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Personal Financial Services

    Income Tax Refunds

    You can only claim back tax for four years (2006 to 2009 at present). After December you loose any tax benefits in 2006. Act now! Don't let the taxman keep your money. For new clients, we will prepare your income tax return for 2010 FREE if you require Income Tax Returns to be completed for 2009 and earlier years. Returns cost as little as €150. That's really good value!

    Saving & Investment

    This is the starting point in wealth management. Apart from savings accounts with banks and other financial institutions, insurance companies provide investment funds for most types of savings and investment.

    Global markets have recovered large parts of what was lost in the Global Downturn two years ago. However, some such as the ISEQ remain subdued. All markets remain volatile. It is mainly the speculators who are profiting from this uncertainty and volatility. However, they too have made losses and some have lost everything.

    18 months ago many investors converted their funds to cash in order to reduce risk. Capital protection became the goal. The financial institutions reacting by cutting interest rates for depositors and investors. In Ireland the bank guarantee scheme saw an influx of funds to cash deposits. If you have funds on deposit check the rate of interest you are earning. In the last year interest rates plummeted as there appeared to be nowhere else to keep your money safe.

    Having realigned to the changing markets, funds such as "Absolute Return Strategies", "inflation linked bond funds", and commodities have become popular. Some confidence has been restored and rightly so. It is important to choose a strategy that best suits your level of risk and earns a positive annual return after management fees and charges.

    Not all funds are based on stocks and shares. Many are guaranteed growth funds. However, since the global downturn there is very little that has an iron clad guarantee. Most life and pension companies provide a wide range of investment opportunities that are actively managed on your behalf. They are categorized for varying degrees of financial risk to help with your choice of investment.

    Wealth Management

    This is the key to personal financial planning. Successful wealth accumulation requires a combination of effective savings, investment, protection, planning and loan strategies. Savings strategies exist in all our financial planning exercises. In addition to aiding the accumulation of wealth savings provide a financial buffer to withstand adverse changes in market conditions.

    Coventional wisdom suggestes that the middle classes should be capable of saving 30% of their annual income. This is not a precise measure, but it forms a useful benchmark. We recommend starting with 5% to 10% of net income if that can be taken from discretionary income. Regular savers generally attract better interest rates. Wealth accumulation is determined by how these resources are invested and that requires wealth management.

    Life assurance and pension products take up most available investment funds. In fact life assurance products tend to be used more for investment purposes that for insurance. The rage of funds available through life and pension products include bank deposits, bonds, stocks and sharest, commodities and property. However, the range is wide and varied and requires expert knowledge to help make informed decisions, monitor progress and react to changing circumstances and markets.

    Protection is an integral part of wealth management. It often involves using insurance products such as life assurance, home insurance, health insurance, serious illness cover to maintain financial independence. The financial concerns of a single individual will be different to those of the principle earner in a family situation. In the case of the latter life assurance will play a more important role that it will for a single individual with no dependents. However, serious illness and permanent health insurance might rank equally.

    Pension products provide some of the best opportunities for longterm accumulation of wealth in a tax efficient manner. Vast amounts of wealth is managed in pension funds. Pension funds are invested in all the regular and some special investment products. They attract adverse criticism when they perform badly, but we rarely hear when they do well. The failures are often closely linked with over dependence on risky stock market returns. As a result we link pension funds with the volatile financial markets. Pension funds can be invested in bank deposits, government bonds, or even a chosen investment property. The key to success is active management over time. This requires understanding the terminology. A "Managed Fund" will be managed to optimise its performance. However, it may not be activly managed to maximise your investment relative to the whole market. While there are tax benefits in building up your pension fund, they are not available until you retire. Therefore, pension funds work best in the case of excess wealth. A retirement trust arrangement can provide an exception.

    Wealth accumulation outside pension funds is deminished by the imposition of tax. Nevertheless personal wealth accumulation and management remains vitally important in personal financial planning. Personal direct tax can take away 50% of disposable income. Of course there are certain investments which attract tax relief avoiding the loss of tax. Loan finance can play an important role in personal wealth accumulation. When interest charges qualify for tax relief, loans can provide a tax efficient form of investment. Interest-only loans provide further areas for financial planning and wealth management.

    The objectives of wealth management are to reach financial indepence at the earliest possible time and to maintain financial stability and security.

    Investment Advice

    We can advise on the financial and taxation consequences of various financial instruments. We are experienced in the area of property development and management, including tax based property incentives.

    Life & Pension Appraisal

    Insurance products are often used as investment tools rather than for protection purposes. These investment products provide the means for managing investments for retirement provisions.

    There are many different types of pension on the market. There are matters for consideration in relation to a persons age and risk orientation regarding investments that help determine what is most suitable. Contrary to popular opinion not all pensions move in direct response to the stock market.

    Some pensions are made up entirely of cash deposits and interest bearing bonds, other are based on property or the stock market and may be under the influence of foreign rather than domestic markets. Many are comprised of a mix of all of these. Self directed funds are becoming more common. The pensioner in this case takes a more direct approach in choosing the composition and management of the invested funds.

    Finance & Loans

    From time to time you wil need to consider the different types of finance that will satisfy your specific financial needs. There are many different forms of loans and it can be a daunting task to select what is best for you. Depending on your needs you may consider housing loans, cash loans, credit sale agreements, lease and hire agreements, hire purchase agreements, overdrafts and credit cards.

    Apart from home loans the most common form of loan is a car loan. Many motor dealers act as credit intermediaries in arranging car finance, usually in the form of lease and hire purchase agreements. In recent years it has become less common for cash/bank loans to be usued to buy cars. Even if you deal directly with your bank you will be redirected to their car finance company.

    We provide comprehensive accountancy services to our clients including advice in the area of loan and credit finance that best suits their personal and business requirements.

    Housing Loans

    There are four main types that include loans to have a house constructed, loans to refinance an existing housing loan, equity release loans and loans to buy a house as an investment. Whie there are many types of housing loans they vary mainly by how the capital sum will be repaid and house interest is calulated on the capital sum borrowed.

    There are two main ways in which capital is repaid on loans. Capital and interest loans which are most common involve regular payments of both capital and interest to pay off the loan over a defined period of time (say 25 years). The second type is an interest only loan. In this case only interest is paid on a regular basis (keeping cashflow to a minimum). In certain cases interest is a deductable expense for tax purposes as is the case with most business loans and loans to first time buyers. This type of loan has a greater financial risk from the point of view of the bank and may only be advanced in special circumstances or under certain conditions. Repayment of the loan is normally satisfied by using an endowment policy, a lump sum entitlement under a pension plan or from the sale of an asset (which might be the property itself).

    Interest Rates

    The two main options for interest on loans are fixed and variable rates. Variable rates move mainly in line with the refinancing rate of the European Central Bank. However lenders are not always bound to pass on interest rate cuts, at least not immediately. As a result of the credit crunch rates have fallen rapidly. Tracker variable rates are directly linked to movements in the money markets guaranteeing that rates movesments will be passed on.

    In the early 90's we saw interest rates soar resulting in many loan defaults due to inability to meet the rising loan repayments out of the limited fixed income of the borrower.

    The other main option for applying interest is a fixed rate loan. In this case the rate of interest is fixed for a certain period of time, usually 3 to 5 years. This gives greater certainty to the borrower as to meeting monthly repayments. However, if interest rates fall and the borrower wants to switch to the new lower rate, there will be a penalty which might make switching prohibitive. Likewise if the loan is terminated or paid off before the end of its term there will be charges and penalties applied by the lender.

    Most lenders will offer incentives to new customers to get their business. They might pay the legal fees to switch a mortgage or they might give a lower interest rate initially (typically for the first year of the loan). In certain cases it may be possible to arrange for the loan to be set up on an interest only basis, swithing to capital and interest repayments after perhaps 2 to 3 years.

    Comparing Different Loan Costs

    The two main methods for comparing the cost of different loans use either the APR (average percentage rate) or the monthly repayment cost per €1,000 loan. It is the latter that most people are interested in when taking out a loan as it determines what portion of disposable income will be left. As homeloan interest rates are at an alltime low at present, it might not be the best time to gauge one's longterm ability to repay. When the financial turnaround finally happens it is likely that interest rates and loan repayments will rise.

    Tax Planning & Advice

    We have many years experience in dealing with all areas of tax and tax planning for private as well as corporate clients.

About Us

We provide a comprehensive range of tax and financial services as well as the established detailed accountancy services. Our financial planning services takes care of all your business and personal needs.

Contact Us

We are available during standard business hours to answer your queries via phone, email or by using our web contact form. Please visit this page to get in touch, we promise to respond within 48 hours.