Approaching retirement, my pension lump sum wont clear my debts!

On November 17, 2010, in News, by Lewis Alexander
  • When you bought the Beatles hit ‘When I’m sixty-four’ on short play vinyl with one of your first pay packets, it all seemed so far away.  Now a mere forty-something years later, you’ve reached the age of the song’s infamous title!
  • But wait, you’re not ready for it yet!

free credit report UK from ExperianThe unexpected ‘surprise’ third child that you tagged on the end has only just finished university and you are still about ten years away from finishing paying for their studies, the new conservatory and that place by the sea that your wife insisted upon. (Note to self, why oh why didn’t we keep the wife’s flat when we moved in together in the swinging sixties?)

The pressures of ensuring that the children completed their studies, whilst keeping a stable home meant that real planning for retirement seemed pointless as it felt just so far away – except it wasn’t. So the daily expenses were still being piled onto the credit cards, whilst new mortgage deals had still been taken out in your early sixties.

  • The bit that said you would be repaying until you were 75 was lost in the reams of small print that so many of these agreements commonly contain.
  • So surely it wasn’t just the unexpected extra child that led you into this mess?

Well, despite being one of those baby boomers born just after the end of World War Two, whilst many have been very lucky, there are some that seem to have fallen foul of every possible financial mishap.

  • For all too many a family the story reads like this:

Taking an endowment out in the 80’s, just prior to the Wall Street crash, was not the best of starts. A failure to capitalise on Maggie’s privatisations followed, prior to the blackest of black Wednesdays meant that you then lost a job in the early 1990’s, right in the middle of the era of ageism. That is before Brussels interfered!

The remnants of the ‘Power 80’s’ meant you were finished at 40-something, with none of that modern thinking that the middle and end-career applicants have oodles of experience to offer.  Sadly, there was more to come. Being loyal to the bank had meant that you enjoyed a good relationship with a bank manager (who still wore a mac in the pouring rain), but also meant that you missed out on the Abbey National, Alliance and Leicester, Halifax & more demutualisations that handed out £thousands in a short space of time. Then finally, when interest rates started to come down at the end of the 1990’s and the turn of the century, you took a 5-year fix as 6.5% seemed like a great rate (you recalled only just hanging onto your house when rates topped double figures in the 1980s). So you missed out on several good years when you could have been paying a sizeable chunk down on your mortgage.

  • Sob story over, put quite simply, what are you going to do now?
  • The first step in any financial planning is to understand the here and now.

Start by calculating how much you really owe and who you owe it to. Continue by detailing the everyday regular expenses that you incur and your anticipated earnings for retirement. By contacting your pension provider to understand your exact pension income and lump sum options, you will now know exactly what retirement means for you and so it is now possible to look at the options available.

Many people approaching retirement opt to work beyond the standard retirement age. Although the ability to do this varies by industry and employer, start by having a chat with your boss to see if this is something that might be possible – if you want to stay on that is!

If you are worried, unsure or simply don’t know what to do next, then contact Lewis Alexander on 0800 018 6868. Lewis Alexander are personal debt management consultants who can help you understand what options may be available to you.

By calling FREE for a confidential financial healthcheck, we can talk you through the debt solutions available and find one that is best for you at the moment. As we are independent, we look at all cases individually and without bias, prior to agreeing with you the best next steps to take.

We offer a range of financial solutions, from debt management help to insolvency advice. Call one of our debt management consultants now on free phone 0800 018 6868 and start to work out a way to clear your personal debts.

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Single Father of Two with Bills, Bills and more bills!

On November 16, 2010, in News, by Lewis Alexander
  • The number of single parents in the UK is increasing all the time.
  • Divorce rates are on the up, marriage in the first instance is becoming less popular and children who move between two homes is becoming part and parcel of modern day society.

free credit report UK from ExperianAs part of this change in social trend, is the increasing existence of the single father who takes on the full-time responsibility of raising the children.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2009 there were 200,000 lone fathers in Britain, compared with 1.8 million single mothers, but it is single fathers in the UK who now have the higher rate of increase of the sexes.

No matter whether the single parent is male or female, it is clear that the reliance on one salary can take a significant strain on any one individual.  Balancing the needs of full or part-time employment alongside paying the mortgage, insurances, utilities, communications and childcare costs can be a real budget killer, and that’s before any consideration has been made for having that well-earned break from the kids for a bit of personal relaxation and indulgence – even if that’s fitted in whilst the kids are at swimming lessons!

With the role of budget-keeper traditionally falling to the parent who stayed at home to raise the family, it is perhaps the single father that is least well equipped to balance all the various asks of his skills and experiences.  Sure, bringing home the money for food may be a role he is familiar and comfortable with, but what about household budgeting and making sure that all the supplies are there for when the children are sick or invite their entire classmates around for a sleepover!

  • Modern day life can be expensive and when you take on all of these responsibilities, it is easy to forget that you do still need to make your books balance.

With the recent proposed changes to the Welfare State, it may also mean that your income is about to take a dip.  Traditionally, whilst the man of the house might be involved in the key financial decisions, it was the female influence that developed ‘pots of savings’ – small amounts invested with different financial institutions, saving for holidays, school uniforms, a new handbag and the Christmas bills.  In neglecting to pay attention to these key subsidiary savings, it can mean that there is less of a cushion available for times of struggle, such as a pay-freeze at work, rising heating bills or worse still redundancy.

  • Do you identify with these trends and these issues?
  • Is this something that keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep?

Then a conversation with one of Lewis Alexander’s debt management specialists could be the springboard for you to a more balanced home life and an improved ability to ensure you obtain a strong financial footing that allows you to provide the best for your children.

  • Call Lewis Alexander FREE and in confidence today using 0800 018 6868.

They will offer you a financial healthcheck with a trained debt specialist.  Lewis Alexander can review your incomings and outgoings to help you understand where you might need some expert help.

Whether it’s a debt management plan to help repay some of the unsecured debts that have mounted up or to help with the everyday expenses, or simply some help to better understand when your financial pressure points occur each month.

Our professional debt management advisors are ready to take your call now, so contact Lewis Alexander on 0800 018 6868.

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Struggling with Redundancy?

On November 16, 2010, in News, by Lewis Alexander

You set off with considerable enthusiasm for a new start, a reasonable lump sum, a chat with your partner promising that it will ‘all be ok’ and within weeks you are starting to wish that the redundancy letter you thought would bring a new direction to your life had actually landed on someone else’s desk. 

  • You are not alone!

This is a surprisingly common scenario facing thousands of working and middle class families across the country who found that they were subject to downsizing by their employer to cope with the global downturn in economic fortune.

This of course has meant a significant reduction in household income for these families.  Whilst this reduction in income is survivable for most families for one or two months, the moment that it pushes five and six months it really starts to pose a problem.

For months three and four, the life savings start to disappear, before the kid’s university funds and finally the Christmas budget goes and before you know it, you are starting to miss payments on the credit card bills and the car finance etc.

With the job market the way it is, it can be hard to get any job at the moment, let alone a job that pays the same as the one you used to hold.  So, as the month’s creep past and the savings have been eroded, it is understandable that keeping up with the rent or the mortgage becomes more important than keeping up with the Jones’.

  • There are options open to people in this position and quite often things are considerably more flexible than you might think.

First up should always come a full frank review of your household budget.  Detailing the complete list of current incomings and outgoings can often be a combination of emotions.  For many it reveals that the monthly list of regular payments far exceeds the expected amount.  For others it shows that the scale of the ‘nice to have’ expenses – those that really aren’t essential to everyday living.  It may also be a cause for upset as you realise the scale of the problem that you are faced with.

However, once you have completed step one, you are ready to move forward and look to the future for you and your family.  Having understood the scale of the problem, it is much easier to then look for appropriate solutions to combat these issues.

Prior to looking at a debt plan or any sort of further loan, it is sensible to discuss your newly found knowledge with existing lenders.  Having discovered the extent of your financial situation, it may be that existing lenders can restructure your payments.  Extending the term to repay the funds, reducing the monthly payments temporarily, or converting the loan to ‘interest only’ are all options that could be explored.

  • If you have already missed some key points in time, then this may not be possible and one free call to Lewis Alexander on 0800 018 6868 will help you to understand the best options for you.
  • We start by conducting a free financial health check, which ensures that we understand your financial situation, so that we can offer the solution that suits you best.

As industry experts in debt management solutions and services, we are ideally placed to understand your unique situation and then rather than sell you a plan that may not be suitable, we work to deliver a plan that best helps you move forward in your work and personal life.

We find that our clients respect us more for being honest with them and genuinely helping them with their individual circumstances, rather than pressure selling a specific solution.

We don’t charge any up-front fees for our financial health check (our continued services are chargeable should you proceed) and make sure that you understand all the implications of the debt plan you may approve following the completion of your financial healthcheck.

  • If you want to talk to one of our advisors in absolute confidence, call us FREE on 0800 018 6868.

For those who have used our services, Lewis Alexander is a name that people have learnt to trust to help them start to, or clear, personal debt problems.

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