The Importance of Financial Planning During a Crisis By: Georgina Roche BA QFA RPA, Financial Advisor, Neiland Financial Services Ltd

As we are all well aware at this point, globally we are in unprecedented territory trying to combat COVID-19. More so, closer to home, we are all in unprecedented territory financially, as we try to manage our day to day expenses on, in many cases, reduced incomes and uncertainty around future employment. Many people are anxious or even panicked and unsure of where to turn to for help. Banks and lenders are offering payment breaks on borrowings, but what about your personal or business financial plan? Things such as your life assurance, income protection, critical illness, investments and pensions? These are the ‘traditional’ contingency plans we have in place for a rainy day, a death, illness and retirement. It’s at a time like this that your Financial Advisor can be your best asset.

In brief, good Financial Advisor will help you with the following:

(A) Your Financial Plan

When you meet with a Financial Advisor, the first port of call in any meeting should be to review your existing plan. In situations like we are experiencing now, we can adapt it to your new circumstances by helping you re-organise your financial priorities, cash flow and identify what is necessary to ensure you can survive through these tough financial times and still protect your family, business and where possible plan for retirement. This may mean cancelling a plan, restructuring a plan or reducing the cost of a plan, whilst trying to maintain as much of the integrity of your original financial plan, as possible.

(B) Business and Family Protection

This is of utmost importance now. DO NOT cancel your life, critical illness or income protection policies without consulting with a Financial Advisor first. There may be other options available to you! During the Financial Crisis of 2008, the Financial Services Industry witnessed untold hardship experienced by businesses and families that cancelled their protection policies and then experienced a death or illness. For a family, the purpose of life cover, critical illness cover and income protection is to replace the loss of an income or a repay debit. For a business, these types of insurance can allow a Company to buy a deceased Director or Partner’s business share from their estate or provide the Director / Partner with an income during a period of illness or injury. If the business has a Key Employee, protection can be put in place to replace the loss of revenue that Employee brings into the company, in the event of their death or illness too.

(C) Retirement Planning
  • Unfortunately, at present, most of us cannot access our pension unless you are close to retirement or in a Personal Retirement Bond and over the age of 50. However, retirement planning is still essential and must be reviewed during periods of high market volatility such as what we are experiencing now. Why? Well, because:
  • In times of uncertainty, people’s attitude to risk with their money will change – so, are you in the right investment strategy now? What was right for you 6 months ago, may not be the best course of action at this moment.
  • If you are close to retirement, can you access your policy? If so, what is the best course of action for you right now?
  • Redundancy and unemployment; if you had a pension through work but are now no longer employed, generally the best course of action is to move that pension from your former Employer and into your own name, this gives you control of how its invested, more input over the charging structure and may allow you to access the pension from age 50 onwards, rather than your previous Employer’s nominated retirement age, which is usually 65 or 68
  • Pension contracts change. If you took out your pension more than 5 years ago, there may be a more competitive charging structure available to you. Particularly, if you can no longer afford to pay into your pension, making sure your charging structure is competitive, is vitally important to your investment strategy going forward. There is no point paying higher charges, if a more competitive offer is available to you.
  • If you are a Company Director, retirement planning is still one of the most tax efficient ways to turn company profits into personal wealth. COVID-19 has not changed this.
    (D) Investments and Regular Savings
    We use these as vehicles to plan for a rainy day or a future financial event, such as children’s education, a dream holiday, a house purchase or renovations. Your Financial Advisor can assess these with you, look at your levels of risk and investment strategy (similar to the point above regarding pension investment risk), review your original intended goal for the savings/investment and how it can now be applied to your current situation, in a way which is beneficial to you, but without exhausting all of your savings, if at all possible.
    (E) Tax / Inheritance Planning
    If your business is still operating, if you are still employed throughout this COVID-19 crisis or if tax and inheritance has been on your mind, there are still tax advantages available to you through financial planning. Bespoke advice is required in this area to ensure the correct financial vehicles are utilised to maximise these opportunities for you. Pensions, life cover and investments can be used, when set up correctly, to provide for your loved ones when you have passed, in a way that is tax efficient for you now.
    How can Neiland Financial Services Ltd help you?
    So, how can we help you? Neiland Financial Services Ltd is a local company, near St Peter’s Square, Wexford, that has been servicing the financial needs of the people of the South East for over 34 years. With 4,000+ clients, we are one of the largest Financial Brokerages in the South East, in our specialist area. We have a team of 7 experienced and qualified Financial Advisors, on hand, to comprehensively help you with any of the issues outlined above. Our consultations are complimentary and our advice is professional, based on experience and an in-depth knowledge of our industry. We a fully equipped to adapt to these unusual times and are offering over the phone or video consultations to our clients whilst the social distancing measures are in place.
    Do not put your finances on the long finger. Call 053 91 46592 to protect your business and family’s finances from the effects of this global pandemic or email For further information on our company, visit our website: