Adulthood, mid-life, whatever you want to call it, has a habit of creeping up on you.
One moment you are enjoying your own wage and the freedom that goes with it, the next you are a grown-up, scaling property ladders, mapping career paths and talking births, deaths and marriages.
Then the questions start, do I have a handle on my debts? What would happen if my wages drop? And with questions come worries and the kind of gnawing doubts that trouble you in the small hours. It’s important to stop and take stock, to take a little look under the hood and work out what is and isn’t working, to go through a little financial MOT for grown-ups. And, in the same way you wouldn’t just pop the bonnet, have a tinker and expect your car to pass with flying colours, it’s important to ask for a helping hand.
You won’t be alone. A large number of people turn to Owl Financial for help, typically in their early 20’s when they start to get a true picture of their career and future income. Owl Financial Protection Advisers provide face to face, personalised advice. We will talk to you about your specific circumstances, with advice that is tailored for you. And we’ll continue to be on hand when you need us – helping to ensure you and your loved ones are adequately financially protected throughout the various stages of your life.
Here we look at some key areas to consider as part of your financial protection MOT for grown-ups.
Financial safety nets
People are far more conscious today of their health and wellbeing, but no matter what changes you make to improve your lifestyle there is always the risk of an accident or serious illness. What would you and your family do if an accident prevented you from working? Worse still, how would your family cope if this resulted in permanent disability? It seems a morbid train of thought, but this is an area where the right plans must be in place. People who work in trades with little or no sick pay, such as builders and taxi drivers, will also be keenly aware of how a change in circumstance can radically alter your income and impact on savings.
Income Protection insurance pays out a regular tax-free income if you become unable to work because of accident or sickness and could help you keep up with your mortgage repayments and other living costs until you’re able to return to work. A chat with an Owl Protection Adviser will help you weigh up what your employer would pay you and what state benefits might be available and work out what is best for you.
With Accident Protection available through Owl, you can benefit from a range of additional benefits – including hospital cover, where you’ll receive a cash pay-out if you have an accident and need to stay in a UK hospital. You can claim whether the accident you have is work related or not. For instance, you’re covered if you have an accident whilst playing sport for leisure like rugby or football, cycling or at the gym. Cover for children is also available.
Life insurance and critical illness cover
Life Insurance helps provide financial security for those who depend on you, should you die. It is hard to understate how important this could be for your family or loved ones and could pay off the mortgage or provide an income. Many policies typically pay out early if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than 12 months to live.
Critical (or serious illness) cover often comes as an optional addition to a Life Insurance policy but can also be purchased on its own and will pay out a tax-free lump sum on the diagnosis of certain life-threatening or debilitating non-fatal conditions. This could also include heart attacks, strokes, cancer and major organ transplants. Owl will be able to advise you on the right cover for you. Many people make the mistake of waiting until they take on a major commitment, like starting a family, before buying Critical Illness Insurance - but cover is relevant for most people at any time.
It’s difficult to get your first foot on the mortgage ladder and saving for a deposit and getting that first dream home can seem like your greatest hurdle. The right advice at this early stage is vital and Owl can help provide award-winning mortgages, as well as re-mortgages, through our specialist mortgage team. They will also talk to you about protection and the best way to cover the mortgage in the event of illness or death. Then, once you cross that first hurdle and the threshold of your new home, you cannot allow it to run unchecked.
Aside from income protection, life cover, critical illness cover, home insurance and landlord’s cover, you should keep a close eye on other factors including your mortgage lender’s standard variable rate (or SVR). This is the default rate you roll on to after an initial fixed rate deal comes to an end. Our Mortgage Team will look at what’s relevant to you and ensure you get the best advice, based on your needs.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE
Medical care and private cover
The NHS will always be our greatest safety-net but private medical insurance gives you fast access to high-quality treatment when you need it most. Owl work with specialist partners such as Vitality, a trusted and well-known private health insurance provider, to offer comprehensive cover. This gives you access to a private GP helpline and video consultations, direct referrals to a consultant without having to wait for your GP, private prescriptions and more. And again, this can be tailored to your needs and your plan personalised for your budget. If you're interested in finding out more, your Owl Protection Adviser can arrange a referral to Vitality Health.
Traditionally something that was put on the backburner, Wills and ‘Last Testaments’ are now being discussed at a much younger age. People are far more comfortable talking about their final plans, right down to discussing the choice of music and venue. As is usually the case, the serious part is the most important part and you cannot shy away from the detail. The key point is ensuring that your assets are passed on to those who you want them to.
This is especially important if you have a partner or children. You may not have even considered any of the above, but we can help make the process easy. Owl Advisers work with a specialist partner who can arrange for experienced solicitors to explain things clearly. They can also advise on setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney – should this be something you may wish to look into (e.g. if you have an older relative). This is all about putting in place arrangements to authorise someone to act on behalf of another in private affairs, for example financial, business or health related matters.
So, when it comes to financial protection advice, Owl Financial are specialists who can help. We aim to help and be with you through life’s big moments. For more information, contact your Owl Financial Protection Adviser or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With you through life ®