Richard T Lishman: Your finances moving forward
There’s no denying that the past year has been full of trials. We not only continue to brave a global pandemic, but also now must face the consequences this is having on the economy, our businesses and our way of life. Add to this the effects of Brexit, and it’s easy to see why many people are looking to safeguard themselves and their finances as much as possible during this time.
But where do you begin? In a time of uncertainty, it’s important to set out some distinct goals for yourself and to think of your finances more broadly. It’s also a good idea to think of ways to streamline your finances going forward and to see if there are ways to protect various assets.
It’s more than likely that your income is your main source of funds. Therefore, protecting this amount is necessary during these times, especially as challenges for dental practices continue. Though the latest lockdown rules (at the time writing) have stated that dental practices can continue to see patients, there’s no guarantee that stricter measures won’t be enforced again in the future.
Income Protection may be something worth looking into, especially if you’re worried about what may happen in the months to come. As a type of health insurance, Income Protection policies cover you in the event of not being able to work due to sickness, injury or accident, and can usually insure up to 65% of your annual salary depending on the type of policy you choose.
With the current crisis ongoing there are many of these policies that may not cover certain situations. It’s always worth reading the fine print of any Income Protection policies as some of these might be unsuitable for dental professionals.
Cover the worst-case scenarios
It may not be pleasant to think about, but with dentists being on the front line during the current pandemic, there’s always a chance that you may contract a serious illness. What this means for you and your family is something that you should have mapped out, especially if you fall under any of the higher risk categories of contracting the virus.
Life Assurance policies are much like other insurance policies in that they pay out a lump sum in a certain event, in this case, if you die. Premiums vary hugely depending on the evaluated risk you present, and in these times it’s not unusual for the risks of coronavirus to come into play when choosing a policy.
Those with existing Life Assurance policies that were taken out before the start of the pandemic will remain unaffected by these new risks. However, if you are considering a new policy, then it’s very important to look at the finer details and see what restrictions and caveats these contracts hold.
For example, a lot of group Life Assurance policies have recently withdrawn the Free Cover during the underwriting process, effectively meaning that there are changes to the amount of cover you will have with these types of policy without any requirement of medical evidence.
Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you are looking to take out a new policy that coronavirus questions will be part of the process. If you have tested positive for the virus or been advised to self-isolate, it’s likely this will impact your application.
With the new tax year looming, it’s also a good idea to get a head start on your tax planning. This means making time in your agenda, especially as this is another area that could hold some uncertainty depending on how things progress.
By tax planning effectively, you can help to lower the amount of taxable income on your practice as well as increasing your control over taxes moving forward. This translates into some stability during uncertain times, which in turn can help you to formulate the rest of your plans and give you peace of mind.
There is also the opportunity to look into tax relief plans and other similar solutions during this time – perfect if you want to make the most of the available schemes out there and to potentially maximise the income you receive.
Understandably, many of these considerations are complicated and take a lot of time and research to understand fully. As such, it makes sense to seek expert, unbiased advice to ensure that you are taking out the policies and receiving the advice that will benefit you most.
Set yourself up for a better future
As times change and uncertainty continues, it’s important to safeguard yourself as much as possible. By seeking expert advice about your finances and your situation, you can ensure that you are prepared for all eventualities. The award-winning team of Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers at money4dentists have years of experience looking after the best interests of dental professionals.
Photos by MayoFi on Unsplash