chimp in a suit making bad financial planning decisionsThe good news is that the human brain has trebled in size over the past two million years or so.

Less good is the fact that it has developed, not as a unified organ, but as a conglomerate of semi-independent systems specialising in different cerebral functions.

This huge growth in brainpower has, however, taken us out of cave and into the shopping centre.

And it differentiates us from animals in one important respect:  our brains give us the ability to make imaginative and emotional predictions about the future.  Unfortunately, we are not very good at it.

Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, says in his book, Stumbling on Happiness, that most of us are bad at imagining a realistic future for ourselves because of our emotional tendency to focus on happy outcomes while blanking out the practical and mundane steps we need to take in order to achieve that future.

This, of course, has serious implications for our ability to make good financial provision for ourselves and our loved ones.

When it comes to making investments and financial planning, as in many other areas of life, we think about the future in terms of today.  We expect that we ourselves will have changed very little in twenty, thirty or forty years’ time even though we may have already changed greatly over the course of our lives.

In our imagination we gloss over the fact that time is a powerful force that transforms our world and ourselves, while reshaping our values, beliefs and preferences.

Our inability to see ourselves as “old” can have a profoundly bad effect on our finances and investments – not least for the amount of inheritance tax we could be exposing our heirs to after we die.

This, combined with our all too human tendency to put off financial planning until such time as we have more time, means that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs collects an estimated £3 billion in unnecessary inheritance tax each year.

Which is why the menu of investment services we offer at The Whitehall Partnership begins by letting people know where they stand financially.

We have developed a unique service called Valueplus.  This is an investment strategy planning tool designed to help you get to grips with your current investment planning and pensions as well as your potential exposure to inheritance tax.

Using Valueplus, we will study the small print of all your existing investments and give you a detail written report that spells out exactly what you are paying in charges, the levels of risk you are exposed to and whether or not your investments are suitable for your circumstances, and, ultimately,  if they match your expectations.

We will sit down with you and help you to put practical flesh on the bones of your long-term financial ambitions and help to ensure that your dreams do become reality.

To arrange an introductory face-to-face meeting, at no cost to yourself, call The Whitehall Partnership today on 0845 43 49 250. We provide an excellent range of investment services and cover most West Midlands areas, including Birmingham and Worcester.


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