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‘The pandemic has brought clients a sense of their own mortality’

‘The pandemic has brought clients a sense of their own mortality’

The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on people in different ways but has more specifically seen clients thinking about their own sense of mortality, according to Amy Spiller, wealth planner at Barclays Wealth and Investment. 

Spiller said post pandemic, more clients have turned towards services such as estate planning.

She said: "When I talk to clients, I talk a lot about death and tax [already] but the pandemic has really brought home to a lot of people a sense of their own mortality. At the outset, estate planning is one of the big areas that I talk about and always have done.

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“I think it's a good thing that circumstances have maybe encouraged people to think about planning a little bit earlier than perhaps they otherwise would have done because it's never too early to make a plan. It's really important that everybody has a financial plan.”

Spiller explained there were many clients prior to the pandemic who were not thinking about their protection needs or putting it off. Those people are now finally putting their plan in place, she said. 

Discussing the tax implications of not having protection, she explained it was inevitable to see some form of tax hikes or changes going forward.

With the changes to pensions legislation, lifetime allowance being frozen and the changes to the annual allowance, Spiller said clients were looking for other ways to build up a fund for retirement, which was another popular topic at the moment.

“Unknown future tax rises that we might see, although those haven't come as yet, we have seen a lot of allowances frozen so ultimately that is going to result in an increased tax bill and increased taxes,” she said. 

“I think that it's pretty obvious that the country is in a bit of a pickle and we've got a big Covid-shaped deficit in public finances, and it's going to have to be plugged somehow.

“There was a little bit of surprise with the Budget at how little was changed but I think it's a when rather than if, at some point, something is gonna have to have to happen to raise finances.

“Nobody’s going to be surprised if we see more tax reviews of some kind in the future.”

Social media

Many young individuals have in recent months been turning towards social media such as Tik Tok and Twitter as a means of getting financial help, Spiller said.

She said the use of social media was a “really valuable voice” and one which many individuals, beyond the young ones, were turning to for news, understanding what's going on in the world and more. 

“I think that utilising that kind of media is something that all of this should be looking to branch into,” she said. 

“What we want to be sure of is that clients who are turning to social media are still accessing genuine sources and people that know what they're talking about, rather than somebody who's looking to start their own social media site and deciding that they're going to give a lowdown on what's the best fund to invest in today.”