“Losing Control”

I am typing this as I travel back from meeting a client who sought out our services because she thought she was “losing control” of her investments.

This fear of losing control over assets is common within Financial Planning and occurs as pensions, savings and investments are built up over time. The point can arise, often after a bout of stock market volatility, where it is difficult to know what you have and where your are invested. The confusion is compounded where policies are spread amongst a number of providers resulting in a forest of paper being received throughout the year concerning a myriad of account numbers and holdings. Before you know where you are you can’t see the woods for the trees.

Fortunately the situation can be as simple as a sense checking exercise. You could do this yourself by blitzing your filing cabinet (or wherever you file your correspondence) and itemising the investments you have, what the most recent value you have received is and in which asset classes you are invested.  Most companies enable you to view your investment online which would make the job easier (if you can remember your username and passwords!). It may also help to shred any outdated statements and letters.

Once you have completed the exercise hopefully you will now have a better understand of  what pensions, investments and savings you have. As an additional step it is prudent to assess whether the portfolio you have built up is taking the appropriate degree of investment risk in a diversified manner, that you are not needlessly paying tax and the charges you are incurring (if known) remain competitive.

If it is felt changes are required care must also be taken to ensure tax is not levied unnecessarily, exit charges are not occurred or losses crystallised.

An annual review of your financial circumstances can help prevent this out of control feeling occurring again.

If you feel like you have lost control of your investments and, like my client today, you would like them to be reviewed contact me to find out how I can help.

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