Life events

We can guide you through life’s challenges and opportunities – from marriage or divorce to a business sale or windfall.

Financial planning for life events

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect. Some life events, such as marriage, an unexpected windfall or a business exit, offer exciting opportunities. Others, such as divorce or illness, are more challenging. What unifies these life events is their potential to influence our long-term financial security. Deciding on the best course of action isn’t easy, which is why it’s important to get financial advice from someone you trust.

Whatever life throws at you, we’ll support you in making the decisions that are right for you. We’ll help you:

The help, advice and support is first class. It is always reassuring to have someone you can trust and rely on to help.
Source: RBC Brewin Dolphin client

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Managing your finances during divorce

For many people, going through a divorce is difficult, stressful and confusing; for others, it may be a huge relief. Regardless of how you’re feeling right now, it’s important not to let your emotions dictate the big decisions you’ll face over the coming months.

As the dust starts to settle, you’ll need to make some complex choices about your finances. Choices that could have a huge impact on your long-term financial stability and wellbeing. From your house and children to your pensions and investments, it’s important that you take the time to fully explore your options.

We can help you get back on your feet and into a secure financial position again. We’ll help you achieve a fair settlement, illustrate what your new future will look like, and build a robust financial plan that suits your individual needs. By involving us early in the process, we can help you avoid the pitfalls and take advantage of financial planning opportunities.

Divorce and your pension

We can help you:

  • Understand the value of your pensions
  • Consider the best way to split pensions
  • Where appropriate, set up a new pension arrangement
Divorce and your investments

We can help you:

  • Take stock of your existing investments
  • Understand the tax implications of selling and transferring assets
  • Build a diversified and tax-efficient investment portfolio

This does not constitute tax or legal advice. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future.

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A guide to financial planning for divorce

Find out your options when dividing your assets during divorce and how to get back on track.

Download guide

Making the most of a lump sum

Inheritance, redundancy, bonus payment or surprise good fortune – an unexpected windfall has the potential to create long-term financial security for you and your loved ones. We can advise you on how to make best use of a lump sum, including setting it to work as part of an investment portfolio.

Your options may include:

We’ll help you explore your options and, where appropriate, build a tax-efficient investment portfolio that helps to grow your money over the long term.

Selling your business

Exiting a business is often a significant life transition. We understand that taking your foot off the gas may not come naturally. But we also know that having a plan in place can help to reduce any stress or anxiety you may be feeling. We’ll help you make the most of your business sale proceeds, whether that’s investing in a diversified portfolio, or leaving a tax-efficient legacy for the next generation.

We can help you:

  • Recognise your ‘magic number’ – the amount of money you need from your business sale to live your dream life
  • Understand whether you can retire sooner than expected or whether more work is needed to get your business ‘sale ready’
  • Get your finances in shape during and after the sale

Common questions on financial planning for life events

There are several ways in which pensions can be divided in a divorce, and the approach that is right for you will depend on many different factors, including your age and the complexity of your situation.

The three main methods of splitting pensions are:

  1. Pension sharing order: this divides up your pensions and provides a clean break. You get a percentage share of your former spouse’s pension or vice versa. This share can be transferred into a new or existing pension.
  2. Pension offsetting: the value of your pensions is offset against your other assets. For example, you could get a bigger share of the family home in return for your ex keeping their pension.
  3. Pension attachment order (or ‘pension earmarking’): when the pension starts to pay out, the ex-spouse receives part or all of the benefits. This method doesn’t provide a clean break.

The way you split your investments in a divorce could have tax implications and there may be charges involved, so it’s important to get financial advice. For example, cashing in investments outside an ISA could land you with a significant capital gains tax (CGT) bill. And if you receive income-generating assets as part of the divorce, this could affect how much income tax you pay.

Transfers of assets between spouses or civil partners don’t give rise to a CGT charge. Once you separate, you can transfer assets to one another free from CGT, so long as the transfer occurs within three years from the end of the tax year in which you separate.

This does not constitute tax or legal advice. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future.

There are several options to consider when deciding how to divide your property in a divorce:

  • You could sell the home, both of you move out, and then use the proceeds towards buying a new home each.
  • One partner could buy out the other partner’s share.
  • You could keep the home and one of you live in it until your children leave school.
  • You could transfer part of the value of your home from one partner to the other, who would retain a stake and receive a percentage of the value when the house is sold.

The way you invest a lump sum of money will depend on a range of factors, including how long you’re investing for, your goals, your attitude to investment risk, and whether you want to focus on growing your capital or generating a regular income. It’s important not to put all your money in one type of investment. Building a diversified portfolio that spreads your money across different asset classes, including equities, bonds and cash, helps to minimise the impact of one particular asset class falling in value.

In an ideal world, you’d invest your money just after markets had tumbled and just before they started to bounce back. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to determine when markets have reached rock bottom or when they’re about to recover. A better tactic is to focus on your long-term goals and accept the fact your investments will have their ups and downs. After all, the longer you wait to invest, the less time you’ll have to see any returns at all. As the old investment adage goes, it is time in the market, not timing the market that is key to returns.

If you’re feeling anxious about investing, you could drip feed small amounts of money into the market each month rather than investing it all at once. This removes the worry of investing a big lump sum right before a market decline. It can also help to smooth out stock market volatility. In some months, you’ll invest when markets are down and you’ll get more investments for your money; in other months, you’ll invest when markets are up and you’ll get fewer investments for your money. This essentially averages out the price at which you buy investments, which can help to provide a bit of peace of mind.

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