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Fail to plan and you plan to fail; Newcastle-based financial adviser Alok Dhanda explains how, in this uncertain economic climate, you can achieve peace of mind with holistic financial planning.

MANY of us in the North East are guilty of harbouring the mindset that we should live for the moment, but where good financial planning is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth.

These uncertain economic times provide an ideal opportunity to spend some time reviewing your finances and setting some achievable financial goals for the future, so that you can enjoy life today with the knowledge that you are prepared for tomorrow.

It is so important that people don't shy away from seeking help with their finances, especially in the midst of a recession, when every penny counts. Saving doesn't have to be arduous - just think what you could save if you put ten pence aside from every pound you earned.

Whether you are considering lump sum investments, long-term care planning, protection needs, inheritance tax planning or saving schemes, reviewing your holistic financial status with an independent financial adviser will prove to be the compass you need to set you in the right direction. Remember the old saying, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

However, there are inevitably times when health is placed in jeopardy. A serious illness, such as cancer or a heart attack, affects one in four women and one in five men in the UK before retirement age. Critical illness insurance is designed to ease the financial pressures by paying a tax-free lump sum if you become seriously ill or totally disabled.

Choosing the right plan can be a complicated business, as there are more than 60 providers offering 200 versions of critical illness insurance. A financial adviser can discuss your requirements with you and search the market for the best option to suit your financial circumstances.

I need only take the example of Jade Goody, who died earlier this year at the age of 27, to stress that it is never too early to consider your protection needs and to cover yourself against critical illness.

Life cover, like critical illness cover, cannot afford to be overlooked. More of us in the UK should focus on insuring our lives rather than our material possessions, as there is no guarantee that our houses will burn down, but it is certain that at some point, we will leave our families behind.

So, just as you wouldn't drive a car without insurance, you shouldn't have to live without the peace of mind of life assurance. Make use of a financial adviser to help you decide which to choose out of the three types of life insurance available: term assurance, decreasing term assurance and whole of life insurance. Term assurance will provide benefits to your family if you die during the proposed period covered by your policy and whole of life insurance will pay out on death whenever it occurs.

If you still need convincing about the value of insurance, consider the words of one of our most influential leaders, Winston Churchill: "If I had my way, I would write the word 'insure' upon the door of every cottage and upon the blotting book of every public man, because I am convinced, for sacrifices so small, families and estates can be protected against catastrophes which would otherwise smash them up forever." Holistic financial planning encompasses all areas of your financial circumstances, including the status of your pension. Data released by the Trade Union Congress last week showed that, worryingly, the percentage of 'unpensioned' private sector workers now totals 63% - almost two thirds of the UK's workforce. Such a disturbing statistic proves that this year it is more important than ever to have adequate pension provision in place to prevent heading towards a poor retirement.

I can't stress enough retirement is the longest holiday of your life and people in the UK are now living up to 100 years old, so you need to make allowances for that.

With the world stock markets rallying, there has never been a better time to start investing. For example, if you're considering saving for your child's future, parents with a child born today would need to amass a pot of pounds 60,500 to pay university fees in full at 18 years old.

Whatever your income and expenditure, an independent financial adviser can offer bespoke solutions for your needs. With some careful saving and valuable advice, you can dispel any worries lurking at the back of your mind and get on with enjoying life. We can't predict the future, but we can always prepare for it.

For further information about how Alok Dhanda can help you with holistic financial planning, contact Dhanda Financial on (0191) 255-8960, email info@dhandafinancial.com or visit www.dhandafinancial.com.

CAPTION(S):

WISE Sir Winston Churchill who was a great fan of insurance as a way of protecting yourself in times of hardship.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2009
Words:798
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