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September 5, 2017

The 15th of September Marks Pension Awareness Day, Let BSN Help You

The 15th of September marks pension awareness day. The UK is facing a challenge. More and more of the population are choosing to not save for their retirement, which can potentially be detrimental. Pensions are often looked over as a blasé task, especially with the opt out rather than the opt in system introduced in many businesses. The vast majority of people would much rather have a few hundred pounds left over at the end of every month, and is there any wonder why when living costs are constantly rising?

What Are The Changes?

As we’re sure you are aware, 2017 has been quite a year for changes in pension schemes, which have left people enraged and no longer saving. Of course, we recommend you don’t stop saving and risk falling into pension poverty, but what exactly are the changes?

1. Workers in their late 30’s and early 40’s will see their retirement age rise to 68.

This has angered many careers people across Britain and it is not surprising when you’re planning your life after work to then be told you’re going to have to delay it by a further 5 years. It automatically reduces job satisfaction and leaves many people questioning, ‘what’s the point?’

2. Each person affected may lose up to £9,800

Due to this rise in retirement age, more than 7 million of us will lose up to £9,800 in order to save the government £74 billion. Recent research showed that increases in life expectancy are slowing which suggests there’s no evidence for the change.

What Does This Mean for You?

Due to these changes, it will greatly affect you as well as the accessibility of your pension. However, this is just the surface, it will affect everyone differently as everyone’s plan is unique to them and essentially, pensions are a very complex and layered subject.

How Can We Help?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Which pension wrapper do you currently have and why?

2. What is the risk exposure to your holdings?

3. Do you have the correct retirement age set?

4. Is your pension managed, if so, by whom?

5. Do you know what your options are at retirement?

If you are unable to answer all of these questions, then it may be worth seeking the advice of one our expert pension advisors.

If you would like more information on pensions or any other services Bespoke Support Network can provide, get in touch today to see how we can help.

September 1, 2017

Networking Events In Essex: Benefits for Local Businesses

When someone sends you over an email or gives you a call inviting you to a business networking event, you may be quick to delete the email or hang up the call. But actually, networking can be of benefit to your business, helping you to make connections and build relationships between professionals and customers.

At Bespoke Support Network Essex, we host monthly networking events for local businesses in Essex to meet and start working with our team of professionals. We think it’s important that local businesses meet with experts within finance, the legal sector and marketing in order to benefit their brand. But if you’re still not convinced, here are some of the other benefits of networking as a small business:

  • Connections – At Bespoke Support Network, we have created networking events to bring together small businesses across Essex and London who are interested in improving their businesses through our professionals services. During the event, they will get to sit down and have a chat with our experts, gaining business advice and helpful tips for planning your finances. Even just by attending the event, our team can build meaningful relationships that will last.
  • Opportunities – When there are a group of business owners together, this presents the option for opportunities to arise. Whether it’s joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, speaking and writing opportunities – or even sales, networking gives local businesses lots of opportunities to sell themselves.
  • Awareness – As a local business, it can be hard to get your name out there but networking gives you the opportunity to hand out some of your business cards and make relationships. If you’re regularly attending events, you will build up a reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive business.

So whether you’re looking to join our network of experts or find the right professionals to aid your business, it’s time to take the jump and RSVP to our next networking event in Chelmsford on 28th September.

To RSVP your interest in our events, feel free to call our team on 0300 303 3441 or email info@bespokesupportnetwork.com for more information.

August 24, 2017

When to Seek Financial Advice with Bespoke Support Network Essex

A good financial advisor can help you through difficult financial times as well as making sure you make the more suitable financial choices for your future. However, it can be hard to determine whether a situation seems worthy enough to seek the help of financial planning.

With the world of finance constantly changing, there are new opportunities and rules that will help you save money like increases in ISA limits, meaning you can save more money tax-free. Other changes to inheritance tax mean you will be able to leave more money to your children and grandchildren for the future.

While this gives many new, exciting opportunities to save money, it also gives more chances for making mistakes which could be costly and irreversible for your finances. This is the perfect reason to get in touch with a financial advisor and start discussing financial planning.

So in what circumstances should you get financial advice?

  • Pensions – The pension market is extremely difficult to comprehend and so the chances of you making a mistake is huge. Your pension is a huge asset to your future finances and therefore needs to be planned very carefully in order to make sure you can retire while maintaining the lifestyle you are used to. So whether you’re just starting out in your working life, or you’re getting close to retirement age and have accumulated a number of company pensions along the way, a financial advisor can help you manage your assets to make sure they meet your objectives when the time comes.
  • Investments – Say you have received a lump sum of inheritance, or are planning on generating some income prior to your retirement, you will need a good financial advisor to question you about your goals and ambitions. They will be able to provide you with the relevant solutions to achieving these goals. They should also inform you of the risks associated to making the investment and work with you to create an investment package should you need it.
  • Life Insurance – Most life insurance products are relatively easy to understand, however there are some that are complicated. If your particular circumstances and finances are not as straightforward as you would hope, you should get advice from an advisor. They will ask you about your goals and find out what your financial situation is like. Once the advisor knows about your situation, they will be able to guide you to the right solution.
  • Tax Planning – For high earners, tax planning is invaluable in minimizing the impact of Inheritance Tax, dealing with tax on a second property or helping self-employed to manage their taxes.

Are you in need of a financial advisor? The team at Bespoke Support Network have a database of thousands of trusted financial advisors throughout the South East. With experts providing business advice Essex to qualified will writers, we have professionals for every aspect of individual and business finance and legal practice.

August 21, 2017

The Importance of Life Insurance

Facts and figures:

Are you aware that right now, Britain is facing a deficit of 5 trillion pounds? The reason? People are taking endless amounts of loans out and not repaying their debt. Instead of allowing your family to be left in such a situation, it is important to cover yourself and your loved ones for when you do pass.

One of the main concerns you will need to sort out is making sure your life insurance is put into a trust. Without doing so, you could end up paying the tax man 40% of your savings. You shouldn’t pay the premium of losing 40% of your hard saved money, without even touching it!

With one in four people not having any type of life insurance, it means 8.5 million people in the UK are risking their families having to payout £31,000 should a family member die.

It’s importance:

Keeping your family financially stable is another important reason for life insurance. For example, covering education costs could allow a family member to achieve their dream of working in a particular job, or even add security to paying off those university debts.

Of course, life insurance also covers any additional costs you may need. Along with the added stress and emotions your family already have, the cost of funerals can amount to thousands of pounds. Do the right thing to avoid having this shadowed over your families heads, and look into getting life insurance.

Funding a home is one of the hardest things to do. The last thing you want is your loved ones having to sell their home because they can no longer afford to live there. Talk to one of our team members today to ensure this never happens to your family.

With life insurance, you choose the amount of cover you will need, how long you need it for and how you pay it, making it completely personal to you! In return your family will have the reassurance they need, knowing that if you sadly pass while covered by the policy, they would receive a cash sum pay out if a valid claim were made.

Speak to the experts: 

Start putting towards the protection of your family today, by taking out a life insurance policy. Unsure of where to start and what all this means? We are here to help. Contact Bespoke Support Network today and we can advise you on the best possible solutions for you and your loved ones.

Here at BSN we have partnerships with hundreds of experts in the finance industry, including qualified and trusted insurance brokers and advisors.

Get in touch with the team on 0300 303 3441

August 18, 2017

How Can a Virtual PA Benefit You and Your Business?

Almost every industry will have a busy and slow season whether it’s the Christmas period or the six-week holidays. It’s during the slow season you’re going to struggle to stay afloat. However, if done right, it is the ideal time to plan ahead. Planning ahead makes it easier to make it through the slow season and helps you plan unforeseen circumstances. Forecasting is tricky business and knowing where to start is even harder, fortunately, this stress can be relieved with the help of a virtual PA. Here’s how:

What is a Virtual Personal Assistant?

A virtual PA pretty much does what it says on the tin. Essentially, you pay a monthly fee and get matched with an assistant that meets your needs. They can handle as much or as little as you want. Virtual PA’s can undertake everything from E-mails and travel booking to research and other tasks. The whole idea of a virtual personal assistant is that they’re not based with you, they’re typically based at home and can work all over the country.

How Can They Help You?

Online Research
Virtual PA’s can help you undergo research which they can then report back to you. This research can be on potential competitors, exploring the market for new products and even checking up on potential employees. This can shave hours off of your working week.

Summarising Statistics
Another handy role a virtual PA can help contribute to is the collection and analysis of raw data. If you wish, they can then convert this raw data and transform it into a clear PowerPoint which you can then use to present to bosses or even fellow colleagues.

Bookkeeping
This is possibly one of the most convenient jobs to assign to your virtual PA. They can keep track of all business expenses. Deal with any outstanding invoices and unpaid bills. Of course, this will require the sharing of important information, so ensure that you are able to trust your virtual PA before-hand.

So, there you have it! There are three benefits that a virtual personal assistant can add to your business. Not only that, but it gives you more time to focus on the important things that matter most like forecasting and planning during lulls in business. The Bespoke Support Network can offer you a virtual PA service. If you would like more information about the services the Bespoke Support Network offers, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

August 11, 2017

Business Networking Events: What are the benefits of attending?

For some, the words ‘networking event’ can provoke feelings of dread! Whether you hate meaningless small talk or you have attended one too many boring events, business owners can sometimes begin to wonder whether there is any point in attending them.

For most business, networking is actually the key to success and can lead to a number of exciting opportunities.

At Bespoke Support Network, we’re all about making connections and building relationships between our professionals and customers. That’s why we regularly set up events for them to meet and start working together, whether you are looking to become part of our network of experts or find the professional that’s right for you.

Here are some of the benefits of attending networking events

  • Building meaningful relationships – At Bespoke Support Network, we have created network events to bring together small businesses across Essex and London and professionals within finance, law, marketing and admin from our network. We had a full house attending our small event, all of the attendees who were interested in improving their businesses through our professionals services. Even by just attending the event, we were able to help the businesses and our team build meaningful relationships that will last.
  • Staying up-to-date with current trends – Surrounded by our experts, small businesses benefited from finding out about any legal or financial procedures that may be affecting them in years to come. Not only could they prepare for these changes but our professionals could offer advice to help them stay ahead of the curve.
  • Connect with target audiences – If you’re a business looking to find out about your target audience, what better way than attending an event with marketing experts? Granted you cannot guarantee this service at every networking event, but with Bespoke Support Network we offer the support of marketing agencies to help small businesses raise their awareness.
  • Get fresh ideas and solutions for your business – As a business, you may be struggling for brand new ideas. If you are stuck for brilliant ideas, why not come to a place where there are numerous businesses to bounce off of? Not only can you obtain these brand new ideas but you will gain feedback on your existing ideas with businesses who may have already tackled these challenges.

The Bespoke Support Network are hosting a unique networking event in Barista, Chelmsford, offering professional advice to small business in Essex. With everything from solicitors and financial advisors on hand to help, you can find the right professionals to assist your business.

To register your interest in our next event on 27th September, call our team on 0300 303 3441 or email info@bespokesupportnetwork.com

July 28, 2017

How Do General Elections Impact Your Business? Bespoke Support Network Talks.

It’s been just over a month since the UK’s 2017 General Election and while those unaffected may have blissfully carried on with their day to day lives, small businesses could still be feeling the effects.

On 8th June, thousands of British people were shocked to find the result of our election, which happened to be a hung parliament. For days, Britain’s political future was left hanging in the balance, with increased uncertainty over who would join Theresa May in leading our country. As the Government rushed around trying to find people to assist the Prime Minister, small businesses were more concerned about the impact this could have over their profits and customers.

Following on from this snap election, Bespoke Support Network’s team of experts have been monitoring the effects of the shock results and exactly how this has changed your business.

Customer Confidence

You may have noticed before the time of this election, your sales may have dropped as a result. That’s because customer confidence often takes a battering during this time. As a small business owners, your customers are more likely to delay buy decisions until after the election so you should have seen a rise in profits again.

Taxation  

For most businesses, taxation is a key concern. During the election you would have noticed a split between low-tax, low-spend and a high-tax, high-spend economy, but since there has been an increase in tax bills to businesses. This could leave your business in the dark for future financial projections.

Workers’ Rights

The current Government are trying to focus on changing the rights of workers’ in the gig economy. As a SME, you may see changes to your work force as a result of these changes.

Impact on Big Ticket items

During the election, an uplift of between 10pc and 20pc occurs on the prices of expensive goods such as cars. This is exactly the time SMEs will start to reduce their costs, meaning costs can amount to the thousands. As a small business you may notice your expensive items such as cars, houses, kitchen, house extensions and expensive holidays have had to go up in price.

Getting your business back to how it was prior to the election has never been easy with Bespoke Support Network’s team of experts.

We have contact with specialists in finance, wills and estate planning as well as accountants and insurance brokers.

To get in touch with any of our experts, call the team at Bespoke Support Network on 0300 303 3441 who can put you in touch with them.

July 25, 2017

Why You Should Let BSN Support You When Buying Your First Home

According to the Office of National Statistics, UK house prices have risen by 5% in 2017 despite recent political turmoil.

The average house price is now £220,713 which makes the possibility of owning your own home feel increasingly out of reach for young people aged 18-24. As well as this the number of households at risk of poverty has risen from 19% in 2008 to 25% in 2015.

Why You Should Seek Independent Advice

Buying a mortgage will arguably be the biggest financial investment you make in your lifetime, so you want to make sure you’re dotting every I and crossing every T.

Many of us use comparison sites in order to find ‘headline’ rates, however rates are always changing and so are the requirements needed. So, you may often find that you’re in a continual cycle of regression and often finding yourself back at square one. Sound familiar? If so, maybe you should seek the help of one of our Bespoke financial advisors.

Why Use BSN Mortgage Advisors

There is often a common misconception with independent advisors that they incur hidden fees and extra charges. However, this simply just isn’t the case. Your advisor will always lay out your options transparently so you’re fully aware of the costs incurred from the get go.

Another benefit to sourcing an independent mortgage advisor is that they have access to the entire market place ensuring you have the best possible options to choose from. This will save you time and money.

They can also assess the amount of mortgage payments you will be able to afford based on your current financial situation which means you will end up with a plan that suits your needs and not leave you out of pocket.

What Happens if You Don’t Seek Advice?

It’s vital that you seek mortgage advice, not only to create a solution that is suited to you, but to protect yourself if things don’t quite go according to plan. In the rare occasion that your plan turns out to be unsuitable in the future, when it comes to making a complaint, you’ll have more rights.  Whereas sourcing all knowledge yourself means you have to take sole responsibility for your decision.

If you would like more information on mortgage advice or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Bespoke Support Network today. You can get in touch by calling 0300 303 3441.

 

July 21, 2017

Is Your Business Ready to Expand? Find Out The Risks From Expert Financial Advisors

Perhaps you have been running a business for a few years now, your client base is expanding and your team is growing from strength to strength; is it time to expand?

All signs point to yes, but your master plan could all go down the drain should you not consult a financial advisor prior to expanding.

In particular, startups go into business with growth in mind but expanding too quickly can cause serious devastation to your business. Everything from adding to your existing employees and buying a new office space to increasing your production, services or product lines without consideration can be disastrous. Bespoke Support Network’s financial advisors have created a list of indicators before you expand.

You have the right team in place.

It’s important to consider before you move whether you have enough employees to support expanding your business. In addition to having a strong leader, you will want to have a properly qualified workers who are invested in the company’s success. Without competent leaders and the right employees, your expansion will struggle.

You have a high demand of customers. You know you’re ready to expand when your business starts to gain momentum. That means you’re no longer approaching clients yourself to sell your product and service. Instead, the customers are coming to you! If you notice your company is in the same position, it’s time to start growing.

You have a realistic view of what your company can handle.

You may think you understand exactly when the time is right and what your business can cope with, but you need to recognise when to say no. You need to look at the economic benefits and consider your existing infrastructure and resources.

You have the money. Unfortunately a number of startups fail to properly gauge how their sales cycles dictate their ability to expand, which can cause a serious deficit in cash flow. Experts say that it typically takes at least four months to see a return on capital investments made to expand a business. That means a positive cash flow can give you the confidence to grow as a business.

If you’re interested in talking to any of our financial advisors, contact the team at Bespoke Support Network who can put you in touch with one of our advisors. Get in touch on 0300 303 3441.

July 14, 2017

Final Salary Schemes: Know Your Options

Recently there has been a surge of shocking global events such as Brexit and the American general election, to name but a few. It has undoubtedly left a lot of us feeling uncertain, especially when it comes to our finances. How are you to know the best option for you? If you’re opted into a final salary scheme, you need to know your options. That’s where Bespoke Support Network comes in.

So, What is a Final Salary Scheme?

 Essentially, a final salary scheme is a defined benefit pension programme which is often offered by employers. The eventual outcome of the plan is dependent on four variables:

  • The Amount of Time of Which You Have Invested into the Scheme: For example, if you have worked with your current employer for 30 years, your end benefit will be a lot greater compared to a fellow colleague who has only worked at the business for 5 years.
  • Your Salary: Similarly to the first variable, your final pay packet will depend on your salary, the higher the salary, the higher the pension and vice versa.
  • Your Companies Accrual Rate: This is the rate at which the benefits build up for the individual. You will receive a set amount for each year of pensionable service. As they are typically expressed as a fraction, 1/60th or 1/80th are often common.
  • The circumstances under which the benefits are taken: The amount you receive will be based on the situation. For example, retirement, ill health etc.
Should I Transfer my Final Salary Scheme?

It is believed that on average, an individual works for six employers in their lifetime. That’s potentially six pensions. It’s often advised you leave your pension where it is as it is a guaranteed income. Not only that but they also increase to keep up with inflation.

However, your scheme provider might offer you a financial incentive to transfer out. There are two types:

  • Cash-Equivalent to the Transfer Value
    which you then transfer to another scheme.
  • Cash Payment to the Transfer Equivalent
    Be mindful, this option may mean you still pay tax and national insurance.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Final Salary Schemes:

There could be an endless list of advantages and disadvantages. However, it will depend greatly on you and your current financial position. If you’re considering making changes to your plan it’s strongly recommended you seek advice from an independent financial advisor. If you would like more information on final salary schemes or any other services Bespoke Support Network offers, please do not hesitate to get in touch.