Dusting Down Your Investments

My grandmother is in her late 80s. She is a fantastic woman and my family and I all think the world of her. So when she recently asked if I could help her with something, how could I say no? I was happy to help.

 She proceeded to hand me a number of overflowing carrier bags. Usually when she does this they are full of Easter eggs or Christmas presents. This was not the case today - the bags were full of financial documents. The volume was such that it could legitimately have been called a collection - some of them were so old they may have been classified as items of historic interest!. There were statements, performance documents, updates, valuations, and more ‘T&C’s’ than you could ever wish for. She asked if I could help her ‘sort this out’ and with the most genuine smile I could muster I replied ‘no problem!’

 Thankfully having worked in the financial industry for some time I am quite used to going through items like this, but even so, it was a nightmare, not least because the level of dust involved had me sneezing uncontrollably.

 After some time, I got to the bottom of what she had, what she didn’t had, and what she may once have had over the last forty or so years. I discovered that she held what could be described as an ‘eclectic’ set of investments, seemingly selected with a scattergun approach that wouldn’t be out of place in a sketchy election manifesto. There were some good, some bad, and some very ugly. Whilst some of her investments had performed very well, others had spent the best part of two decades doing nothing; in some cases the charges she was paying were shocking.

 It’s hard to be sure of how long it had been since my grandmother last reviewed her investments, though amongst the bags of paperwork I came across a newspaper article written whilst John Major was Prime Minister in the 1990s. The point I wish to make is this – do not let it get to this stage! A review of these things years ago could not only have saved me about four days of sneezing, but more importantly would have made a huge difference to my grandmother, both in terms of the money she has been paying out in charges, and the profits she might have made with more suitable investments rather than the ones that had been left to languish.

 If this situation sounds familiar to you, or is brewing in the background, then now may be the time to review your investment portfolio.  At Scrutton Bland we can help simplify what might otherwise be a daunting proposition, and ensure that further down the line nobody has to suffer either from poor investment decisions, or from prolonged bouts of sneezing!

 For more information on independent financial planning please contact Sebastian Eaton on sebastian.eaton@scruttonbland.co.uk or 01206 838400