Guide: How to manage the harmful effects of inflation on your wealth

by Phil Clerkin on June 12, 2023

For the last year, inflation has been high. If you’re worried about the effects of the rising cost of living, this guide could help you.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show, in the 12 months to April 2023, the rate of inflation was 8.7%. This is far above the Bank of England’s target of 2%, and for much of the last year, the rate has been in double digits. 

The guide explains why needing to spend more to maintain your lifestyle could affect your long-term plans and how inflation could reduce the value of your assets in real terms.

You can also discover some of the steps you could take to “beat” inflation, including:

  1. Making the most of suitable allowances
  2. Shopping around for the best interest rate
  3. Considering if investing is right for you
  4. Reviewing your budget
  5. Focusing on your long-term plan.

Download your copy of How to manage the harmful effects of inflation on your wealth’ now to learn more about the effects of inflation and what steps you can take to “beat” it.

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Phil ClerkinGuide: How to manage the harmful effects of inflation on your wealth

Investment market update: May 2023

by Phil Clerkin on June 9, 2023

Economies and businesses still face challenges, but statistics indicate some of the pressure, including rising inflation, is starting to ease. Read on to find out what affected investment markets in May 2023.

Remember, you should have a long-term outlook when investing. You should have an investment portfolio that reflects your goals and you feel confident in. Please contact us if you have any questions about your investments and what the current circumstances mean for you.  


Official figures show the UK narrowly avoided a recession after the economy grew slightly in the last two quarters to March 2023.

While the government said the figures were positive, the UK is still bottom in the G7 for growth since the pandemic. In fact, the UK economy was still 0.5% smaller in the first quarter of 2023 than it was in the final quarter of 2019. 

However, both the Bank of England (BoE) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have upgraded the UK’s growth forecasts, which could be positive news for investors. 

The BoE no longer expects a contraction, but rather for the economy to be stagnant this year.

The IMF also revised its previous prediction. The organisation’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva said authorities have taken “decisive and responsible” steps. The IMF now predicts the UK economy will grow by 0.3% this year, rather than contracting by 0.4% as previously forecast.  

Inflation is still stubbornly high but in the 12 months to April 2023, it fell from 10.1% to 8.7%. Yet, the BoE has said inflation will fall slower than previously anticipated. The central bank doesn’t expect to hit its 2% inflation target until early 2025, reports suggest. 

In response to high inflation, the BoE increased its base interest rate to 4.5% – the highest it’s been since October 2008. 

Amid high inflation, energy firms are being accused of profiteering. BP reported bumper profits of $5 billion (£4.05 billion) and outstripped forecasts in the first three months of the year. Shell also posted first-quarter profits of $9.6 billion (£7.7 billion). The profits have led to fresh calls for a tougher windfall tax on energy giants. 

According to S&P Global’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), business outlook is improving but some areas are still in contraction. The UK’s service sector posted its strongest growth in a year. However, the manufacturing industry is still in decline, although the pace of contraction is falling. 

Reforms to the London Stock Exchange could mean greater risks for investors in British companies, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned.

The regulator has plans to abolish stricter “premium” class London stock market listings. This would make it easier for company founders to retain control of their business in a bid to stop the decline of the London stock market, which has struggled to attract new companies over the last decade.

However, the FCA acknowledged that helping the UK economy would lead to higher risks for investors due to fewer checks on listed companies. 


Inflation increased in the eurozone in April to 7%, figures from Eurostat revealed. The rise paved the way for the European Central Bank to make its seventh consecutive interest rate hike – it increased the base rate by 25 basis points. 

Despite the rising cost of living, the European Commission (EC) said the eurozone economy “continues to show resilience in a challenging global context”, as fears of a recession start to ease. 

The EC now expects member countries to grow, on average, by 1% in 2023, and by 1.7% in 2024.

Similar to the UK, PMI data indicates factories are struggling. Across the eurozone, factory output declined for the 10th consecutive month. However, the readings also suggest that the rising cost of raw materials, driven up by inflation, is starting to ease which could be good news for businesses. 

Germany, the bloc’s largest economy, in particular, is facing challenges. Industrial orders fell by 10.7% month-on-month in March. The figures were significantly more than the 2.2% fall expected and the biggest slump since April 2020 when the pandemic led to businesses halting operations. 


Headline figures paint an optimistic picture of the US.

Inflation fell slightly in April to 4.9% and the US unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, suggesting businesses are feeling confident enough to make new hires. 

However, a survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses suggests small businesses are worried about the economic outlook and worker shortages. 

There are also growing concerns about banks failing in the US. The crisis started with Silicon Valley Bank collapsing in March. At the start of May, trading in the shares of two regional banks was temporarily suspended after dramatic drops. 

Central banks maintain the current situation is not similar to the 2008 financial crisis, and, with the exception of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, the crisis hasn’t affected European banks. 

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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Phil ClerkinInvestment market update: May 2023

Research: Money can buy happiness but what you spend it on matters

by Phil Clerkin on June 9, 2023

Everyone has heard the saying “money can’t buy happiness”, but research suggests it’s not accurate. 

According to a study from The Greater Good Science Center in the US, spending money can boost your wellbeing. However, simply heading to the shop and splurging on the latest technology or new clothes doesn’t yield the same results. Instead, you need to intentionally spend money on experiences and things that support your goals.  

The research found people are happier when they spend money on experiences, like travelling or going out for a meal, rather than possessions.

More than 450 participants took part in the study. They were asked to describe something they had spent money on in the last three months between $60 and $1,200, excluding everyday bills. Participants were then asked to explain how the purchase helped fulfil different goals and how they felt it contributed to happiness and life satisfaction. 

The results show there was a clear difference in how spending affected wellbeing if it was driven by intrinsic goals.

Intrinsic goals are about improving yourself and they come from your passions and values. They could include improving your health, learning new skills for personal growth, or building meaningful relationships. As a result, people usually have strong internal motivation to pursue intrinsic goals, and the rewards when you reach them can be much stronger. 

In contrast, extrinsic goals are motivated by external influence, for example, to improve your social status. So, if someone splashed out on the latest car to keep up with the Joneses, it would be an extrinsic goal. 

The research found that money can buy happiness if it’s used to pursue intrinsic goals. 

So, next time you’re spending, you may want to consider how it will contribute to your overall wellbeing. 

3 ways to spend intentionally and improve your wellbeing

When you think about getting the most out of your money, a bargain deal or finding the best interest rate may come to mind. Yet, the research suggests looking at it from a different perspective – how could the money be used to improve my happiness? – may be valuable. 

Here are three ways to spend intentionally. 

1. Set goals that are personal to you

The research suggests goals are a crucial part of getting the most out of your money in terms of wellbeing. So, take some time to really think about what you want to achieve in your life. Focus on what you value most now and what you’d like to improve. 

For instance, you may want to complete a qualification to improve your job prospects, spend more quality time with grandchildren, or visit some bucket list destinations. 

Consider questions like: 

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What projects are important to you?
  • What goals do you need to reach to secure the lifestyle you want?
  • Who do you enjoy spending time with?

Defined intrinsic goals can give your decisions and spending a clear direction. 

2. Pause before you make a purchase 

Next time you’re buying something that isn’t essential, ask yourself: why do I want to buy this? Will the purchase support your goals, or will it make you happier in the long run?

Delaying purchases, especially for big-ticket items, can curb impulsive spending based on extrinsic goals. It means you have time to reassess whether the spending is a good decision for you. In some cases, a small delay will mean you realise there are better uses for your money. And when you do decide that it’s a positive purchase, you can feel more confident that it’ll support wider aspirations. 

3. Be aware of extrinsic influences 

Everyone is affected by extrinsic goals at times. Perhaps you want to update your phone or TV after friends have done the same thing. Or you may be eager to see a new show at the theatre after a colleague said it was a must-see, even if it’s not something you’d usually be interested in.

Being influenced by outside factors is normal, and it’s not always a bad thing – maybe you’ll really enjoy that show your colleague recommended.

However, being aware of when you’re spending to meet extrinsic goals can help you get the most out of your money. It can be an opportunity to step back and consider what’s driving your decisions.  

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Phil ClerkinResearch: Money can buy happiness but what you spend it on matters

This 1 surprising habit could cause burn out but there is a solution

by Phil Clerkin on June 9, 2023

Do you feel like you’re burnt out, or don’t have enough time? If you do, you’re not alone. Research suggests a modern habit of changing activities more frequently could be partly to blame. Read on to find out more. 

In 2019, the World Health Organisation recognised burn out as an “occupational phenomenon”. According to Mental Health UK, common signs of burn out include:

  • Feeling tired or drained most of the time
  • Feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated
  • Feeling detached or alone in the world
  • Having a cynical or negative outlook
  • Self-doubt
  • Procrastinating and taking longer to get things done
  • Feeling overwhelmed.

So, what’s causing the growing trend of burn out? A study by Onward suggests it may not be the factors that first come to mind. 

While the report found that many people said they feel too busy or tired to participate in important leisure or social activities, it suggests three commonly cited reasons are “myths”:

Myth 1: We’re getting less sleep

Lack of sleep is a common complaint. Yet, the research found that people are sleeping by around 30 minutes more a day when compared to four decades ago. 

Myth 2: We are working more

While work does take up a significant portion of time for many people, overall people aren’t working longer hours. Since 1974, men’s working hours have decreased by 2%. Women’s working hours increased by 13% over the same period, reflecting the fact that more women are now working full-time.

Myth 3: We are more rushed

It’s a common saying that modern life is fast-paced. However, the share of people reporting they are often rushed has fallen in the last two decades from 20% to 17%. 

If tackling burn out isn’t as straightforward as getting more sleep or reducing working hours, what is the solution? The study suggests a modern lifestyle habit is playing a role. 

The report links rapid shifting between activities to burn out

The report suggests that people are now more likely to rapidly shift between activities. It argues the breakdown in the distinction between different types of time and activities is leading to a rise in burn out as it can make people feel overwhelmed. 

In 1974, the average man changed activity 18 times a day, yet by 2014 this had almost doubled to 31. For women, activities increased from 23 to 37. 

The report adds that multitasking through fragmentation, where you break up activities to do something else, “creates a stronger sense of time pressure and reduces the quality of activities”. 

Fragmentation could mean you’re less productive at work as you are jumping from one task to another without completing them.

It’s a habit that can spill over into your personal life, too. On weekends in 1974, the average person would spend just over five hours on leisure activities, broken down into four episodes, a day. In 2014, not only do people spend an hour less on leisure time, but it’s also broken down into seven episodes.

Breaking down leisure activities could mean you don’t have an opportunity to fully relax and enjoy what you’re doing. 

3 useful tips that could reduce burn out

With the findings of the study in mind, thinking about how you use your time and focus on different activities could be useful. Here are three simple tips that could improve your mental wellbeing. 

  1. Reduce how much you’re multi-tasking: While multi-tasking can be useful sometimes, it can also mean you don’t give activities the attention they deserve, and it’s not always more efficient. If you find yourself doing more than one thing at a time, ask yourself if it’s the best approach. 
  2. Schedule time to relax: If you find that you’re always busy and don’t have time for yourself, make it part of your schedule. Even just 30 minutes in the evening doing something you enjoy could be beneficial. As well as reducing burn out, it could boost creativity, concentration, and motivation. 
  3. Put the technology away: Reaching for your phone when you’re watching TV or catching up with friends is common – 17% of people said they use technology while doing leisure activities. It’s easy to do without really thinking about it. So, when you want to focus on a task, put the technology away to minimise distractions. 
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Phil ClerkinThis 1 surprising habit could cause burn out but there is a solution

5 compelling non-financial reasons to work with a financial planner now

by Phil Clerkin on June 9, 2023

When you first seek financial advice, your goal may be to grow your wealth or make the most of tax-efficient allowances. A financial planner can provide support in these areas, but the benefits could have a much larger effect on your life and wellbeing. 

A survey conducted by Hymans Robertson asked people with more than £300,000 of investable assets about the benefits of professional financial advice. And some of the results may surprise you. 

While the report found many people seek financial advice to grow their wealth – 50% said they wanted expertise about the most appropriate investment vehicle – there are plenty of other benefits too.

Here are just five of the ways working with a financial planner could boost your wellbeing. 

1. Improve your peace of mind

You shouldn’t underestimate the value of feeling confident about your finances and future – it can have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing.

In the survey, 54% of people said one of the reasons they use a financial planner is the peace of mind it delivers. Furthermore, 44% said they liked having regular reviews to ensure they were on track. 

Not worrying about whether you’re saving enough for retirement or if you have enough in your emergency fund can be a weight off your shoulders. This could allow you to better focus on enjoying life.

2. Reduce the time you spend managing finances 

While you might feel confident managing your finances, do you want to spend your time researching different investment opportunities or keeping up to date with changing government legislation? 17% of survey respondents simply said they don’t have enough time to manage their finances. 

Your time is precious, and working with a financial planner could mean you can spend time on the things that are most important to you.

A financial planner can add value to your life by giving you more time. 

3. Access the information you need to make decisions 

One of the challenges of managing your finances is knowing where to access the information you need to make decisions that are right for you. In fact, 28% of people said a lack of information was a disadvantage to a DIY approach. 

A financial planner can present the information you need to better understand your finances and options. Armed with the right information, you’re more likely to make decisions that suit your needs and long-term goals. 

A financial planner could also point you in the right direction of reliable information if you do want to carry out your own research. 

4. Help you cut through financial jargon

Even when you find trustworthy information, understanding it is a different matter. Financial communications are often filled with jargon and acronyms that are difficult to decipher. 

The survey found 25% of people want financial communications to contain less jargon. A financial planner can help you cut through the jargon, so you clearly understand what communications are saying and how they’re relevant to you. It’s a process that could boost your confidence and mean dealing with your finances is less stressful.  

5. Help avoid short-term thinking 

To create an effective financial plan, you need to think long term and reflect this in the decisions you make. But that can be easier said than done at times.

Take investing, for example. When the market is experiencing volatility or the value of your investments falls, it’s common for investors to consider changing their strategy. However, when you look at long-term trends, sticking to your strategy to ride out the ups and downs often makes financial sense.

Having someone you can speak to about your concerns before you act can reduce bias and knee-jerk decisions that might affect your long-term plans. Working with a financial planner could help you assess your options carefully and decide what is right for you.  

Contact us to talk about how financial planning could benefit you

We can work with you to create a tailored financial plan that suits your lifestyle and goals. We aim to give you confidence in the future so you can get the most out of life and focus on what’s important to you. 

Contact us to arrange a meeting to discover how a financial plan could benefit you. 

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

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Phil Clerkin5 compelling non-financial reasons to work with a financial planner now

4 essential estate planning steps you should take if your family is blended

by Phil Clerkin on June 9, 2023

If you’re part of a blended family, it can make some decisions more complex, especially when you start to consider how to pass on wealth and provide for the people that are important to you. Don’t ignore the potential challenges, as being proactive could improve the financial security of you and your family. 

Data from the Office for National Statistics estimates that around a third of families are blended. It’s becoming more common for people to remarry, have children from a previous relationship, or play an important role in the lives of stepchildren. 

Despite it being something a third of families need to consider, it can still make long-term financial planning more complex. A tailored financial plan can help ensure that your assets would be distributed in a way that suits your wishes. 

Among the steps you should consider taking are these four. 

1. Clearly set out your goals 

It’s difficult to make suitable financial decisions if you aren’t sure about the outcomes you want to achieve. So, your first task is to clearly set out your goals – who do you want to support financially now or in the future? What are your biggest concerns?

You should consider what you’d like to happen in different scenarios to ensure all beneficiaries would be covered. 

A chat with your partner, children, or other people that may be involved in your estate plan could be useful here. 

2. Consider how you hold property with your partner 

Your property is likely to be one of your largest assets, so it’s essential you understand who owns the property and what would happen if you passed away.

If you own the property with your partner, there are commonly two ways it can be held:

  1. Joint tenants: If you pass away the property would automatically go to your partner. 
  2. Tenants in common: Your proportion of the property would go to your beneficiaries when you die. 

Deciding who you’d like to inherit your property can be difficult, but it’s important.

If you have children from a previous relationship and want to pass on property wealth to them, tenants in common could suit your needs. However, you may also want to take steps to ensure your partner could remain living in their home during their lifetime, which you can include in your will. 

Depending on how you share assets with your partner, you may also want to review how savings, investments, and more are set up. 

3. Review your current will 

Writing a will is the only way to ensure assets are passed on according to your wishes. As your circumstances or plans may change, it’s a good idea to review it every five years and after major life events.

One important thing to note is that getting married would revoke a will you’ve previously written. So, while you may have a will stating that you’d like your children to be your main beneficiaries, this wouldn’t be binding if you remarry.

While you can write your will yourself, seeking legal advice is often useful, especially in blended families where wishes are often more complicated. 

You can use your will to set out who you’d like to inherit certain assets or a portion of your estate. As mentioned above, you could also specify things like your property will go to your children, but your partner must be able to continue living there until they pass away. 

4. Consider if a trust could suit your needs

A trust allows you to have more control over how an asset is used and passed on. They can be a useful way to create long-term financial security for loved ones and ensure your wealth remains with your family. 

You may choose to place assets in a trust on behalf of a child, who would be able to access them once they reach a certain age. Or you could set up a trust to provide an ongoing income for your beneficiaries, but they wouldn’t be able to sell the assets it holds.

There are several different types of trust and many different ways to use them to support your goals. If you are considering using a trust to pass on some of your wealth, taking both financial and legal advice can help you choose the option that is right for you. 

Involving your family in the financial planning process could be valuable 

When you’re creating a plan to ensure your family would be secure, communication is important.

It can help ensure your loved ones understand your wishes and that you’re all on the same page. It may also be important for your family’s decisions. For instance, knowing what they stand to inherit could change the steps they need to take to be financially secure in the future. 

So, involving your family in the financial planning process can be valuable. That doesn’t mean you have to share all the details of your financial plan with them if you don’t want to. However, an open conversation about money and goals can be useful for everyone involved. 

If you’d like to discuss your finances and how to create financial security for your family, please contact us. 

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate will writing or estate planning.

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Phil Clerkin4 essential estate planning steps you should take if your family is blended

Disclaimer: The information provided in our website blogs is accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing. However, please be aware that legislative changes and updates may occur after the publication date, which could potentially impact the accuracy of the information provided. We encourage readers to verify the current status of laws, regulations, and guidelines relevant to their specific circumstances. We do not assume any responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions that may arise due to changes in legislation or other factors beyond our control.

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