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Prevention is better than cure

Last update - Thursday, March 19, 2009, 19:08 By Metro Éireann

You and Your Money with Godfrey Chimbganda

The first quarter of the year is almost complete, and volatility in the markets continues. Job losses are still in the news headlines, national finances are in disarray and investor confidence is very low.
There is some good news in that inflation is close to zero, with some indicators even suggesting it’s now below zero, and interest rates have dropped, making it a great time to get onto the property ladder. But now more than ever, people – both business owners and individuals – will need sound financial advice from a qualified advisor or broker as the banks continue in turmoil.
The broker’s role is analysing each client’s situation and then offering various financial products that are in the best interest of the client. For instance, with insurance rates expected to increase as the year goes on – a consequence of the expected rise in claims – brokers are in the best position to help their clients shop around for the best deal at the best price.
The marginal tax rate is expected to rise in the upcoming supplementary budget, and there is strong speculation that tax relief margins will also be reduced. For clients who are looking for long-term investments, this means there is a rush to get in now while there are still benefits to be made in products like pensions and income protection, where tax relief is provided.
For those who have experienced sizeable losses in relation to their pension benefits but are still employed, now is the time to look at how they can regain their losses and get back on track in adequately providing for their retirement. One way of achieving that would be getting advice on additional premiums which might now be affordable due to the interest rate cuts, falling oil prices and sales in the high street.
 The benefit of good financial advice is also vital as the spectre of redundancy looms over Ireland’s workforce. People will need to know what to do with their lump sum payments, what options they have with their built-up pensions and how to replace their various employment benefits – which is where the broker or advisor can be a life-saver.
 The most important part of financial advice is planning. Just as everyone needs a medical check-up, especially when they feel under the weather, everyone needs a financial check-up – particularly when they are going through the shock of the current financial crisis. And just like in health, prevention is better than cure.
Godfrey Chimbganda is a qualified financial advisor.

This article is a general description of situations and circumstances. Please consult a financial adviser for personal advice that would take your specific circumstances into consideration

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