Life is unpredictable and circumstances change over time. Trying to understand the future implications of financial decisions taken today is an extremely difficult task. But just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing.
We use sophisticated planning software to create a fluid, interactive and collaborative financial forecast for every family we advise. Our tool of choice is Voyant.
In our opinion, Voyant is market-leading in every way. It enhances all our client interactions and deepens your understanding of the plans we construct together.
More than that – it is totally bespoke to each individual family and it allows us to model and stress-test whichever scenarios we foresee. It gives you a tangible plan which finally lets you understand the implications of planning decisions taken today.
It’s one of the most powerful planning tools at our disposal.
How does it work?
The first step is to input the basics of your current financial position:
- Earnings from employment
- Dividend Income (from a business or a portfolio)
- Rental Income
- Essential household expenditure
- Discretionary expenditure
- School Fees
- Predictable Capital Expenses
- Your home
- Investment Properties
- Investment and Pension Portfolios
- Cash Savings
- Credit Cards
In order to forecast into the future, we apply a series of assumptions to these basic entries, the most important of which are inflation, rate of investment return, rate of property growth, and return on cash savings.
We usually model a net investment return 0.5% above inflation. This might appear to be a relatively negative outlook, but we always encourage you to plan for the worst while hoping for the best.
With this basic plan in place we can begin to make some observations about how your planning fits together and how close you already are to fulfilling your financial objectives. The aim from here is to improve the picture.
What can it do for me/what questions can it answer?
Cash Flow Modelling gives us both the opportunity to have a specific, measurable conversation based on empirical data.
We can introduce events into your future – from gifting money to the kids for a house deposit, paying for a wedding, going on an expensive trip of a lifetime, to funding care fees – and show you the impact those events have on your overall plan. We can model the financial consequences of early (or late) retirement, or choosing to work part-time for a while. We can explore how your overall wealth interacts with your State Benefits.
If you’re building up towards financial independence, we can show you:
- Am I saving enough towards my retirement?
- How much do I need to save annually to hit my target?
- What investment return do I need to aim for, and therefore how much risk is appropriate for me?
- Can I afford to retire early?
If you’re approaching retirement and building your spending profile, we can show you:
- Can I afford to make a gift to my family?
- How much can I spend in order to die penniless?
- How can my income change over time to suit my expenditure profile?
- What rate of return do I need to take in order to achieve my goals?
- How vulnerable is my plan to severe financial shocks?
We can factor in potential inheritances, model what you might be able to leave behind for your own children, and show you the most efficient way to draw income from your portfolios with this in mind.
We can model the impact of market shocks, then better-than-expected investment returns. Changes to inflation assumptions can be modelled in seconds. Is downsizing the family home in your thinking? We’ll show you that too.
You’ll be amazed at the depth of the conversations we can have.
The value of pensions and investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.
Estate planning is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Why is this important?
We update the plan together annually, or more often if you experience an important life event (illness, family death, job change, divorce, or inheritance).
This gives us an audit trail from which we can explore the evolution of your planning over time. We can also log your alternative scenarios and compare the plans next to each other. This gives you a visual representation of which plan is likely to be more successful than the other, based on what is most important to you.
With a precise, evidence-based approach to financial planning, the likelihood of a successful financial outcome increases dramatically.
What does all this really mean to you?
It helps to give you peace of mind.