Millennials and Money Event – 18th September 2019

Later this month, Sound Financial Management and Plymouth Junior Lawyer Division will be hosting a talk on ‘Millennials and Money’. Our advisers, Charlie Hill and Ryan May, will be covering topics such as pensions, investments and savings to help you understand how to make your money work harder for you. As millennials themselves they understand the trials and tribulations surrounding personal finances and want to help their generation buck perceptions and close the financial literacy gap.

The talk will be held at the Foot Anstey building (4 North East Quay, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth PL4 0BN) on Wednesday, 18th September 2019 (17:30PM – 19:30PM BST).
Tickets are FREE and available now at

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Bianca on 01752 207070 or email

We can’t wait to see you there!

Remember: you should always seek independent financial advice from a professional in connection with making an investment decision.

Sound Financial Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

How much do I need to retire?

There are many varying factors that make up every individual’s answer to this question. Sadly, there is no “one-size fits all” answer, and seeking financial advice might be a good idea if you’re unsure.

You will need to consider what you can afford to be putting into your pension. You should evaluate your day to day living expenses and liabilities (mortgage, loans, etc.) these could all affect your ability to increase your regular contributions. If you can’t afford to make higher contributions now it isn’t the end of the world, it might just result in having to make higher contributions when you are more financially stable. You are currently unable to draw money from your pension until the age of 55, so you will need to ensure that any money invested is not integral.

Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself when trying to manage your retirement savings:

What do you already have in your pension?

Looking at what you already have in your pension is the best place to start. Doing so will allow you to see how quickly you are currently building your pension and how it might look in the future, from there you can start to make informed decisions and realistic expectations.

What kind of lifestyle are you looking to have during your retirement?

Your desired lifestyle will increase or decrease the amount of money you should have saved in your pension. If you are looking to spend £30,000 a year, you need to ensure you can afford to.

When are you looking to retire?

If you are considering taking early retirement then you will need more money in your pension to ensure you don’t outlive your funds.

With your state pension, there are benefits to retiring after your state retirement age. Choosing to defer retirement results in your income being increased.

What is your attitude to risk?

We all know the saying “high risk, high reward” but you need to consider what would you do if you lost all your pension savings? Could you afford to live? If the answer is no, then you should re-consider the amount of risk your taking with regards to your money.

Equally, more ambitious retirement plans may require more risk to be achievable.

If after crunching the numbers your goals seem unobtainable it might be worth considering managing your expectations and if all of this still seems confusing it might be worth seeking financial advice.

If you would like to talk to someone about your pension or receiving more information on how we could help you with your pension, please contact Sound Financial Management via telephone (01752 207070) or via email (

Do You Need a Financial Adviser?

Regardless of whether you are considering buying a financial product or looking to establish a long term financial plan, you could possibly find yourself in need of a financial adviser.

There are a number of factors that should be considered when making financial decisions. A financial adviser can help highlight these and suggest the most appropriate route for your own personal needs and circumstances. Advisers offer services ranging from holistic financial planning, to more specialist advice.

What services do financial advisers offer?

All professional financial advisers need to know their client, this is usually done by completing a ‘fact find’, this process will entail answering questions in detail about your own personal circumstances, establish what your long and short term goals are and the amount of risk you are willing to consider with regards to your investments. This will then allow the adviser to provide recommendations that are suitable to your needs and aspirations.

Types of financial adviser

There are 2 different kinds of financial adviser. An independent adviser, meaning that they offer advice on the full range of investment products from the market or a specific market segment and a restricted adviser, meaning that the range of products or providers they will look at is limited.

The benefits of getting advice

Seeking advice should result in purchasing the right product for you, meeting your needs and expectations whilst taking into consideration your personal circumstances.

Depending on the type of adviser you use, you may also have a wider range of choices than you could possibly access on your own.

The difference between advised and ‘non-advised’ sales

Generally your bank or building society will discuss with you different products and let you decide which route you take.

Although this will allow you to make an informed decision, it doesn’t necessarily ensure you leave with the product that would suit your own personal financial needs and circumstances.

When should you seek financial advice?

The answer depends on the product and your own personal circumstances. You should ask yourself these questions; can you afford to lose any money? Do you have the time to do the research? Do you know what you’re doing when it comes to investing? If something goes wrong, are you able to take responsibility for any bad decisions? If you answered ‘No’ to any of these then you might want to consider seeking financial advice. It might be worth considering the potential financial and emotional cost of not seeking advice and purchasing the wrong product.

Is it cheaper to buy without advice?

If you do not seek advice you will not have to pay a fee. However, not seeking advice could result in purchasing a product which is unsuitable for your needs and goals and some products are only available to purchase through an adviser.

What do you pay for financial advice?

A lot of advisers offer a free initial consultation.

On 31 December 2012, the law regarding financial advice fees changed. Fees are required to be established up front and agreed before any work is carried out.

You can choose to receive on-going advice to insure your investments continue to be appropriate and is invested to achieve it’s optimum performance.

Cash savings products

Because cash products such as cash ISAs and fix rate saving bonds are relatively easy to understand, you may feel that you do not require advice and feel confident to use comparison sites; these products are easy to buy directly from the provider yourself.


Investments such as shares and unit trusts can be purchased directly from the provider. However, this is only recommended if you feel you have sufficient knowledge and are confident with the placement of the investment. These products can be more complex than cash savings products, an adviser will ensure you are aware of the products available to you when making your investment. Not seeking advice could result in purchasing a product that is not suitable for you.


Your employer should offer you a workplace pension. With this they may also offer you access to an adviser who can provide guidance about the scheme.

You can choose to invest in a personal pension; in this case it’s usually best to get advice unless you really understand how these products work. Personal pensions can be used to boost your existing pension savings or to merge different schemes together.
As pensions are long-term investments, you need to ensure you understand the various types of pension available to you and pick the one most suitable for your needs and goals.

Insurance or mortgages

This can be purchased or arranged via a price comparison website or brought directly from the provider. However, it is recommended that you do seek advice for these products to ensure you end up with the correct one for your circumstances. It might also be a good idea to have the range of products and options explained to you. Some products are again only available through an adviser and seeking advice could create the opportunity for a lower rate.

Everything you need to know about ISAs

An Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a method for you to save up to £20,000 (current limit for the 2018/19 tax year) tax free! You won’t pay tax on any interest on your investment as well as not having to pay any income or capital gains tax on the monies invested.

You can open an ISA lots of different ways including via your; bank/building society, a peer-to-peer lending service, a crowdfunding company, a stock-broker, a credit union, a friendly society and another financial institution.

There are 4 variations of ISA, it is possible for you to put your annual allowance into one of each kind of ISA or split your allowance across some/ all of the other types.

The different types of ISA are;

•Cash ISA
Cash ISA will generally include savings from a bank and building society

•Stocks and shares ISA
A stocks and shares ISA can include shares in companies, unit trust and investment funds, corporate bonds and government bonds.

•Innovative finance ISA
An innovative finance ISA allows for peer to peer lending without the use of a bank, as well as crowdfunding debentures – investing in a business by buying its debt.

•Lifetime ISA
A lifetime ISA can be used to buy your first home or save for later life, you must be over the age of 18 but younger than 40 to open a lifetime ISA. You are only able to put £4,000 into a lifetime ISA each year, the government with add a 25% bonus to your savings (up to a maximum of £1,000 per annum). These funds can be held in cash or within stocks and shares.

You can also open a Junior ISA for your child; this has an annual allowance of £4,000 and can hold stocks and shares or cash.

If you would like to consider opening an ISA or receiving information on which ISA might be more suitable for your own personal needs and circumstances, please contact Sound Financial Management via telephone (01752 207070) or via email (

Inflation Vs. Cash: What does inflation mean for your savings?

High inflation can cause issues when you’re saving, especially when your bank is only offering you a low interest rate.

What is inflation?

Inflation effects how much your money can buy. Think about 10 years ago, how much did a pint of milk cost? In all likelihood it cost now costs more: that’s inflation.

Rate of inflation

Still not sure what inflation is? Well, if a pint of milk was 48p this time last year and 50p now, you could say that the annual rate of inflation on a pint of milk was just over 4%. If you then expanded that to measure the changes in price of lots of goods and services, you could see how the cost of living in general is going up, or coming down. In the UK we have two main inflation rates: the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Continue reading “Inflation Vs. Cash: What does inflation mean for your savings?”

The Main Changes This Tax Year 2018-19

The new tax year began on Friday with a bigger than usual set of changes to income taxes, personal allowances, pensions, buy-to-let taxation and dividend taxation. Here’s what to expect.

Personal allowance
The amount you can earn without paying income tax rises from £11,500 to £11,850, which works out as a tax cut of £70 for most people.
Income tax
The starting point for paying 20% basic rate tax will be £11,850, while 40% tax will start on earnings above £46,350 (up from £45,000).
It’s different in Scotland. The £11,850 personal allowance is the same, but the first £2,000 of earnings after that are taxed at 19% rather than 20%. After that, it’s 20% tax until your earnings hit £24,000, when it rises to 21%. Then above £43,430 the rate is 41%. Both have an upper rate above £150,000; in England it’s 45%, in Scotland 46%.
National insurance
Will be charged at 12% of income on earnings above £8,424, up from £8,164 until you are earning more than £46,350, after which the rate drops to 2%. It’s the same in Scotland.
Auto-enrolment Pension contributions start racking up from this week. From Friday workers must pay a minimum of 3% of salary into a pension (up from 1%), while the employer contribution rises from 1% to 2%.
Buy-to-let landlords
Will only be able to offset 50% of their mortgage interest when calculating their tax bill, compared with 75% before.
Until now you could earn £5,000 in dividends tax-free. This drops to £2,000 for 2018-19.


Why Is Life Insurance So Important In Your 20s?

In our 20s the last thing anyone wants to think about is getting ill or, god forbid, worse. Although we still feel like we live care-free lives and have no responsibilities, the reality is that we are now financially independent and this comes with certain responsibility not only to ourselves but to others. If you have any loans, a house, significant other or children, you should be looking at life insurance.

Today, we prioritize our technology and our pets, taking out policies to cover loss and damage to our phone and ensuring vets bills are covered for our furry friends. These are generally the first considerations when thinking about insurance, but why are we not considering ourselves? The main reason is that we don’t get educated to the importance of personal insurance, if you get ill and can’t work, you will most likely seek additional help from your parents or a home care service, which could be costly. Having insurance will absorb some of this financial burden and avoid eating into savings. The mind-set in the UK is also hindered by the NHS, because we have our healthcare provided the financial implications of becoming ill aren’t something we would consider an issue, our initial care is covered and we tend not to think about the ripple effect that could be caused due to illness. Potentially having to pay out of a new phone or an operation for man’s best friend is worrying and costly, thus insurance is an instant thought.

Continue reading “Why Is Life Insurance So Important In Your 20s?”

What You Need To Know About Workplace Pensions

Like many young people the thought of retirement is a far off dream for me, so when talking about workplace pension I tend to half-heartedly listen. The truth of the matter is that we should start putting money aside for later life as soon as possible, and the work place pension scheme set up by the government is the easiest way for you to start doing this. Starting a pension pot now will ensure you see as much growth as possible from your invested money, with the aim of ensuring you are financially stable in your retirement.

So what is a workplace pension?

A workplace pension is a pension scheme set up by your employer; a percentage of your pay will be deducted every payday and placed into the chosen scheme. In most cases your employer will also contribute into the scheme for you.

Employers are legally obligated to provide a workplace pension scheme for their employees; this is called ‘automatic enrolment’. If you meet the following requirements, your employer must enrol you and make contributions to your pension:

• You’re classed as a ‘worker’ – you have a contract or other arrangement and receive payment for the services you provide (this does not include limited company arrangements)
• You’re aged between 22 and your state pension age (visit Gov.UK to find out what your state pension age is)
• You earn at least £10,000 a year
• You usually work in the UK
However, there are exceptions to your employer automatically enrolling you, if you don’t meet the previous criteria or any of the following, but this does not mean you aren’t eligible to opt-into the scheme:
• If you’ve given or been given notice to end your employment
• You already have a pension arrangement with your employer
• You’re a director without an employment contract and employ at least one other person
• You’re a limited liability partnership
• You’re from another EU country and are in a EU cross-border pension scheme
• If more than 12 months before your enrolment date, you decided to leave a pension previously arranged by your employer
• You have evidence of your lifetime allowance protection
• You receive a one-off payment from a workplace pension scheme

If your income is low (below £490 per month/ £113 per week) your employer isn’t required to contribute.

When you are automatically enrolled your employer will need to notify you in writing. This letter should include information regarding your joining date, the type of scheme and which company runs it, how much is being contributed, how you can opt-out and how tax relief may apply to you.

Your employer cannot dismiss or discriminate against you for being in a workplace pension scheme, they are also not able to encourage or force you to opt out.

If you decide to change jobs your pension still belongs to you. Regardless of If carry on paying into the scheme or not, the money will remain invested and you’ll receive the pension when you reach the scheme’s pension age. Your pension will not automatically be paid into the same scheme, so ensure you keep all you pension details and either combine your schemes or keep a record of them. You will be able to join a new scheme with your new employer and can continue to contribute to your old scheme if you wish.

Want more information? Check out our website or give us a call on 01752 207070

DISCLAIMER: Seeking professional and personalized advice is always recommended. Your financial needs and circumstances are completely individual to you and you should treat them as such by seeking advice from an investment professional. Independent financial advisers have the ability to recommend products from all areas of the financial market and will provide you with a clear guide to establishing everything you need to make a smart investment that suits you.

Guide to Investing

Creating and maintaining the right investment strategy plays a vital role in securing your financial future. Whether you are looking to invest for income or growth, we can provide the quality advice, comprehensive investment solutions and ongoing service to help you achieve your financial goals.

Whatever stage of life you’ve reached and whatever your plans are, you’ll want your money to earn the best return possible without taking undue risk. That’s why it’s important to invest in a way that’s right for you and that will meet your goals.

Continue reading “Guide to Investing”