, I believe there is a lot of basic common sense that will help most people before they get to the stage of needing any professional help.

a mere 47 year old, you might wonder why I think I can write about retirement. In my previous role as Director of Marketing at Norwich Union, I was responsible for the financial products aimed at this market and have lots of experience researching and listening to feedback from this age group. Coming back now to the title of the article, What is retirement?

traditional concept of retirement is a working life of maybe 35-40 years with retirement taking place at 60 or 65. One day you are at work, the next day retired. In 1981, a 65 year old could expect to live to 78 if they are male and 82 if they are female. (Note 1)

However, the reality today is much different to this. Now people can expect to live a lot longer in retirement – a 65 year old can expect to live to 85 if they are male and 88 if they are female. (Note 2)

The state pension age is going up; anti-age discrimination means that it is possible to keep working longer and expectations of retirement have changed significantly. A report issued by Norwich Union entitled Rethinking Retirement (Note 3) gives the following insights.

hose approaching retirement or newly retired have the following desires:
- to ward off real "old age" and maintain good health
- to live life to the max (travel, family)
- to keep socially engaged through part time working or volunteering
- to feel prepared for the future
- to maintain an engaged lifestyle
- to feel safe and secure

- to be taken seriously and not dismissed because of old age
- to receive support on their own terms

this means that retirement and the retirement journey is quite different from the traditional view. A 65 year old today is likely to be much more active and to have much higher expectations of retirement compared to the previous generation. In many ways, 75 is the new 65, if you understand what I mean.

carried out a lot of research with this population, here are some typical comments that I have heard regarding attitudes to finance:
Things are really complex"
"There are too many things going on in my head to make the time to read about finance"

"I’m concerned every day about my finances in retirement – I can’t get my head around it"
starting point for me is having a plan......

"Failing to plan is planning to fail"

It’s important that you know your priorities in life. Everyone is different and their priorities will change depending on their circumstances and goals. Whether it is to have a decent standard of living in retirement; to find a voluntary job to give something back to society; or to travel the world - it’s important to know your priorities and to align your financial plans with these.

"Beery income, champagne lifestyle"
Whether it is as an individual or as a business or as a country, your expenditure and income can’t be out of synch – at least not for too long! The first thing to understand is how much you have and then how much you spend. There is a real spectrum out there from those who have very tight budgets and know to the penny what they will have at the end of the month to those who have no idea what either their income or outgoings are. I have done this exercise recently and sorted out our household budget.

basic message here is understand your income and outgoings and make sure that you live within your means.

Does this all make sense? The articles in the Easingwold Advertiser will be fortnightly so I plan to include these on the blog as they are published. The next one will be about sorting out your expenses before I move onto income in retirement.

Any thoughts or comments please let me know. Best wishes for 2009!

Will Mowatt

1 Older People and Wellbeing, IPPR Report July 2008
Life Trust Cost of Retirement Report 2008
Rethinking Retirement, Norwich Union August 2007

Thursday, 11 December 2008

In the beginning......

I originally started a blog when I was Director of Marketing at Norwich Union Life at the beginning of 2008. There were a couple of reasons for deciding to do it:

- I made a commitment to get closer to the customer to the entire Marketing department so it felt like a good way to keep everyone updated  and also hold me to my commitment.
- I really liked Darren Cornish's blog and felt inspired to have a go myself.

I left Norwich Union in July with the ambition of setting up as an IFA specialising in the retirement market. I'm now up and running and able to give advice working with Results Financial who are a Sheffield based IFA firm.

To date, I've been honing my advisory skills on friends and family but I'm now ready to go the next step and give advice to whoever wants and needs it. 

This felt like the right time to start another blog. In the next few days, I'll be writing to many of my friends at Norwich Union so welcome to everyone who comes and visits the blog. Please leave me a comment or two!

The reasons for doing the blog this time round are:
- share my experience of building a business from scratch
- offer my views and thoughts on the world of personal finance
- keep in touch

However, if the blog is only what I want then it's a bit of a waste of time so as the blog develops I would welcome feedback and comments on what interests everyone who visits.

Now that I'm advising, the next challenge is to make sure I get some clients. The big question is where will they come from? For me phase 1 is to make sure everyone I know is aware that I'm able to give independent financial advice and they think of me when the need arises (I'll come back to this in a future blog because my view would be that everyone needs some advice). I'll be doing this over the next few months starting this month with my ex-NU colleagues.

In addition to this I aim to raise awareness locally (Easingwold) of who I am and my credentials for giving advice. This will start in the New Year with articles and adverts in the Easingwold Advertiser.

Before I sign-off I thought I would explain to those who know me why I am Will.

To my mum - I'm William
To my friends from school, university, work - I'm Willie (think it's a Scottish thing!)
At home - I'm Will/Dad

I've gone for Will because William's a bit stuffy, Willie sometimes gets a snigger(?), Will is short and snappy.

I will update the blog at least weekly so come back regularly. Please leave me some feedback - it would be great to hear from you.

All the best.

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