Navigating the financial impact of COVID-19

How people’s physical health and financial well-being are being affected

Needless to say, coronavirus (COVID-19) has had, and will continue to have, a major impact on our lives. It is not just impacting on people’s physical health but also their financial well-being. Research highlights how the finances of the UK’s households have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak[1].

‘No desire to retire’

Why working and retirement are no longer binary terms

Giving up the 9-to-5 doesn’t necessarily mean stopping work. Many people are now considering staggered or flexible working. It can suit some individuals who have caring responsibilities or health issues, or those thinking about retiring in the next few years.

Planning to leave a family legacy?

Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Will making

We are living in extraordinary times right now, in the grip of a global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many people are concerned to ensure that their affairs are in order and that they have made a Will, which is one of the most important legal documents you can create in life.

Retirement freedoms

Ensure your future income will allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you want 

Preparing for retirement is like getting ready for a journey, it never goes quite as planned. But the better the plan, the better the outcome. When things go wrong, you want to have the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. You never know what retirement will be like until you get there.

How sustainable is your portfolio?

Increased investor focus on environmental, social and governance considerations 

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues continue to be a priority for many investors. Your values define you. But do your investments reflect who you are?

Building a strategy that meets your financial needs

Preparing ourselves for life to be really strange for some time

The only constant in life is change, which is why individual financial life planning should not be a one-off exercise. Reviewing your finances regularly is essential if you want to stay on track to meet your financial goals. Making sure your finances are in the best possible shape will also make sure you stay on course to achieving everything you want.

Preserving your wealth

Once you have acquired your wealth, the last thing you want to do is lose it through poor asset protection

Whether you have earned your wealth, inherited it or made shrewd investments, you will want to ensure that as little of it as possible ends up in the hands of the taxman and that it can be enjoyed by you, your family and your intended beneficiaries. 

Looking to the future

Successful life planning also requires a significant degree of financial planning

We spend our lives planning our next holiday, for a family, buying a property, funding a child’s education and for the day we retire. So then why is it that some people seem to have the ability to live the life of dreams and pass on their wealth to the next generation when others are faced with huge tax bills, the prospect of selling their home or worried about healthcare costs?

Staying invested

Staying invested and giving your money the greatest chance to grow

Perhaps the most common investment advice is to stay invested. But with markets being so volatile, the ease of sticking to that advice has been sorely tested in 2020. Even though we’ve seen global markets bounce sharply from their March lows, understandably there will still be those investing for retirement who remain worried and wonder what the best approach is for the remainder of the year and beyond.

Inflation-proofing your portfolio

One of the biggest threats to the health of your investments

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the global economy. Around the world, economic activity has dried up. Fewer consumers are buying and fewer companies are investing.

If you take the view that inflation will go up in the long term, it is worth considering whether your savings and investments could be affected. After all, you need your investments, and the income from them, to keep pace with inflation to maintain the value of your buying power.

 Inflation over the past decade

When we think about concerns over inflation today, we have to consider how the world looked immediately before the coronavirus pandemic, as well as our wider experience with inflation over the past decade.

In the run-up to the COVID-19 pandemic, things were actually pretty quiet on the inflation front. In fact, you could argue that policymakers were more worried about inflation being too low, or persistently low, rather than any return to the 1970s.

Decline in demand across the economy

There are a number of factors driving down inflation. A decline in demand across the economy due to the social lockdown to help combat the spread of the virus is seeing us having to stay at home, meaning we have generally been spending less. As elsewhere around the world, we have also been driving and travelling far less.

In addition, the price of oil has been a historic bellwether for the health of the global economy. The effect of lower oil prices feeding into lower costs of production for a wide range of goods will also push down inflation.

Spending could drive inflation higher

 Despite unprecedented support from the UK Government to help workers and businesses, job security and consumer confidence has collapsed. Economic uncertainty and the threat of unemployment leaves many less willing to spend and businesses less willing to invest in capital.

Unless the damage done to the economy ends up lasting, it’s likely we’ll see a pick-up in spending once there is some resumption of normality. Depending on how much demand is pent up, and how willing consumers and businesses are to part with their savings when we start to emerge from the crisis, the rise in spending could drive inflation higher.

Other possible inflationary pressures

Over the long term, there are worries about other possible inflationary pressures. Prices can also go up because there is less supply of products. The ongoing situation caused by the crisis is seeing significant disruption to trade, and some companies going out of business. This could also have the effect of constraining the supply of goods and competition in the global economy, contributing to higher prices at checkouts.

Due to the heightened degree of uncertainty in global markets, it is difficult to forecast the outlook for inflation with any certainty. Nonetheless, it is worth considering the possibility that inflation may rise to levels that have historically been more ‘normal’.

Including some protection against inflation

Investors may not be overly concerned in the short term about inflation, but a diversified portfolio should always include some protection against inflation, whether through holding shares in companies that have the ability to raise their prices over time, or more direct inflation-protecting assets such as inflation-linked bonds. Exposure to inflation-protecting assets should be seen as part of normal portfolio allocation, rather than as a response to the threat of higher inflation.

Inflation poses a real threat to investors because it chips away at real savings and investment returns. Most investors aim to increase their long-term purchasing power. Inflation puts this goal at risk because investment returns must first keep up with the rate of inflation in order to increase real purchasing power.

Take steps to combat inflation

Inflation might be beyond your control, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take actions to help preserve your investments and savings from its effects. To discuss this further or for more information, please contact A1 Financial Solutions on 0131 347 8855 or email info@a1-financial.com.

INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF TAXATION LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS. ANY LEVELS AND BASES OF, AND RELIEFS FROM, TAXATION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT A RELIABLE INDICATOR OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE.