One of the worst job interview questions in history is: “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” The short, honest answer for most of us would probably be “who knows?”
But one of the most important questions your banker can ask you is: “Where do you see your wealth in 50 years’ time?”
Why? Because achieving what you want from your wealth, and leaving a legacy long into the future, require careful planning.
We all want to do the best for those we care about, and that includes how we pass on our wealth. The right financial plan can help. From navigating your tax allowances to handing over the family business, when the plan comes together it will feel good.
You’ve probably worked extremely hard to earn your fortune. Even if you inherited it, you’ll have worked hard to nurture it. Either way, you will want to make sure those you leave it to continue to care for it in a way that meets your wishes. Thinking about a time when you’re no longer around is never easy, but we would argue it’s essential if you want your wealth to have its intended consequences.
On the flip side, doing nothing could cause difficult disputes among your family and lead to unexpected tax liabilities that lessen your legacy.
Where to start
While the wonderful world of financial planning can be complex, Coutts financial planning specialist Joe Smith says it’s worth starting simply by getting the basics in place.
“First and foremost, you need to think about what you want to achieve with your wealth,” he says. “Do you want to simply spend it or give it to charities during your lifetime, try to grow it for the future through, for example, investing, or do nothing?
“Whatever you decide, we would obviously advocate growing your wealth so that your legacy can achieve as much as possible, and you set everything up nicely for future generations. If that’s the route you go down, we think you should start by writing or updating your will, reviewing your pension and ensuring your wealth is protected.
“Getting those basics in place ensures you’re building a future for your wealth on a firm foundation. After that, we can start looking at more complicated things like tax allowances and trusts to ensure you leave your money behind in the best way possible.”