Protection should be considered as the foundation of all financial planning. After all, if things go awry and you suddently find yourself in dire straits, who or what can you rely on to keep you and your family afloat? 

Did you know? The average value of contents in a three bedroom family home is estimated at £55,000. 

Moving home key

Research by Censuswide for Nationwide shows it’s not just first-time buyers who struggle to fund their property purchase. So-called ‘second steppers’ are finding it hard to move up the housing ladder, having to make compromises or sacrifices in order to afford their next home.

According to the study of more than 1,000 adults living in their first home, the average cost of the second property is £370,539, so perhaps it is unsurprising that many of those surveyed said they would need financial help to make the move - especially if they had outgrown their current home and need more space. Another obstacle is finding a place in the right location - 16% of respondents said they were stuck in an area they didn’t like because of housing affordability.

Cutting back

When asked what sacrifices these second-time buyers would be happy to make to afford their dream move, over half said they would stop going out and one third said they would forgo holidays or weekends away to save the money. Incredibly, one in seven even suggested they would be willing to give up their spouse in return for a move up the property ladder!

Making compromises

If cutting out trips and treats (and giving up your spouse) isn’t enough to create the spare cash needed for the move, compromises might have to be made in terms of the type of property people want. Not everyone questioned was willing to compromise though; one in five said they weren’t prepared to change any of the criteria they were looking for. By contrast, the conservatory, garage, driveway and ideal school were the four areas that most would compromise on if it came to it. 

Staying put 

It’s clear that strong house price growth and the high cost of moving has led many to adopt the ‘improve, not move’ mantra. In fact, eight out of ten of those surveyed said they would stay in their home if they could improve it.

If you're considering your next move on the property ladder, or have grand designs on a renovation project please get in touch for advice. 

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. 



The financial products and services we need to navigate through life will change with our circumstances. In the early years, our financial needs are likely to be more straightforward, getting increasingly complex as we grow older and experience more of life’s rich tapestry.

20 - 30’s: From single and sorted to settling down Ah, those carefree days of being young, free and single; possibly still enjoying student life (albeit probably with a loan), starting an apprenticeship, or moving onto and along the career ladder. Our financial needs at this point might be fairly basic: an inflation-beating savings plan for those starting to think about homeownership, income protection for the workers. If budget allows you might even think about cover that helps to pay the bills in the event of an accident or illness. And when you meet someone and start a family, or take on your first mortgage, the need for protection insurance becomes essential.

40 - 50’s: Accumulating wealth and paying off debts For most of us, financial wellbeing will depend on whatever it is we do to earn money. At this stage in life, as well as securing good living standards while we’re working, it’s important to think carefully about putting some of our income aside for the future. Generally speaking, and subject to investment performance and charges, the earlier you start saving and the more you save, the better shape your financial assets are likely to be in when you need to draw on them. But deciding on the right investment strategy is complicated because of the various factors that can influence it.

For instance:

• your investment objectives - what do you want from your money?

• the level of risk you’re prepared to accept and the potential level of loss your finances can tolerate

• the types of investments you should consider in view of your objectives and risk profile

• the tax-efficiency when it comes to holding these investments

• the ongoing management of your investment


Over 60: Taking your pension; enjoying retirement When the time comes to draw money from your pension, you’ll need to decide how and from where. Self-evidently, the greater the value of your investment, the better the prospect of a financiallyrewarding retirement. But the more investments you have, the more important it will be to think very carefully about where you take money from when the time comes, and how you continue to manage your money throughout your retirement.

It’s also wise to make sure your estate is in good order for any potential beneficiaries. Successful estate planning is all about helping to control the amount of tax you pay on the wealth you create and there are a number of key areas to consider as part of this:

•A will

• Lifetime gifts

• Trusts

• Use of exemptions and reliefs

• Tailored investment products

• Pension arrangements

• Life assurance

We can provide high-quality financial advice whatever your circumstances. Please talk to us to find out more


HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.

The value of investments and any income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the original amount invested.

The will writing service promoted here is not part of the Openwork offering and is offered in our own right. Will writing is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.



When you take out a mortgage we would always recommend you take out appropriate life insurance too, so that you know your monthly mortgage payments are covered if things go awry.

If you’re buying on your own, a single life insurance plan will probably do the trick, but if you’re going into joint property ownership, a joint plan may be more appropriate. So, which is best for you?

Property ownership When it comes to joint ownership, there are two main types:

Joint Tenant 

Where both individuals each own 50% of the property and have equal rights over it – no matter who contributed what in terms of a deposit. Married couples and those in civil partnerships would typically go into joint tenancy, as it means that if one person dies, their share automatically passes to the other – irrespective of the terms of any will in place.

Tenants in common

Where each owns a separate and distinct share of the property (and not necessarily an equal share). This might be the best option for co-habiting (but not married) couples, parents buying for their child, or relatives or friends buying together. This set-up means that if one of the tenants in common dies, their share forms part of their estate, rather than automatically going to the other tenant.

Single or joint life insurance?

Given the differing types of property ownership, it’s important to look at your individual situation before taking out life cover. A policy taken out on a single life basis covers one person only and will pay out the sum assured if the policyholder dies within the term of the policy. A joint policy covers two lives and will normally pay out on a ‘first death’ basis, at which point the policy will end. There are pros and cons of both types of cover - and you should seek advice so you know you’re getting the cover that’s right for you.

Things to think about:


One joint insurance life policy could be more affordable than two single life insurance policies.


Do you both have exactly the same life insurance need? Would two plans be more appropriate?

A joint life insurance policy only pays out once

The proceeds could go to the surviving partner (and would be tax-free) so that they could pay off the mortgage. However, they would be left without any life insurance and applying for cover later in life can be expensive.

Relationship break down

It's possible that the insurance provider would not be able to divide a joint life policy into two single policies. If you have two separate policies, neither will be affected in the event of a split with the joint owner.

If you need life insurance to protect your mortgage, please talk to us before you buy and we’ll advise on cover that’s tailored for your circumstances.


Whether you’re renovating your home because it’s too expensive to move, or you’ve only just bought the place and you’re keen to make your mark, it’s important to stick to jobs that will add value rather than risk reducing its future sale price.

Before you embark on improving your home, follow our tips to help make sure you focus on jobs that will add value if and when you come to sell:

Check the deeds

There may be restrictions on what you can do and you may need planning permission - especially if the changes affect a boundary or your property’s external appearance.

Avoid removing bedrooms

You may want to knock down a wall and convert that box bedroom into a large ensuite, but a three-bedroom semi-detached is naturally going to sell for more than a two-bed.

Be commercially-minded

Consider the neighbourhood you live in and the types of buyers likely to want to live there. Spending money re-landscaping your garden and laying turf and borders may not appeal to a younger professional couple who just want low-maintenance outside space for entertaining.

Avoid personalisation

Unless you are prepared to redecorate when you come to sell, try and use neutral colours on walls and doors. You can always introduce bold, bright or dark colours in soft furnishings and ornaments to achieve the effect you want.
Whether you’re renovating your home because it’s too expensive to move, or you’ve only just bought the place and you’re keen to make your mark, it’s important to stick to jobs that will add value rather than risk reducing its future sale price.

Check the paperwork

If you're looking at a bigger undertaking such as converting your loft into a bedroom, make sure you have the correct paperwork and certification, otherwise the money you spend may not be realised in the sale price.

Hire a professional

Avoid a DIY disaster by only taking on projects you are confident you can complete.

Check your policy

If you’re going to make any major changes to your home you should contact your buildings and contents insurance provider first to avoid unintentionally invalidating your policy. And make sure your policy covers you for accidental damage caused during your DIY efforts.

If you’re looking to fund your home renovations please speak to us for advice.

First time buyers Boost your mortgage chances

You’ve decided to take the plunge and get onto the property ladder, having swapped fun and frivolity for fastidious frugalness to save the deposit. But what can you do to boost your chances of getting your first mortgage?

Check and correct

The three main credit reference agencies, Equifax, Experian and Callcredit, will all use data to score you differently. Lenders will use one or more of these agencies to decide whether to offer you credit.

The general rule is, the higher your credit score the better, so if after checking you feel your score is low you can do things to improve it. For instance, if there are errors on your file you can write to the credit reference agency and ask them to add a notice of correction to your file. You should also check you're not linked financially to anyone, eg. an ex-partner or old flatmate. Their credit history could affect yours so make sure you've organised a 'disassociation' with the credit agency.

Address your address

Make sure all your bank accounts, any credit cards and loans are registered against your correct current address. Contact any financial institutions that hold incorrect information to update the details and take the opportunity to ask them to close any old and unused accounts.

You should also check you're on the electoral roll as lenders will use this as part of their identity checks on you. You can register for free at

Manage your money

As the proverb goes “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” and this is particularly true when thinking about applying for a mortgage. Lenders will look at your credit record and spending habits, so in the months leading up to your application make sure you pay all bills on time - set up a direct debit if this makes it easier to manage. Cut back on spending from any current accounts and on any credit cards. Try and stay out of your overdraft and don’t apply for any new credit in the run up to your mortgage application.

Have your paperwork ready

Your lender will ask for a range of documents, including three months' bank statements and payslips, ID documents, proof of address, proof of bonuses etc. Get these up together in advance to avoid unnecessary delays in the application process.

Arrange an Agreement in Principle (AIP)

AIPs are offered by many lenders as a conditional offer of acceptance. If you have this in place in advance of your purchase it will give confidence to the seller and their estate agent that the sale will complete.

Applying for a mortgage and the admin that comes with it may seem like a stressful process but these few tips can hekp make the process easier.

To discuss your mortgage needs, get in touch. 


The latest Omnis 2019 Market Update can be downloaded here

Omnis 2019 Outlook

The average homeowner moving from a specific mortgage deal onto their mortgage provider’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) could save more than £2,500 a year in interest payments simply by remortgaging.

SVR is the type of mortgage you’re most likely to revert to at the end of an introductory, fixed rate, discount or tracker deal. The rate you pay on SVR is set by your mortgage lender and doesn’t track the Bank of England Base Rate, which means you might not benefit from interest rate cuts and you could be exposed to interest rate rises. SVRs don’t come with the security of a fixed rate deal and your mortgage lender could choose to increase your rate at any time.

SVRs can also be quite expensive; on average those on SVRs pay an extra £211 a month compared to homeowners on a mortgage deal. This rises to as much as £727 a month in London, where house prices are significantly higher than the average.

On the plus side, SVRs can represent good value when interest rates are low and there are no exit fees. Even so, with a potentially sizeable saving to be made by remortgaging, it’s a wonder that around two million borrowers seem happy to stick with their SVR. Why?

Time to remortgage?

It’s important to regularly review your mortgage, as it can often make sense to transfer to a new deal - or even a different lender. Your decision to transfer will of course depend on your individual circumstances and the current rate you are paying. If your lender plans to increase its SVR, moving onto a new mortgage deal could save you money.
To discuss your remortgaging options, please get in touch.