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Case Study

Helping people live a BettrLife

Case Study No.3: Sue & Rob

When Rob and Sue first started working with us it is fair to say that they were both living very full and active lives.

Sue was enjoying a highly successful executive career with Adobe which involved, when not travelling overseas, a daily commute between their home in Galashiels and her office in Edinburgh.

Rob too commuted daily as he was a professional rugby coach with Edinburgh Rugby.

Whilst they found work and life satisfying they were very busy people.

On chatting with them it became clear whilst they both enjoyed their work and had other interests, they also had some specific causes that they wished to support. Both of them felt (and continue to feel) very strongly about helping youngsters, both financially and practically, and we spoke about possible ways in which they could do this. It also became apparent that a good deal of time and energy was being expended in their almost daily commute up the A7.

We also got onto the subject of life beyond work and what ‘good’ would look like for them. As we dug deeper, it was clear that although they felt financially secure enough to stop working (retire) they each had some unease about what life might look and feel like without the daily challenge of their respective careers.

So… whilst they had already made a pretty good job of making financial provision for their own futures (Rob had been a teacher and had a good pension entitlement from that and Sue had been a member of a generous company pension scheme for most of her working life) their main challenge/thinking was:

  1. They were very busy (during these early discussions Rob had left professional coaching and decided to become a Director of Rugby at Dollar Academy in Clackmannanshire… involving an even further commute!)
  2. Whilst they did not fear retirement, they were not exactly sure of what ‘good’ might look and feel like
  3. They were also not making full use of all their available tax breaks; ie they were paying more tax than they needed to.

What we did for them

First of all, we suggested that they should use some of their capital reserves to buy a flat in Edinburgh meaning they could spend weekends at home in Gala and weekdays in Edinburgh.

Using powerful financial planning software, we developed our BettrLife Plan with them. This helped calculate how much they would need when they did eventually retire, and were living the life of their dreams, and would allow them to spend without the fear of ever running out of money.

It turned out to be a lot less than they had thought.

Financially, they were in a very comfortable position but just paying taxes at a level they did not need to. Both being in well-paid jobs also meant that they did not spend all of the money they earned.

With this in mind, we devised a tax-saving strategy (in turn saving them a large amount of income tax and national insurance each year) which we invested in a structured portfolio designed around the risk level they were comfortable with and the kind of lifestyle they foresaw for themselves.

Making better use of their tax allowances simply meant they could now build extra wealth quicker, which meant more for them or more realistically more resources available to help the causes they felt passionately about.

We spent a great deal of time discussing these causes and with the help of a city firm of lawyers we were able to establish the ‘Go For It’ Trust with the aim of helping youngsters fulfil their potential.

Since then

Since then, they have both retired (moving house to Melrose). Sue is now very active in the local community helping run (with the help of her sister Annie) Melrose in Bloom, attends weekly yoga classes and supports their elderly neighbours.

Rob, having been less enthused about ceasing work, has never been busier. Not only is he joint Director of Rugby at Melrose Rugby Club, he also helps coach many of the youth teams, does one-on-one rugby coaching, and is also Chair of the Melrose Festival Committee.

Days are now typically spent with them enjoying runs and walks together, meeting friends for coffee, or Rob being stopped in Melrose High Street for a ‘chat’ with the countless people he knows – socially they have never been busier!

Looking ahead

Going forward Sue and Rob meet with us twice yearly (sometimes more) to ensure that their financial planning remains on track and that they continue to grab the opportunities that life offers them.

Much time is now spent on discussing ‘the who and the what and the why’; ie which causes/people they can help support. This has actually been really quite challenging, so we are in the process of compiling a group of ‘Trustees/Inspirers/Fun People’ to help the ‘Go For It’ Trust really gain traction.

Finally, with the help of their local lawyer we have designed a tax-free asset transfer strategy (around their wills/pensions) meaning that their assets can eventually be passed on free of tax to the causes/people that mean the most to them.

In short, Rob and Sue can now get on with enjoying life on their terms and safe in the knowledge that their finances are now structured around the things that mean the most to them.

Case Study No. 1: Louise & George

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Case Study No. 2: Sarah & Michael

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