Our accredited Later Life Adviser, Ruth Dolan, explains more about the work she does for clients.
As a member of the Society of Later Life Advisers, I am contacted regularly by clients in later life, people acting as Attorney or Deputy for elderly clients or professionals, particularly solicitors, that have spotted a need for financial planning when dealing with their clients.
The Later Life accreditation offers comfort to those that get in touch that I am experienced and have the skills as well as the knowledge to provide clients with sound advice in a way that is clear and well explained. I am also an independent adviser which means that I can advise on the whole market of savings, investments and life assurances and am not tied to offering just one or two companies’ products.
There are a range of areas that are important in the later stages of life: retirement income planning, inheritance tax/estate planning and where long term care is needed, how to fund this. Typically I advise clients ranging from their mid 50s to late 80s/90s.
Retirement income planning is an exciting area to be involved in. Helping clients to understand what they need or want (two very different things!) when they stop working and then planning the best way to get there is hugely rewarding and beneficial. We work together with the client to understand their priorities and concerns and use a range of tools to help them see how their plans may be implemented or if they need to rethink.
Continuing to advise clients throughout retirement ensures that their plans are on track and any changes can be made appropriately if their needs or situation changes. As an example, in the recent stockmarket crash we contacted clients to keep them updated and discuss any adjustments to their plans that we felt were necessary. This relationship is built on trust and respect and our clients always know we have their best interests at heart.
Inheritance tax planning is becoming more important for people with the value of property increasing significantly over the last 10-20 years. I find working closely with the clients’ lawyer to understand how their wills are written or if there are trusts in place is helpful. I can then provide advice on the financial services solutions available to complement any plans already in place. Sometimes it is helpful for the clients’ children to be involved in the process.
Long term care funding is another key area for clients and their Attorneys. If someone is in need of care, generally speaking they have an Attorney or Deputy that is dealing with their finances on their behalf as they are unable to do so. This can be a very daunting task and I help by providing a financial review initially so that they can understand the situation and what advice is needed. It could be simply re-arranging savings and investments so that they are more suitable, adjusting things to reduce tax, making sure that any welfare benefits are claimed or advising on how to fund care services. This gives the Attorney confidence to know that they have done their best for their relative or friend by taking objective and holistic advice.
Peace of mind is important for everyone, particularly at the moment. If I can help anyone have peace of mind in respect of their finances, then I am a very happy adviser!