Organize and simplify your financial portfolio
By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 9th July 2014
SIMPLICITY: freedom from complexity, intricacy, or division into parts: an organism of great simplicity.
In the course of my travels working alongside expat communities, one of the most frequent complaints raised by retirees is how complicated, tiresome and difficult it is to keep tabs on their financial affairs, primarily because they seem to have a host of different people advising them on a number of issues. So rather than enjoying their well-earned retirement, a lot of people seem to devote an excessive amount of time managing their financial affairs whilst trying to keep up to date with changes in the markets and changes in legislation etc.
This was confirmed by a recent survey of investors where 55 percent responded with the statement, “I am trying very hard to simplify my life”. This was up from 48 percent in the previous year. It seems that most people want simplicity in their lives but the truth is that many just don’t know how to go about it. We live in a world of i-phones, i-pads, e-statements and social media – we are constantly online and constantly contactable and so it is difficult to truly switch off.
One of my services is to help clients simplify their financial lives, eliminate clutter, organise accounts and streamline how they manage their money. This is where I can truly add value.
I help my clients to be as efficient as possible with their day-to-day money management by showing them how to make the best use of banking facilities in Italy (and save money in the process), showing them how to save money by paying bills online, using currency exchange services, looking at how to make the most of the tax credits in Italy, possibly moving UK pensions to other jurisdictions, wills, and managing investments more effectively.
By consolidating everything, you can reduce the levels of incoming mail and paperwork, avoid certain fees and also ensure that assets are properly diversified.
In the course of a recent discussion with a prospective client I asked how their portfolio was being managed. He asked me to wait until he retrieved this information and, finally, some 10 minutes later produced approximately eight files each detailing different investments with a variety of companies.
On enquiring as to how each was performing and what their latest values were, he could not tell me, saying we’d have to obtain new statements and that he was “sick and tired of receiving so much investment correspondence, be it in the form of his own portfolio or marketing advice material that he seldom bothered to read through and normally threw them in the bin. At my suggestion we agreed to make another appointment and sit down, ring the various product providers and obtain up-to-date statements. Once this information was received we sat down and reviewed those elements that were performing well, those that were not so good and discussed what could be done to improve his overall situation. I recommended that rather than employing a financial planner, like myself, to manage the day to day investment management decisions, that based on the amount of money that he had invested, he should employ the services of a Private Client asset manager. In this way they could deal with the day to day investment matters and we could concentrate on how to minimise his cross border tax issues, reduce paperwork, and find ways to improve his overall financial position. This freed up time for him to concentrate on his other interests.
One Final Point
In this man’s situation he was clearly eligible for more sophisticated financial management than he had previously been used to, but was not aware he could access these types of services. Our job is to ensure all elements of your financial affairs are well maintained and that you get the best, based on your situation. By consolidating and streamlining financial affairs you have a real opportunity to help yourself manage the difficulties of cross border tax and financial issues that face expats living in Italy.
If you are over awed by the complexities of the Italian tax system or are concerned that you are not making the best use of tax breaks in Italy, or if you merely want your financial life to be simpler then you can contact The Spectrum IFA Group