2020 in review: advice from financial experts
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This festive week, Smith & Pinching's advisers Diane Fish and Phil Beck share some of their thoughts about the challenges that we’ve seen in 2020.
Diane Fish: Families throughout Norfolk and beyond will look back on 2020 as a year that had many lows, but a few highs too. It’s been a year when we’ve had to struggle with new ways of living and working but where family time and a sense of community have become our priorities.
Regular readers will know that I specialise in advising clients on their mortgages and other borrowing. The mortgage market has been through some turbulent times with house moves stalled for some months earlier in the year and many borrowers taking time off from repaying their mortgages. This led to a drastic reduction in the number of mortgages available and we are only recently seeing the market opening up again. The Stamp Duty holiday has certainly helped, although lenders are still being cautious and low deposit mortgages are in rare supply.
Equity release and lifetime mortgages remain a popular route for clients to free up additional money when their wealth is tied up in their property. This type of arrangement is safe – being fully regulated by the FCA and with so much flexibility – and I would urge readers to get advice from a firm that is a member of the Equity Release Council.
My Christmas message for readers is: don’t panic. The mortgage and equity release markets are regaining confidence. I am, as always, optimistic for the year ahead. I send you my very best wishes for a Happy Christmas.
Phil Beck: As I look back to March and April at the beginning of the pandemic when markets were in freefall, I can remember a great deal of anxiety. I advised then – as I do now – that in most cases panic selling of investment assets in falling markets is a bad idea. Knee-jerk reactions of this type rarely do more than lead to locking in losses.
However, none of us had any idea that the current crisis would last as long and be so damaging to our personal and business finances. Pension funds and other investment portfolios have inevitably been adversely affected, although thankfully we have seen a significant recovery since the low points earlier in the year. News of successes with producing vaccines is helping markets and I’m very optimistic that 2021 will see us begin to return to a more normal life.
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Next year will be the time to take a detailed look at your financial plans and make whatever adjustments are needed to get your aspirations back on track. Independent financial advice will be critical to ensure you have the right mix of pensions, investments and protection to provide for your future. I wish you a healthy and happy Christmas.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage. Equity release is a lifetime mortgage. To understand the features and risks, please ask for a personalised illustration. Releasing equity will reduce the value you have in your home and therefore the amount of inheritance you will be able to leave.
There will be a fee for the mortgage and equity release advice. The precise amount will depend upon your circumstances, and the type of lending taken. Smith & Pinching’s minimum advice fee is £700.
The value of an investment and the income from it could go down as well as up. The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you originally invested. Any opinions expressed in this article do not constitute advice.
For more information visit www.smith-pinching.co.uk