Peter Morris is a Chartered Financial Planner at Cranwell Wealth Solutions who have wealth management branches in Uckfield and Heathfield. Peter has worked for Cranwell Wealth Solutions for many years and has always held a strong interest in the subject of later life planning. He has since specialised in the discipline and has recently qualified as a full member of The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). Here Peter tells us about why he has such a passion for this topic and what people can do to better plan for later life.
You have taken a keen interest in the specific area of later life planning within financial advice, what was it that drew you to this topic?
I feel this area is challenging for many. Often, loved ones are asked at short notice, to take over their parents or family members finances and make educated choices for them. With the costs of care increasing year on year and in the South East often being over £1,000 a week it’s a big commitment. Having someone who can explain the financial impact, options and considerations at that time can make a positive difference.*
Can you explain what the SOLLA do?
SOLLA helps people and their families find trusted accredited financial advisers who understand financial needs in later life. The SOLLA was established in 2008 as a not for profit organisation dedicated to higher standards and accessibility to regulated financial advice for older people and their families. There are no shareholders and any profit is used to sustain the Society and its objectives.
Congratulations on becoming a full member of The SOLLA, how did this come about?
Previously I have completed exams in Long Term Care, Equity Release and St. James’s Place Later Life Planning to get to this stage. I then had to prove to The SOLLA that I had detailed knowledge in all areas of financial matters that may be relevant as people get older. Including, pensions, state support, options for those who are approaching or need care, impacts on their estates and also the legal documentation. This was by way of a two hour video assessment, which was very testing. Finally I needed to evidence that I have the right support available to me through St. James’s Place and procedures to document how I make sure vulnerable clients are looked after properly.
What are the benefits of this to people now seeking your advice on later life planning?
I feel in a great place to support clients, both existing and new, with their needs whatever they may be. Particularly for those in care or who may have a care need on the horizon, it can be a challenging and difficult period. For some there may be time to plan, others have to react to sudden changes, with many uncertainties. My clients appreciate the advice and support I can give them and their loved ones.
What is the biggest surprise most people have when they first understand the prospect of planning for later life?
I think there are a couple of surprises, firstly the costs that those who need care have to suffer often come as a shock. Also when attorney’s start to step into the shoes of the individual many are surprised by the complexity of this, given they don’t necessarily have a full understanding of the individuals finances prior to that.
Finally for me having seen the statistics and predictions that in the next 21 years the number of people aged 85 and over is predicted to double from 1.6m to 3.2m, making this the fastest growing area of our population shows how many people this will affect.*
What advice can you give to people who have yet to start planning for later life care?
First and foremost, having the legal paperwork, including Lasting Power of Attorneys and Wills up to date and to hand is a great start. People may have not considered setting these up, and family may not know where to look to find them at the point when they are critical. Secondly, if possible, planning in advance for care allows you to take your time to make the important decisions and ensure you are getting all the support available. I appreciate this isn’t always possible but if not then knowing where to turn is the next best option.
Also, if you do have an attorney or attorneys in place, making sure they know what your views and wishes are and also giving them a summary of your finances. Trying to trawl through years of statements and files to work this all out can add to an already daunting task. It may not feel natural to ask for details on this, but it can certainly make a difference compared to trying to work it all out at short notice in an already stressful period.
What are the main challenges people face with later life planning?
The biggest challenge, aside from the cost, is knowing what options and support there is. Most people assume that the only solution is to draw down on cash deposits month by month. Whilst this is an option, there are alternative solutions which can help provide peace of mind for all involved.
Are there any plans for further training in this topic for you or do you feel happy with where you have got to with this in your career?
To maintain my full membership I am required to prove annually that I have been continuing to develop my knowledge and keep up to date with relevant changes that would affect clients. Then every 5 years I have to go through a full re-accreditation. This will ensure that I keep on my toes and up to date. Later life planning is an area I really enjoy to specialise in now.
For advice and help specifically from Peter Morris on later life planning for you or a loved one, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Will writing and Powers of Attorney involve the referral to a service that is separate and distinct to those offered by St. James's Place and are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.