Michael grew up in Dorset, born into a farming family with three older brothers. By the time he was old enough for it to even cross his mind, the future of the farm had been determined: his two eldest brothers were already at agricultural college, destined to take on the mantle from his parents.
Michael had different ambitions. He loved nature and felt privileged to have grown up in such a beautiful place, but he was destined for other things. He did his bit on the farm and enjoyed helping out. In fact, it gave him a great sense of job satisfaction, an appreciation of hard work, and first-hand experience of how working collectively can benefit all.
Aesthetics were always important to Michael. Of course, nature had this cornered, but a close second was the pleasing beauty of good architecture. He had an affinity for art and design and after a seven-year degree, he qualified as a Chartered Architect back in the 1990s. He gained experience with a couple more practices before establishing Sandbourne Chartered Architects LLP more than 10 years ago.
Michael’s interest in nature extended to more than just being in it and appreciating it; he had deep environmental concerns. When he set his practice up, he specialised in sustainable buildings using environmentally friendly build materials, Passivhaus standard insulation and renewable energy fuel solutions.
Michael’s interest in nature extended to more than just being in it and appreciating it; he had deep environmental concerns.
Reasons for seeking advice
Michael hadn’t really taken much notice of his finances before. They didn’t interest him much plus he was usually short of time. Now he was in his mid-50s it started to dawn on him that one day he’d retire and felt that he should start thinking about things.
He had built up various pension pots and had roughly estimated that they were worth about £500,000 in total. Careful plot purchases had helped him up the housing ladder and he now lived in a mortgage-free £2 million five-bedroom eco-house that he had designed himself.
Sadly, his mother died a few months ago, five years after his father. The farm had been passed on to his two older brothers and the rest of his parents’ estate had been settled with £350,000 due to be sent to him. Ideally, he wanted to save much of this for retirement, but had plans for some of it, mainly passing it to their two daughters to help them reduce their own mortgages. Also, he had become aware in recent years that you could invest ethically which he was definitely interested in. Not only with this money but hopefully his pension too.
Finally, there was his business. One day he would move to part-time, then retire. He was still the majority shareholder of the LLP and a friend of his who ran an architectural practice on the other side of the country had hinted that the partners would welcome buying his practice.
Somehow, he had all these different financial things going on and he needed someone to tidy everything up. If he could afford it, he wanted to sell the business at age 60, and use the money to buy a new plot or a potential conversion back in Dorset. He’d split his time between his final, personal build project while contracting back to the new parent business before retiring at 65.
How we helped
Being specialists in providing bespoke advice and ethical investment management for conscientious wealthy people with complex affairs and multiple goals, Michael was pleased that he came to us.
After meeting with Michael to gather information and delve deeply into his goals and aspirations, we set out our proposals and met again to explain them, in plain English. We gathered his thoughts so that we could fine-tune the plan to best suit his needs.
This included a detailed, bespoke cashflow plan mapping out how to tax-efficiently raise the right amount of income and occasional lump sums to cover his ongoing expenditure needs, as well as satisfy more irregular goals.
We completed a detailed review of all of his pensions, advising him to leave one in place otherwise but bringing all of the others together into a low-cost SIPP, with strong ethical filtering built into the investments within it. We also arranged for him to make a tax-efficient, one-off lump sum contribution up to the maximum allowance as well as continue contributing to it over time.
With the cash inheritance, we urged him to go back to the solicitor for a Deed of Variation which enabled some of the money to be redirected straight to his daughters rather than come via himself. With the rest, we built a managed investment portfolio that made use of his annual ISA allowances, tailored to his risk profile, and again, benefited from strong ethical filtering.
As part of his long-term retirement strategy, we built-in assumptions about how and when he would sell his business, checking that he could afford to gift some of the shares to his longest-serving colleagues.
The detailed plan he received added clarity to his affairs and helped him move towards retirement with confidence.
What he really liked
Once we had completed this initial phase of work for him, Michael told us that the detailed plan he received added clarity to his affairs and helped him move towards retirement with confidence, which he was very pleased with. We now meet annually to tweak the plan where necessary and to continually advise him on his best plan of action.