Hope for the best, plan for the worst

A few days out from the first Budget under a majority Conservative Government since Ken Clarke in November 1996, speculation is ramping up about what Mr Osborne is likely to announce.

It’s true to say that there is much hand-wringing over the death of higher-rate relief on pensions, curtailment of the still-new pension freedoms, further tarnishing of the tax avoidance regime, and so on. We also have the wider uncertainty of what will happen with Greece and the in/out EU referendum in 2017.

Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose. As financial planners, we consistently face the difficulty of making our advice future-proof. It’s very very difficult to know what the top performing asset will be in 2016, never mind 2020 or 2025. We don’t know what colour the next Government will be, what their policies will be, how those will be brought to bear or what tone the press will strike as they report on these.

Because we don’t have the crystal ball that would be so enormously helpful, our financial plans are always constructed based on the law as it stands now. It can’t really be any other way. We plan for the longer term, building in the flexibility to deal with the variables that we can’t foresee. That usually means keeping in touch with out clients and remaining focused on the longer term goals. Short-termism is expensive, in more ways than one.