Financial planner, Acumen Financial Planning
Our head office is based in Aberdeen, a small city that has benefited from the oil and gas sector in recent decades.
The drop in oil prices and the subsequent downturn has had a significant effect in Aberdeen. In 2016, the UK’s oil and gas industry was estimated to have lost a quarter of the workforce, or 120,000 jobs. We have helped some of our clients working in this industry adjust their plans.
In one case, our clients Stewart and Lesley were very worried because Stewart, a 58-year-old engineer, was made redundant several years before his planned retirement age of 65. He had not found alternative work as quickly as he had hoped. His wife Lesley, aged 52, had a full-time job in a different sector, but they were concerned about having to face significant changes in their lifestyle.
They were fortunate to be mortgage-free and had some savings in a diversified portfolio. They came in for a meeting in which we updated all figures, including taking away expenses associated with Stewart’s working life, such as memberships, and additional travel costs. We reduced holiday expenditure later in life, to take account of the fact they would not be going abroad from theirs 80s onwards.
Adjusting the planned expenditure on upgrading their house, to allow for essential upgrades only, brought annual expenditure down by an average of £7,500 a year.
In doing this we were able to demonstrate that, although restricted in their wriggle room (additional spend capacity), with conservative market returns, they could achieve their goal of being financially independent with Lesley working until the age of 61, and Stewart not working again.
Although Stewart is hoping to get further work, this would now be a bonus. The pressure to do so had been lifted and he left the meeting a changed man, from being physically anxious on arrival to smiling and calm.