It can also be a time when people take stock, think about the year so far, and plan ahead for the things they want to do in the rest of the year.
If you are one of these people, we'd encourage you to have a think about getting your financial affairs sorted out. You might have already done this, but we'd usually find when we speak to clients, that there's always something which can be improved.
Financial planning is all about priorities. Most people will have to make decisions as to what is most important for them, at the moment, but also in the future. You need to think about the immediate issues, before thinking about the future.
So what might be relevant for you? We hope the following ideas might be helpful, and of course, we'd be delighted to help you with this planning.
Have you got sufficient savings to meet your immediate needs? The rule of thumb here is to try to put together savings equivalent to 6 months income. This ensures you have a safety net, if for any reason your income was to unexpectedly stop.
Are your big expenses being run as efficiently as they might be? In particular, have you reviewed your mortgage deal, and made sure that it is the best rate for you?
Are you adequately covered in the event of accident, sickness, critical illness or death? That might be to provide you with an income or a capital sum, but equally it might be to provide for your family, if you are no longer here.
At it's most basic, we all need to think about providing for our financial security when we retire, and that can be done by a combination of pensions and other types of investment. Pension rules are in the process of changing, and although this provides for uncertainty, in general terms it looks like pensions will be simplified, and become easier to access. You'll have heard that you shouldn't put off starting a pension, and must then make sure it's properly funded - this is of course absolutely correct, and if you've got savings, expenses and protection covered, we'd be happy to guide you through retirement planning.
The final priority is to think about investments beyond the rainy day fund we've already talked about. Your investments should be appropriate for you, and in particular you should understand how risk and reward is related, and what sort of returns are possible. We help people structure their investments in a way which is suitable for them, and importantly make sure that any ongoing costs are appropriate for the size of investment. We also make sure that investments are held in tax efficient structures and can help reduce income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
Morton Fraser has a team of financial advisors, who work with the legal teams in making sure that the financial solution is right, and is supported by legal planning for example around Wills and Trusts.