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LMC2020

Face To Face Advice Vs Robo Advice 1024 591 LowerMyCharges

Face To Face Advice Vs Robo Advice

To most people, investing can seem puzzling. The market analysis and financial literacy needed for DIY investing require an advanced understanding. Many simply aren’t confident exploring this subject, creating a clear demand for financial advice.

Traditionally, financial advice has been costly, usually charged annually as a percentage of the investment. Those with larger sums to invest were, therefore, more attractive clients to advisers. Many felt that they were unable to afford financial advice or simply didn’t have large enough investments to benefit from it.

Robo advice based on an algorithm

Emerging in 2008, in the midst of the financial crash, robo advice, with fewer overheads such as salaries, was available at a lower cost than traditional advice. Its ability to cut costs has contributed hugely to its success.

Robo advice customers typically begin by completing a questionnaire. Users will answer a set of questions to calculate their tolerance to risk before an algorithm assesses where their cash is best invested.

Advice with empathy

Ultimately, robo advice isn’t a substitute for a human adviser. Face to face advisers take the time to understand their clients, recognising their goals, attitude to risk and personal circumstances. Often, financial aims are intrinsically emotive, involving plans to support the next generation, leave a legacy or achieve a particular lifestyle. A preset group of questions simply can’t provide the understanding of an individual’s circumstances in the same way that a face to face conversation can.

Over the lifetime of an investment, there may be periods of market difficulty or financial strain. A human adviser can provide support or adapt investment portfolios where necessary. Robo-advice is less able to realise and adapt to changing circumstances. Where a human touch is required, robo advisers are bound to fall short.

Robo advisers often provide a more affordable means of meeting the demand for advice, but simply aren’t equivalent to traditional advice. To truly bridge the advice gap, affordable, human advice is required.

How is LowerMyCharges closing the advice gap?

LowerMyCharges provide low-cost advice, delivered by human advisers. Our advice is delivered over the internet, allowing us to deliver our service at a reasonable cost – just £27.50 per month. Find out more about our advice or book a discovery call.

LowerMyCharges – How do we stand out from other financial advisory services? 1024 591 LowerMyCharges

LowerMyCharges – How do we stand out from other financial advisory services?

LowerMyCharges has been set up to offer a revolutionary fresh alternative to traditional financial advisory firms. Our low charges mean that more of our clients’ money and investments can grow in the products they hold.

We believe that clients should have all the information available to them to make informed decisions, so we’re upfront about our charges. With a simple, fixed charging system, our clients can see from the outset how much they will pay and the impact this will have on their financial goals. Our business model means there are no initial charges, hidden costs or percentage fees.

The way we deliver advice 

We provide high quality, low-cost financial advice delivered over the internet by real people, in real-time and accessed through your desktop, tablet or mobile. Because our advice is delivered remotely, we are able to keep our prices down, which brings the savings directly to you.

Human

All our advisors are human as we believe robo advice couldn’t substitute for a human adviser. It’s down to understanding a client, understanding their goals, attitude to risk and their personal circumstances. Often, financial aims are intrinsically emotive, involving plans to support the next generation, leave a legacy or achieve a particular lifestyle. A preset group of questions simply can’t provide the understanding of an individual’s circumstances in the same way that a face to face conversation can (at least not yet anyway).

Our values 

We are an independent business, not owned by any large financial institution. We only have your interests at heart. Our impartiality means that we have no vested interests in any recommendations we make. We don’t get paid from the products we recommend and we will not sell you anything. Our values stipulate how we operate. To understand more about what we stand for, please visit our values page.

How we get paid

Traditionally, the advice is charged as a percentage of the investment or pension fund held, ranging between 0.5% – 1.0% annually, usually with additional charges imposed for an initial advice call or meeting.

This percentage charging model means that exact fees are determined by the value of an investment or pension fund.  If the fund grows so too will the fees. The exact fees are therefore subject to change, therefore, and investors can’t be certain how much they will be charged throughout the lifetime of the investment. Percentage charges can have significant impacts on investments.

Example 

Over 30 years, a £100,000 investment which achieved 6% growth per annum would grow to £432,000.

If an adviser charged 1% per year, the investor would be left with £324,000, with £108,000 lost as fees.

We always recommend that our clients pay our charges directly, just £27.50 a month which means that more of their investment has a chance to grow.  We do also offer the option of taking our charges from their investment if clients prefer and will explain what impact this has on performance.

How we save and make you money

The compound effect of less money being deducted by charges and, at the same time, more money growing in a pension, savings or investment plan can amount to thousands of pounds over the products’ lifetime.

Book a discover call

Your free discovery call will last up to 20 minutes and we’ll use this time to understand your circumstances so it might be helpful if you have the details of any financial products you may hold ready to hand. We will explain how our service works and how we can help you achieve your financial goals. The call will be recorded for your protection and you are under no obligation to proceed. We are here to help.

Click here to arrange your free call.

Western Mail named us as one of the Top 25 innovative tech companies in Wales! 1024 591 LowerMyCharges

Western Mail named us as one of the Top 25 innovative tech companies in Wales!

Here at Lower My Charges, we are bursting with pride. We were recently listed amongst the top 25 most innovative tech companies in Wales!

As quoted in the Business Live article, “Innovation can be found far beyond just companies in software and hardware, but in a wide range of sectors including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and financial services.”

Ian Brewer explained that it’s Lower My Charges innovative business model that gives the company their competitive edge.

“We are a financial technology platform that allows users to access low-cost, high-quality financial advice remotely on any internet-enabled device, talking with a real human financial adviser.

We help people save charges on their investment and pensions through a free switch service, essentially bridging the gap between automated comparison technology and qualified financial advisors.

Because the advice is available remotely via i.e. computer or smartphone, we are able to offer the service at a significantly lower cost. The time and money we save on travelling mean that we are able to offer our high-quality service at a fixed cost a month and see more clients at the same time.

We currently have seven full-time staff members, and next year we are planning to expand our employer’s service offering, creating more jobs at the same time.”

After two years in development, the platform launched in June and is already showing remarkable signs of growth with three companies pledging to join its innovative salary exchange scheme.

For more information about our service or to find out how your company could join our financial revolution, please contact us here.

If you would like to book a free non-obligatory discovery phone call, click the booking link here. Your free discovery call will last up to 20 minutes and we’ll use this time to understand your circumstances. All our calls are recorded for your protection and you are under no obligation to proceed.

Tracking down the lost pension pots 1024 591 LowerMyCharges

Tracking down the lost pension pots

The era of a job for life is long over. We were once expected to spend our whole career working for one company, working up through the ranks and having a good pension at the end of it but this is clearly not the case any longer with some of the latest figures showing that average workers have 11 different jobs during their life.

The main reasons reported as to why we change jobs include career progression, relocations, redundancies, change of direction and most common of all, better-paid jobs with more attractive benefit systems.

As we move on from one job to the next, we often completely forget about perhaps the most important thing – our pension pot! The government expects that we will soon be flooded with millions of stranded pension pots. Some of us will simply lose track of what, where and when and others won’t really think about it until they hit retirement age and panic.

pension pots

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates that more than 1.6 million pension pots worth £19.4bn are already “lost.” This is the equivalent of £13,000 per plan.

You won’t be able to plan for your retirement properly until you figure out how much income you’ll get from all pensions, including workplace, personal and state pensions. Here are a few tips on how to find any lost pots, and importantly, what to do once you’ve managed to track them down.

Dig up some old statements

Provided you haven’t moved address, you should be receiving pension annual statements – every pension provider is obliged to send them to scheme members.  We advise you to review yours each year and keep them safe.

Contact old employers or pension providers

If you know who your lost pension provider was, you can either contact them directly or try to track it down by contacting your old employer.

You’ll be asked some security questions, and it’s a good idea to gather as much information prior to the call as you can. Dig out your NI number, how long you were at the company, the rough date when you estimate the plan was set up.

Use the government’s pensions tracing service

Until recently, you would have to keep track of your own pension you built up with different employers. The new gov pensions dashboard allows you to track down your past employer’s pension schemes giving you the contact details you need to find your old pension.

Work out if it’s worth putting the pension pots together

This is perhaps the most important step here. What’s next? Is it worth combing the pension pots together? Yes, this will reduce the amount of admin going forward and should mean that because all the money is in one place, it is easier to actually keep a tab on them. We recommend that you always take independent financial advice when considering whether to move or consolidate any pension.

You need to do your homework!

Contact LowerMyCharges

LowerMyCharges are independent financial advisors. We are fully transparent, providing information on our charges and the impact they have on your fund performance and financial goals.

Our founders, Ian Brewer and Peter Deane, are experienced financial services professionals. After years in the industry, they have recognised that financial advice isn’t always easy to access, isn’t easy to understand and the costs can be confusing, unclear and hard to compare.

Call us on 0800 1404542 to see how we can help you secure a better financial future.

Just How Long Will Your Pension Pot Last? 1024 591 LowerMyCharges

Just How Long Will Your Pension Pot Last?

We all know that the earlier you start saving for retirement the better, but how do you work out how much money you need to save to retire and enjoy your retirement plans and dreams?

At LowerMyCharges we can help you to plan effectively for your retirement and work out whether you’re on course to save enough to afford your desired lifestyle.

How much do you spend?

How much do you spend today and how much you expect to spend in retirement? This figure will dictate how much you need to save before you can live your desired lifestyle far away from work. You need to be honest with yourself and have a clear idea of your current spending.  Spending habits formed now are likely to be the same in retirement unless you have plans to change them.

Outgoings 

Depending on individual circumstances, it’s possible that your mortgage will be paid off by the time you retire. Once you reach the state pension age, you may also get certain benefits, such as free bus pass, council tax discount, free prescriptions and you won’t need to pay for your TV license.

Check out your pots

Conversely, you may find some outgoings higher or end up having additional expenses, too. This could be higher energy bills as you will be spending more time at home, and care cost – you need to ensure you have a plan for every eventuality!

If you need help working out your budget, you can speak to one of our advisers or why not use the Money Advice Service Budget Planner.

Depending on what stage of your work life you are at, you could possibly have several pension pots.

Depending on how many employers you’ve had, there could be a pension pot for each company you have worked for. If this is the case, then you need to take into account both your personal pension and the state pension paid by the government.

You could have additional sources of income too, this could be part-time work, rental income, interest from savings, dividends from investments, money from selling your property or benefits such as housing benefit or carers allowance.

You’ll need an experienced, independent financial advisor to help you plan your finances and choose what to do with your pension pots.

Savings

The reality is that most people are not saving enough today for their future.  In fact, the average amount of saving is just 4.4% of your salary, (the United Kingdom Household Saving Ratio).  At this rate, it is estimated that you would need to be saving for nearly 67 years to match your current income in retirement.

Actions

No matter how old you are today, you can always write — or rewrite — your own journey to your retirement story. There are ways to boost your pension, even if you are already approaching the state pension age. You have two main options: put more into your pot or defer taking your pension by a couple of years to help the pot grow.

Reaching retirement is inevitable, and so it’s important you take control and plan ahead – after all, people who receive financial advice are on average £40k better off than those who don’t! *

LowerMyCharges

Here at LowerMyCharges, we are experienced financial services professionals. The research from the International Longevity Centre (ILC UK) finds that people who receive financial advice are on average £40K better off than those who don’t. Because we believe that financial advice should be accessible to everybody, we have made it affordable and convenient. Get in touch via our website or call us on 0800 1404542.

*source: ILC

Are People Using The New Pension Freedoms Wisely? 1024 591 LowerMyCharges

Are People Using The New Pension Freedoms Wisely?

It has been five years since the then Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the Pension Freedoms in his March 2014 budget.

This was hailed the biggest change to pensions in a generation. Under new rules, anyone aged 55 and over is now allowed to take their entire pension pot as a lump sum, paying no tax on the first 25 per cent with the rest being taxed at their personal income tax rate.

According to statistics from HM Revenue, since the announcement came into power in 2015, over £28 billion GBP was flexibly withdrawn from pensions.

Scheme members can take their pension benefits in several ways:

  • one or more payments a year for some years
  • several payments a year over a shorter timeframe
  • the full value of the fund in one large payment

Here at LowerMyCharges, we encourage individuals to use new pension freedoms but cannot stress enough that this should be done with careful consideration and wisely. Pensions freedom places great responsibility on individuals, the majority of whom won’t be familiar with the retirement income landscape. There is much at stake!

When faced with a range of choices, there is a risk that one bad decision can negatively impact your life-time savings and fortune. To protect it, you should always seek independent professional advice.

It’s really important to do thorough research, as all your pension assets hinge on the quality of the advice that you receive. But most importantly of all be wary of scammers!

Peter Deane, the co-founder at LowerMyCharges, said: “Remember that the purpose of a pension is to provide income in retirement and this should always remain the primary aim.” He added: “Don’t sacrifice long term retirement investment planning for short-sighted benefits.”

Pensions freedoms should be used to achieve more flexibility around the choice of how and when to take benefits but not at the expense of securing a regular income in retirement or semi-retirement.

Some responsibility should be also placed on employers. Financial education and accessible financial advice are crucial on all levels.

If you are faced with financial decisions and not sure which path to take, please contact one of our qualified and experienced financial advisors. Get in touch.

More information:

House of Commons Library: Pension flexibilities: the ‘freedom and choice’ reforms

HM Revenue and Custom: Flexible Payments from Pensions

Is It Worth Topping Up My State Pension? 1024 591 LowerMyCharges

Is It Worth Topping Up My State Pension?

If you’re looking to get the full value from your income in retirement, a good place to start is with your State Pension.

The amount of State Pension you get is based on your record of National Insurance Contributions (NICs). If you haven’t made enough contributions then you won’t get a full State Pension. But you may be able to pay voluntary contributions to boost the amount you get, even if you’ve already retired.

Provided you are eligible to top up, the cost of doing this is effectively subsidised by the Government which means it can prove good value for money.

Here is how it works.

Every gap year in your National Insurance contributions is worth 1/35th of your entire state pension entitlement.

From the tax year 2019/2020, those with full state pension entitlement receive around £168.60 per week. This means that each additional year you plug a gap will be worth around £4.80 per week for life (168.60/35= 4.80).

This is equivalent to £250 per year (52x £4.80). So, if you pay one extra year of NICs you’ll earn back what you paid in three years.

If for some reason, you think you won’t be getting the full amount, then it’s worth considering topping up.

The rules about who can top up, how much it costs and what impact it will have on your State Pension are rather complex. For example, in some cases, you can use your spouse or ex-spouse contributions to compliment your own or those who had already built up a pension under the ‘old’ rules worth more than the full flat-rate amount will receive that higher amount when they retire.

Here at LowerMyCharges, we can help you to navigate these various rules and regulations and make a more informed choice about whether or not to toping up will be beneficial in your individual circumstances.  Contact us to find out more: 0800 1404542.

You can also access the Government’s free guidance services by following this link.