Money Matters...

Tony McGarrity
Tony McGarrity

Welcome to the first edition of Money Matters, a monthly interactive column where I shall address topical concerns and opportunities in the often confusing world of personal finance.

I should firstly acknowledge the support offered by Mike Rankin, editor of the Mearns Leader, who was determined that this column should offer advice to the community as a whole and be a portal through which you, the reader, can contact us to have your questions answered.

2013 was the year the industry finally rid itself of commission payments from providers which is a very good thing indeed. There never was such a thing as ‘free advice’ and now customers can see exactly how much the advice they receive costs.

SMCG Wealth have always been fee-based and through my experience as a private banker, investment mmanager and independent financial adviser I aim to make the preserve of the already wealthy easily accessible to all. Our intelligent, impartial and independent advice is open to everyone, regardless of their income or investment levels.

Let’s start by looking at the structure of your personal finances. Have you made a will and is this up to date? A will can help protect your assets against inheritance tax and long term care costs, ensure your assets move in death as you wished for when alive. Taking this further you should appoint a power of attorney too. Through our Professional Adviser Partnership we can make a suitable recommendation of a local family solicitor.

Before you consider saving, insurance should be uppermost in your mind. Insure your life, your health and your income if appropriate. We recently had a client pass away after suffering a lengthy illness. He was a contractor, had no pension provision and, as such, no death in service benefits. He hadn’t prioritised to bridge this shortfall through a Life and Critical Illness Policy so his loved ones now face a relatively insecure financial future. A Life & Critical Illness policy pays out a tax free lump sum should you suffer a serious illness such as a heart attack or stroke or are diagnosed with MS or Parkinson’s. The list of conditions they cover is growing and they are more cost effective now than ever before.

Let us show you if your investments are on track, fit for purpose and cost effective. We could advise you on a new insurance policy or review your existing life or critical illness cover – we may be able to reduce your costs or increase your cover for the same premiums. I’ll address each of these issues and more in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions then call to arrange a meeting or email your questions in the strictest confidence. Our first meeting is free of charge and without obligation. Next month I will address a specific issue and would welcome your thoughts on what it should be.