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Financial Planning is for Everyone

Guest blog from Natalie Norman at Blakebrooke Financial Advice about financial planning

When I tell people that I’m a financial adviser or a financial planner, I hear all the time, “I don’t need financial advice because I don’t have any spare money”. It is a common misconception that you need to have lots of money to need advice. I help my clients feel more confident about their finances, make informed decisions, and have a financial plan for their future that is appropriate for them.

Often, very small changes made early enough can make a huge impact on your financial future. One of the first things we do is assess the income coming in against the essential expenditure. Essential expenditure is everything that has to be paid every month. For example, mortgage/rent, utilities, phone/internet, etc. Then we look at the discretionary expenditure, which might be things like gym membership, children’s activities or eating out, etc. These expenditures are still important because they are things that will give you the lifestyle you want. It is always amazing, though, after we’ve done this exercise, how much surplus income there still is ‘on paper’. Most of my clients will say things like, “But there’s nothing left at the end of the month”. This is not unusual as most of us live to our means and spend what comes in each month. This simple exercise usually helps point out the amount of money that is ‘frittered’ away each month. This is not me pointing the finger, as we all do this, me included. What it does do, though is it allows us to see where we could be making better choices that could really change our futures.

Where does your money go?

A simple example could be as follows:

‘The average takeaway coffee costs around £3.40 per cup’ (at 23rd July 2023)


Let’s say you had 3 takeaway coffees a week (156 cups per year), that would cost around £10.20 per week, £44.20 per month and £530.40 per year.

The most popular takeaway coffee is a Latte, you could buy a pack of 8 Latte sachets from around £2.50 (source: Poundland). So, the equivalent would be that 20 packs of 8 sachets would be needed, costing a total of £50 per year. This could save you £480.40 per year.

If we then utilised the saved money and put it aside for our future. Saving £480.40 per year over a period of 15 years, assuming an interest rate of 5%, you could have a savings pot of £10,366.

That’s saving just over £10 per week!

This is obviously just a very simple example of an exchange that could be made without compromising your lifestyle but rather just making a simple swap that could free up some available cash to put away for your future.

Financial planning can help you save for the future

I am a huge advocate for saving in a pension plan as they are an extremely tax efficient savings vehicle. If we take the same example as above, but now take the £480.40 available capital and put it in a pension plan the additional tax relief could help this money grow even more.

For example:

£480.40 grossed up to include 20% tax relief equals £600.50.

£600.50 invested in a pension every year for 15 years, assuming a 5% interest, could give you a savings pot of £12,958. That’s an additional £2,592 without paying any more money in yourself.

This is a very basic example of what some simple financial planning could do to help you save for your future and create the lifestyle that you want.

For more information you can find me using the following links

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How do mortgages for the self-employed work?

I’m a whole of market Independent Financial Adviser and advise on investments, pensions, wealth planning, protection, and mortgages.

If you’re self-employed and want to increase your chances of getting a mortgage, it is worth noting there are many differences from lender to lender. 

You’ll need to fulfil the following fundamentals to facilitate a self-employed mortgage. Here are some of the things to consider.

You’ll need two years’ Full Accounts

This is usually in the format of a document SA302 – (tax year overview and tax calculations). 

These can be retrieved from HMRC or your accountant.

Many lenders will average the earnings over the two years on increasing profits; however, for decreasing profits, it is the lower one they work on. 

It’s therefore advisable that the latest year is the best year. Make your accountant aware of a pending house purchase when they’re compiling the accounts.

  • If two years’ accounts are not available, some lenders will accept one full year’s accounts and an accountant’s certificate.

However, this limits the number of lenders available and requires your accountant to provide this information.

Image shows a house to get you thinking about self-employed mortgages.

Distinguish between Sole trader vs Limited Company

As a sole trader, you are the sole owner of your business. You may employ staff to work with you, but you have complete control of the company. You keep all the profits after tax but are also personally liable should the business get into trouble. 

If you form a limited company, you are setting up a separate private organisation. You are not personally liable for the business – even if you’re the director and sole shareholder. The company is its own legal entity, so you can only lose what you put in. Rather than keeping the profits, you pay yourself through a combination of salary and dividends.

Have both your business and personal bank statements available.

  • As with employed mortgage applications, there is a requirement to have a deposit available.

10% is usually the minimum for most lenders. However, a few will accept 5%. You’ll need to provide evidence showing the source of the deposit. There is a gifted deposit process with some lenders, where you’ll need extra proof of where the funds are, with identification and written confirmation from the donor, noting that this is a non-refundable gift.

Credit checks

  • All mortgage applications will have a credit check; some leave a soft footprint, and some a hard footprint. 

Experian and Equifax are the main two credit check providers many lenders use. However, be mindful of how many applications are processed, as this could negatively affect your credit file.

To improve the credit file, regular use of small amounts on a credit card and the balance repaid in full could help the score over a longer period – ideally before a mortgage application.

Affordability calculators will vary from lender to lender

Lenders will consider whether you can afford to pay your mortgage. They’ll look at the number of dependents you have and any continuing commitments (credit card/loans etc.). 

Other forms of income could also be considered, depending on the lender, such as child benefits, maintenance payments and PIP. Also, some lenders will accept debts being cleared before purchase, and others will not.


Hannah Cowell DipPFS CeMAP Certs Cii (MP & ER)


Mobile 07870898474


Website Hannah Cowell (

2plan wealth management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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