Financial Planning In A Post-Pandemic World:
‘Fail to plan, plan to fail.’
It’s usually an expression you’d find in the military or in business management. But, it’s also one we use all of the time in financial planning. Unless you have a financial plan for your retirement, for your savings and long-term investments, for buying your home, or for estate planning, then your financial goals will likely always hang in the balance.
We get it! We’ve heard the sceptic mutterings of ‘what’s the point of financial planning?’ What’s the point of any planning at all? Yet, we’ve just lived through one of the most turbulent times the world has seen.
At first glance, it’s a valid point. On March 23rd 2020, the UK, along with much of the world, went into a first lockdown. Subsequent lockdowns followed. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs, and many well-established businesses were wiped out seemingly overnight. Stock markets around the world ricocheted with the shockwaves.
But, fast forward a year, and a vaccine programme is in full swing, and the economy is starting to recover. The majority of the world’s leading stock markets actually gained ground in 2020. And, all of the world’s leading markets (except China) made gains in the first quarter of this year.
What We Can Learn From The Pandemic
What the last year demonstrates is not that there’s no point to financial planning. Rather, it shows us the exact opposite is more important than ever. In spite of the pandemic, people have continued to move house; we still have to save for our retirement and – with a colossal bill to pay off for the pandemic – the Government is sure to continue to tax us handsomely on our savings, investments and our final estate.
Interestingly, despite the pandemic, the basics of financial planning have not changed at all. And, if the last 13 months have taught us anything, it is that what we previously thought couldn’t happen can happen! And when it does, it can happen fast! So, we need a plan, and we need savings. In short, we need a buffer.
It has also served as a stark reminder that saving and investing is a long term game. There will always be, as there always have been, short term fluctuations. More than anything, though, we have seen just how important, regular contact between a financial adviser and a client is. Many of our clients have needed reassurance: nearly all have had questions that needed answering. We have been happy, as always, to do both!
There will undoubtedly be changes in the future. These might be what Harold Macmillan was famously rumoured as calling ‘events.’ Then again, they might come in the form of clients drawing on the last year to reassess what they want from life and their financial planning. Whatever happens, we will always make sure that your financial planning is flexible enough to cope and to adapt. But make no mistake: the old adage ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’ is here to stay.
Written by Ian Barnett
Ian is an experienced Chartered Financial Planner as well as being a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, with over 25 years’ experience in the financial services industry. With a broad range of client experience and expertise, Ian specialises in financial matters from Pre-Retirement Planning to Inheritance Tax Planning and all points in between.