Financial Services Expert Shares Her Advice and Encourages Us All to Take Time to ‘Protect Our World & Insure Our Hearts’ this Valentine’s
Meet 50 year-old financial services expert, Joanna Streames from Great Oakley Northants, in the run up to Valentine’s Day, she is on a mission to encourage and help families leave a legacy and protect what they’ve worked so hard for – “protect your world, insure your heart.”
Joanna said; “Securing the people you love and the things you’ve worked so hard for is a topic close to my heart because my experience was exactly the opposite.”
Joanna comes from a hard-working, working-class family, her parents separated when she was young and when Joanna was just 19 years old, her mother died and she found herself nominated as guardian to her 12-year-old sister. Joanna said; “We struggled financially because there wasn’t enough provision in place. The Will was a mess and the various legal firms involved took a large cut of any inheritance leaving us penniless. The trauma of losing a parent, followed by the stress of not being able to make ends meet was the most horrendous experience and it doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t matter what you’re bringing in, with some sound financial planning, you and your loved ones can be secure, without breaking the bank.”
“This simple fact is, I don’t ever want anyone to face what we did.”
Purposefully not your archetypal be-suited number-cruncher, Joanna said; “I’m a strong women who wears pink and red! Why? Because, I am fighting against the image of the protection world in order to make it less intimidating.” As Founder and Director of Velvet Mortgage and Insure Services, Joanna is passionate about ensuring clients protect their world, as she knows what it feels like when people don’t have the right provision in place, she said; “I set up Velvet Mortgage & Insure to give straight talking, accessible, compassionate financial advice so that clients can experience the kind of financial security I never had.”
**Eight steps to consider to help you ‘Protect Your World and Insure Your Heart’ this Valentine’s month… **
Make a Will – it doesn’t matter in the slightest, what you have or what you think you don’t. You must make a Will to ensure that your wishes are carried out. The alternative is that you leave other people making decisions about your assets and those closest to you. You can choose to do this through a free or paid service but whatever you can do, don’t delay it. If you don’t currently have a Will, it’s got to be the next item on your “to-do” list.
Insure Yourself – You are your biggest asset and you can insure yourself for just a few pounds a week and create a healthy income if you need it for the worst times in life. I’ve met hundreds of people who spend more on insuring their pets than they do their own lives, properties and assets. Most people think their biggest asset is their house but actually it’s their income. The average wage of £1,950 per month over your working life can add up to over £1M and that’s without factoring in a pay rise! You are your biggest asset, so make sure you look after yourself.
Don’t wait for tomorrow! Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re too young or ‘it’ won’t ever happen. Unfortunately ‘it’ happens every day to every single age group. Get covered at a younger age whilst you’re fit and well and lock in premiums at that same rate for the life of the policy.
Seek Trusted Advice – I’ve had 30 years in business and I still don’t know everything there is to know about insurance, inheritance, Wills and other policies. We can’t learn the ins and outs by ourselves. You need to seek insurance advice from an insurance expert. You need to seek Will writing advice from Will writing experts. You wouldn’t go to a dentist to remove a kidney would you?! It sounds simple, but seeking expert advice will help you and pay dividends for you in the long run.
Trusts – these ensure your family gets every penny! This is the backbone of protecting yourself. If your life insurance policy is protected through a Trust then it cannot be taxed and is protected by ancient law meaning every penny goes where you want it to rather than the tax man getting a windfall. We do this for our clients as it is our day job. Very few policies are in Trust because people just don’t know about it!
Create a Savings Pot – there are no instant rewards but you’ll be so glad you did save. You can even get banking apps these days with ‘pots’ so that you can distribute your funds and see your savings grow. Savings can be for something specific, or for that ‘rainy’ day… This together with appropriate insurance will make you financially adaptable and resilient.
Confide in someone you love and trust – God forbid that anything happens prematurely to any of us, but in the event that it does, difficult and emotional situations can be made worse when no-one knows anything about your affairs. Confide in someone you love and trust – tell them where things are kept and explain your wishes should the worse happen. You can leave a letter of wishes with your Will and send copies to the people that will need it. Peace during loss and bereavement can be maintained when things are clearly communicated. Don’t leave your loved ones with the difficult task of being mind readers!
Finally I believe we need to all encourage our children - I wanted to make sure that my girls were financially secure and taken care of, but I also wanted to make sure that they knew more than I did growing up. I didn’t want them to be financially ignorant otherwise the care I’ve taken to give them the best start, could be for nothing if they don’t know how to handle their own finances. We have to encourage our children and the next generation to become financially astute and educate them. Despite financial capability and adequacy being part of the UK national curriculum, since 2011, it’s still not prevalent enough — common sense on these matters should be taught in schools in the same way home economics has been taught historically – I am currently preparing advice for schools and regularly speak in schools and universities to encourage more women into the finance industry. In addition to schooling, I believe that as parents, single, together or otherwise… we have a responsibility to talk about money and educate our own kids and provide them with the opportunities to put that financial knowledge into practice. Teach them how to save young… teach budgeting… take them to the bank with you… show them online banking… set them an account up or a piggy bank or GoHenry account… also teach them about being financially resilient, financial stress is a big factor in wellbeing so if we have the tools from a young age surely things would improve all round.
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