Year in review: Ask the experts how finances have changed in 2021

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The financial experts at Smith & Pinching offer their yearly review - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Smith & Pinching's Diane Fish and Phil Beck look back on the year through the lens of independent financial planning.  

Diane Fish, mortgage and equity release adviser with Smith & Pinching

Diane Fish, mortgage and equity release adviser with Smith & Pinching - Credit: Smith & Pinching

Has this been a difficult year for clients?

Phil Beck: There’s an old Chinese curse that says “may you live in interesting times” and I think 2021 must qualify as one of the most interesting periods we’ve lived through in recent history, for all sorts of reasons. Independent financial advice has never been so important.

Diane Fish: You’re right, Phil. Clients have felt nervous about making plans for the future but confidence is returning. We’ve been able to show that it’s still possible to reach goals, even in such difficult times.

What have clients been most concerned about?

Phil: Turbulent investment markets are always a concern for clients. Despite difficult conditions in 2021, we’ve been able to show that short-term ups and downs are less important than an overall long-term trend for investments. The most important thing is to have investments that are suitable for you and your goals – and to keep them under review, ideally with a management package that optimises performance.

Diane: The availability of mortgages has been a concern, particularly for those with small deposits. However, there are lenders out there for most borrowers, provided you can meet their affordability checks. The government’s mortgage guarantee scheme is helping, too.

Phil Beck, Independent Financial Adviser with Smith & Pinching, Chartered Financial Planners

Phil Beck, Independent Financial Adviser with Smith & Pinching, Chartered Financial Planners - Credit: Smith & Pinching

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What should people be thinking about as we move into 2022?

Phil: Long-term planning for retirement is a priority for the vast majority of people. It’s something that should be considered as early as possible, to help you build a fund to support your desired lifestyle when you retire. The best way to be certain of what you can achieve is by putting together a financial plan that allows you to project forward with confidence.

Diane: Many commentators are forecasting more stability in the housing market in 2022, after the rises in house prices in 2021. For those who have waited for calmer times to move house, 2022 should hopefully offer opportunities to find and fund those moves. It may also be a good time for those whose fixed-rate mortgage periods are ending to review their mortgage rate and look for better deals. We’d like to wish readers a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year and look forward to sharing more insights with you in the year to come.

Phil: Absolutely, Diane! We’re here with independent financial advice to allow you to plan for you and your family’s financial wellbeing in both the short and the longer term.

Any opinions expressed do not constitute advice. The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount invested. The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you originally invested.

For more information, please visit www.smith-pinching.co.uk