It’s that time of year, when Business Link invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead.
It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.
Today we speak to Ben Smalley, partner at Belmayne Independent Chartered Financial Planners.
Where on earth should we start with 2021?
The last 12 months have had a profound effect on the way we live and work and despite the challenges we’ve faced, I cannot believe how quickly they passed. I for one, now value my time more preciously, as I believe do many of my clients.
I cannot see the way we interact in business reverting to pre-COVID practises. We have successfully delivered meetings over the internet and many of the people I ‘met’ virtually remarked how well it worked. Instead of having to travel, we can catch up wherever and whenever we want.
The pandemic also forced efficiencies upon us that I have no doubt will remain, such as emailing or sharing documents online, rather than printing them. Businesses that have adapted to these changes and have strong environmental, social and governance credentials will continue to thrive in 2021.
We have seen many employers fall by the wayside recently, with devasting consequences for staff livelihoods and pensions. As a result of this job uncertainty, I am sure more individuals will take an active interest in how and where their savings are deployed. Are they properly diversified? Are they invested in companies that reflect their beliefs?
Finally, I predict more people now have a clearer idea of how they want to live. This is music to my ears – financial planners need to build a picture of your retirement. But that begs the all-important question…how much is enough to get you there?