Ireland is the home to Halloween

 

Halloween has been celebrated in Ireland for over 2,000 years. Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain.

Samhain had three distinct elements:

 

Firstly, it was an important fire festival, celebrated over the evening of 31st October and throughout the following day. The flames of old fires had to be extinguished and ceremonially re-lit by druids.  It’s similar to our modern New Year’s Day in that it was based around the notion of casting out the old and moving into the new.

To our pagan ancestors it marked the end of the ‘pastoral cycle’ – a time when all the crops would have been gathered and placed in storage for the long winter ahead and when livestock would be brought in from the fields and selected for slaughter or breeding.

People also believed that the time between the night of 31st October and the 1st November was a time when the barrier between the realm of the spirits and the real world grew weak allowing souls and spirits of the departed to return to their former home – both good and bad spirits!  The good spirits, those of friends and family, were though to return home to see their loved ones and were honoured with cooked food such as Colcannon and celebrations.

The evil spirts such as Banshees, Puca, Fairie and Shapeshifters needed to be frightened off.  People dressed up in ugly masks and disguises made from animal skins in the hope that the spirits would not recognise them if they had wronged them!  Bonfires were lit and lots of noise ensued to ward off these evil spirits.

With the spread of the Roman Catholic Church the festival was incorporated into the church approved ‘All Saints Day’ on 1st November.  The church authorities did not approve of pagan rituals and ‘All Saints Day’ was used to honour Christian martyrs.

When the church merged All Saints Day and the pagan festival it became known as Hallomass.  Hallo meant saintly and so the name is meant to mean mass of the saints.  However, the 31st was called All Hallows Eve.

As the Irish began to emigrate to America during the famine and afterwards, they brought the tradition of Halloween to their new homes which is why it is celebrated in the USA and all around the world today!  Traditionally lanterns were carved out of turnips but as they were hard to find in new America pumpkins were used instead.

As time went on, the tradition developed into a fun filled festival with lots of activities such as trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, lighting bonfires, dressing up in costumes and eating treats.

Wishing you a night full of frights and a bag full of delights!

 

Follow this link to see what is on locally in Limerick.

https://www.ilovelimerick.ie/halloween-in-limerick-2021/

Cashflow Planning: 9 Ways It Will Transform Your Finances | a real client example

 

In today’s challenging economic times, it is more important than ever to have a plan for your future. Especially since many people are struggling financially and don’t know how to get back on their feet.  If you want to be prepared for the future, Cashflow Planning can help you figure out what your goals are and create a plan that will work with your budget – even if you live paycheck-to-paycheck!

What is Cash Flow Planning?

Simply put Cashflow Planning shows you in real time – where you are now, how much money you could have in the future and whether you are on track to achieve your financial goals. It will help give you a better understanding of how you spend your money and how you can make it work harder for you.

It is based on facts! You have a certain amount of money to spend each month and how you spend your money will impact on your future finances – either positively or negatively.

How can Cashflow Planning help you?

Cashflow Planning makes the financial process simpler, more visual and engaging for you – the client! It uses sophisticated software where you input details of all your income and expenditure (the hardest part is being honest with yourself and us!). This information is collated and then analysed by us and a Financial Plan is put in place based on your own financial goals. It is avery helpful tool when making important decisions about your money.

Here are some of the benefits to you:

 

  1. Shows you where your money is going and where savings can be made
  2. Helps you set short, medium and long term financial goals
  3. Helps you to think about your future, what you want to achieve and when
  4. Shows if you need to take more or less risk with your investment strategy
  5. Shows the impact if your income stopped suddenly (through job loss, illness or death of an earner)
  6. Shows what changes you need to make now in your plans to achieve your goals
  7. You can explore many different scenarios in one meeting and visually see the results
  8. Shows how you would be affected by a market crash
  9. Most commonly used for Retirement Planning

 

Real Client Example

Let us illustrate how useful Cashflow Planning can be through an example of a real client we recently helped – a single lady in her 40’s. She approached us for a review on her finances and wanted her money to work better for her.

Her main worry was that as a single person, working part-time, she couldn’t afford to save for her future and felt vulnerable.

We took a look at all her income and outgoings, and discovered with a little adjustment she could do the following:

  • Pay off her car loan using current savings (was paying a high interest rate)
  • Found some ways to increase her income
  • Cancelled some subscriptions she agreed she was not getting value from
  • Put Personal Cover in place – Specified Serious Illness Cover
  • Started to provide for her retirement via a PRSA via salary deduction with her Employer
  • Consulted her solicitor about making a will

Her feedback was very positive and she regretted she didn’t consult with us earlier in her career but now feels more secure about her financial future and has a clear plan in place with us to guide her through it. As with everything in life, a Financial Plan can change throughout the years, and we will review her Financial Plan and see if any changes need to be made.

We were delighted to learn that since meeting with us, our client has taken up full-time employment and is looking at setting up her own business.

We are very passionate about Cashflow Planning and strongly believe it has the ability to transform the financial planning process for you! It a valuable visual representation of your life and is easy for you to engage with and easy to understand.

Financial Freedom is possible and we can help you on the right path through our Cashflow Planning service. Being aware of your spending is the first step towards helping you achieve your goals.

What are you waiting for ?? Call 061 – 412388 or message us to set up your Cash Flow Planning Consultation now.

Pensions with a Previous Employer | Do you know what to do?

 

You may recently have changed employers, lost your job or decided to set up on your own. Changing jobs a few times during your career is not uncommon. In a recent survey by Microsoft 41% of employees said they were considering a career change as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changing jobs is stressful and thinking about your pension is the last thing you want to do. Often your pension just gets left behind. Why? It’s just easier! Employees often have multiple jobs over the course of their career and this can lead to multiple pensions with different options. Confusing – most certainly yes!

Leaving your pension invested with your previous employer is not always the best thing to do. When you leave employment, you should seek financial advice on the various options offered to you i.e. move to your new employer’s pension scheme, move to a Personal Retirement Bond, move to a PRSA, or leave invested with your old employer. Its understandable that pensions remain with an old employer – it is hard to deal with this on your own.

You should know whether your pension(s) are Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution as this will help you understand the options that are offered as a result.

 

Defined Benefit pension vs. Defined Contribution

 

A Defined Benefit and a Defined Contribution are both types of Company Pension Schemes. A defined benefit pension plan (DB) sets out the specific benefit that will be paid to you when you retire. This calculation takes into account factors such as the number of years an employee has worked and their salary, which then dictates the pension and/or lump sum that will be paid on retirement.

A defined contribution pension (DC) is an accumulation of funds that makes up a person’s pension pot. A person contributes a portion of their salary to a pension scheme. The employer also contributes (although not always !) and these contributions are invested in a fund in order to provide retirement benefits. There is tax relief on this type of pension and the benefits at retirement will depend on a number of different factors such as the contribution levels, how the investment fund performs, plan charges and fees and the annuity rates available when you retire.

 

Defined Benefit Pensions | Real Client Example

 

We recently helped a gentleman (married with adult children) whom reached retirement age and had a Defined Benefit pension.

His former employer, a semi-state company, had offered him an enhanced Transfer Value and he needed help in deciding which option best suited his individual circumstances i.e. remain within the Defined Benefit Scheme or accept the Transfer Value.

It’s an important decision that cannot be taken lightly and all options must be reviewed and considered carefully.

We considered his personal circumstances, the financial health of the Defined Benefit Scheme and the advantages and disadvantages of transferring from a Defined Benefit to a Defined Contribution plan as well as his retirement options. His wife was involved in the process as it is important that both spouses make this decision together. His main concern was passing a lump sum to his estate should he pass away.

There are risks involved with either option. If you remain with the Defined Benefit Scheme, the current financial health of the scheme may improve or diminish over time. Transferring out gives you greater flexibility in terms of when and how you access your benefits, and gives you greater control over the funds your pension invests in and how these are passed onto your estate.

Using Cash Flow planning, we were able to provide a comparison report illustrating the differences between the two scenarios and their various outcomes – known as ‘what if’ scenarios. This enabled him to make an informed decision using both visuals and projected benefits. There are risks involved in staying in the Defined Benefit Scheme – or in taking the transfer value.

Our client opted to accept the Transfer Value as he wanted more control over his pension and wanted greater flexibility in terms of how and when he accessed his pension benefits. We guided him through the transfer process and he was happy to access his tax-free lump sum once the transfer was complete.

He was happy that we clarified his options for him as each individual case is different. He loved the visuals and the summary report that Cash Flow Planning provided and said it gave him clarity of mind.

If you are offered a transfer value from your Defined Benefit Pension, we recommend you seek the advice of a Financial Adviser whom will guide you the process and establish the right course of action for you.

This does not constitute financial advice for you. A full Factfind & Needs Analysis would need to be carried out before recommending the best solution for your own personal circumstances.

 

Steps you can take

 

When you retire, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made. You will have to decide what type of lifestyle you wish to fund for, and how much money you’ll need each month.

Pension transfers are complicated and there is an onerous amount of paperwork to be completed. Even if you understand the process well enough, deciding on which option works best for your personal needs can still be confusing.

Sunrise Financial Planning specialise in this area and can review your pensions. We know that everyone’s financial situation is different so we offer flexible solutions, designed to meet individual requirements while taking into account all relevant factors when making recommendations regarding pensions transfer options. We want to make sure that it is in your best interest!

Our goal is to help people make informed choices about their retirement plans by providing expert guidance through every step of the process – from the initial review and planning stage, to executing the details and managing the complete transfer of funds.

Once you’re ready to move any existing old pensions, we’ll provide all the necessary assistance including:

-Reviewing your current pension arrangements

-Identifying options for transferring or cashing in on your pensions

-Securing professional advice where needed

If you have a question regarding your company pensions, old pensions or are looking for pension transfer options, you’ve come to the right place!

Please feel free to send us a direct message on social media or an email to grainne@sunrisefinancialplanning.ie