March Edition of ‘Whit & Wisdom’ with Tom Fielding: Discussing Pensions, Mortgages, and Financial Planning

In this edition of ‘Whit and Wisdom,’ we had the privilege of sitting down with Tom Fielding, an independent financial advisor with over two decades of experience in the financial services industry.

He has been steering his venture, Fielding Financial Services, since 2006. Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Fielding emphasises compliance with stringent regulations, ensuring that all advice meets the high standards expected in today’s financial landscape.

Based in Abergavenny but serving clients across the UK, Fielding has adapted to the digital age, offering consultations via zoom, email, and phone calls, eliminating the need for face-to-face meetings.

Reflecting on the past decade, Fielding notes a significant tightening in financial regulations, a change that has markedly enhanced client protection. This shift has ushered in a more professional era for the industry, distancing it from the previous practices where banks and insurance companies could sell products not always aligned with the client’s best interests.

“Certainly, within the last 10 years, the regulations have become a lot stricter. But the good thing about that is it’s there to protect you as the client.”

The Critical Role of Pensions in Financial Planning

Fielding passionately advocates for early participation in pension schemes, highlighting the compounded growth potential over time.

“The sooner you can start saving, the better. Even if it doesn’t seem like a significant amount, the earlier you start, the longer you’re saving for and the more potential for whatever pot you’ve got to grow.”

With the introduction of auto-enrolment by employers, he underscores the value of staying enrolled to benefit from employer contributions.

It’s normally in your best interest to join your employer’s pension scheme, because whatever you contribute into, they normally at least contribute the same, sometimes more.”

Addressing misconceptions, he clarifies the flexibility offered by current pension rules, advising against withdrawing entire pension pots due to tax implications.

“With a pension, the first 25% that you draw out is tax-free. After that, they treat it exactly the same way as if you earned that income from employment or self-employment, so you’re going to pay tax on it.”

Navigating Mortgages in a Volatile Market

The discussion transitioned to the mortgage landscape, marked by recent fluctuations in interest rates. Fielding strongly recommends consulting an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) or mortgage broker to navigate the complex market efficiently. These professionals can identify lenders whose criteria and rates best match the client’s specific situation, saving time and potentially money.

“It’s always better to go for an IFA, or an independent mortgage broker. The main reason is that they know all different lenders’ criteria and can navigate the market for you to find you the best possible, not just the best deal, but also the best lender that’s suited to your circumstances.”

Future Outlook on Interest Rates

Amidst speculations on the trajectory of interest rates, Fielding expresses cautious optimism. He anticipates potential rate cuts that could ease the burden on borrowers, though he is pragmatic about the likelihood of returning to the historically low rates seen in previous years.

“The main thing with the mortgage industry has been the volatility the last 18 months to two years with interest rates going up. And what has happened is lots of lenders offering  fixed-rate mortgages, but then pulling them at very short notice.”

Special Considerations for the Security Industry

Fielding addresses unique challenges faced by individuals in the security industry seeking mortgages, particularly those paid in currencies like the US dollar. His expertise enables him to guide clients through these hurdles, emphasising the importance of how financial information is presented to lenders.

The Constantly Evolving Landscape of Financial Advice

Concluding the interview, Fielding shares insights into the challenges and opportunities within the financial advisory field, particularly about mortgage advising amid interest rate volatility. His optimism for the future shines through, suggesting a landscape where informed advice and strategic planning become even more critical.

Tom Fielding’s comprehensive insights into pensions, property, and mortgages underscore the importance of expert financial advice in navigating the complexities of financial planning. Whether it’s starting early on pensions, choosing the right mortgage in a fluctuating market, or addressing the specific needs of those in the security industry, Fielding’s expertise offers invaluable guidance for making informed financial decisions.

Having known Tom for many years and personally benefited from his services, Anna confidently recommends him as a trusted financial advisor. If you’re seeking sound financial advice, Tom is undoubtedly your go-to professional. For further details and to connect with Tom, please find his contact information linked below.

Raglan Chambers, 63 Frogmore Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 5AU

Tel: 01873 856716