Jim's Mont Blanc Trek 2018

Jim's Mont Blanc Trek 2018

One of our financial advisers raised money for Glasgow’s Children’s Hospital Charity by climbing Mont Blanc. Here is Jim’s story of what happened.

Thursday the 6th of September, 18 individuals gathered at Edinburgh airport bound for a flight to Geneva Switzerland. Little did we know we would return 5 days later as a group of friends bound together for life by an experience which none of us will ever forget.

We had all signed up for the Tour du Mont Blanc Trek to raise funds for the fabulous Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity. This was a 4 day trek in the Alps starting in France moving through to Switzerland before finally finishing in northern Italy.

After 9 months of training in the gym and climbing hills in Scotland, I felt ready for this challenge. However, my body had never experienced 4 days of trekking without a break. I was a little nervous that my knees or historic back problems would let me down.

We arrived in Geneva to a downpour which seemed to follow us on our bus journey to Chamonix, where we spent our first night praying the rain would stop. The following morning we awoke to a very grey and miserable sight, with low clouds covering the mountains. This was our worst scenario especially as our guides told us it hadn’t rained for weeks.

However, as we made our way to the starting point in Montroc the rain went off leaving behind low clouds which hampered our climb for the most of the first morning. Then, as if by magic the sun gained in strength, and the clouds started to part, leaving us all in awe at the wonders of the mountains surrounding us. We climbed hard the first morning going higher than Ben Nevis by lunchtime, during the afternoon we crossed back into Switzerland, and the countryside changed into traditional Swiss mountain pastureland with the sound of cowbells ringing for miles. We arrived late afternoon in the village of Trient.

We left Trient early next morning to glorious sunshine, which would bless us every day for the remainder of our trek. We followed a beautiful route past Bovine, a high alpine pasture for grazing cattle. There were stunning views all across the Rhone valley and to the snowy peaks in the distance including the famous Grand Combin. In the afternoon we arrived in the pretty lakeside alpine resort of Champex to our delight our guides had arranged ice cold beers which we drank sitting beside the lake, some of the group were brave enough to have a quick dip in the icy water.

The following morning saw another early start leaving Champex to La Fouly. This was a slightly easier day in terms of climbing ascending 730 metres. Our trek took us 16 miles through Swiss pastures, woodlands and chocolate box villages until we reached the spectacular location of La Fouly surrounded by snow covered mountains. 

The final day saw 18 pairs of weary legs get ready to take on an ascent of 1100m and a 15 mile trek from La Fouly to Courmayeur. This was the highest part of our trek which took us across the Grand Col Ferret and into Italy. A tough and very emotional climb as the summit brought home to everyone why they were here. Each person had a story to tell…….My story started in May 2017 when my youngest granddaughter Isla was born with a congenital heart defect which meant she had to undergo open heart surgery twice in the first year of her life. Although she will attend the heart clinic for the rest of her life, and probably require further surgery when she’s older; little Isla now enjoys a fairly normal, happy lifestyle thanks to the skill and care of the surgeon, doctors and nursing staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.

 Like many others taking part in the trek, I felt I had to give something back to the NHS in appreciation for what they have done and continue to do. Unlike some of the others, my story had a fairly happy ending. During our time together I got to hear everyone’s story; many of them were heart-breaking with parents losing children and others who knew they had no happy ending to their tale. These were truly inspirational people finding the strength and courage to do fantastic things in impossible situations. No parent should ever have to watch their child die.

 From a broken arm to end of life care, from simple play activities to innovative medical equipment and groundbreaking paediatric research,168,000 babies, children and young people from all around the country are treated at the hospital every year. Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity sits firmly at the heart of the hospital, raising money to ensure that our young patients and their families receive the best possible care.

My Just Giving page is still open, if you have a few moments, please have a look.

New Tax Year. Why you should use your allowances early.

New Tax Year. Why you should use your allowances early.

Many people leave using their ISA, Pension and other tax-efficient allowances right up until the tax year end and then in a panic, rush around to try to get them invested/utilised by 5th April each year.

In a lot of cases, they miss the boat!

This is because they don’t realise that, although some things are easy to implement in a timely fashion, whereas other key tax efficient options available to them, take a lot longer to process and therefore they miss the deadline of 5th April.

The 6th April 2018 was the start of a new tax year, so here are some points why you should consider it important to use what allowances you can at the start of each tax year, as opposed to leaving it right up until the end.

The benefit of investing at the start of the tax year and utilising your allowance will mean that it has a longer time span invested, which gives it the opportunity to enhance your returns.

For the 2018/19 tax year, you can invest up to £20,000 in ISA (Individual Savings Account). 
This is by far an easy way to save and you have the options of either investing it in a cash ISA, a stocks and shares ISA, or both. Although with Interest rates currently low, we are finding that most of our clients are choosing to invest in a stocks and shares ISA. 

That’s said, if you feel you are a little nervous about investing straight into stocks and shares ISA, then you could do a combination of stocks and shares and cash ISA’s.

When the time comes that you wish to invest more in stocks and shares ISA, the cash ISA can be easily transported across.

Did you know that from 6th April 2018 you can invest £4,126 into a Junior ISA for your children if they are aged under 18?

Also, if you are between 18 and 40 years of age you can put £4,000 each year into a Lifetime ISA until you reach the age of 50 and providing you do not withdraw it you could benefit from a government bonus of 25% up to a maximum of £1,000 per year.

These are just a few tax efficient options open to you and your family, but there may be many more!

If you wish to discuss the allowances available to you, please contact us hello@genesisltd.uk and arrange a free initial consultation.

So, in summary, the benefits of using your allowances at the start of the tax year are as follows:

  • You have time to sit with a financial adviser and discuss your allowances available for the tax year and you can set a timescale over the 12 months to decide when is best to invest.
  • You get more time invested in the markets which can have the potential to enhance investment returns.
  • You have peace of mind that your family’s wealth is protected should you die.
  • It will relieve your stress levels at the end of each Tax Year.

The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.

 Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstances and is subject to change.

 Tax Planning is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

 

NEXT OF KIN. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISER.

NEXT OF KIN. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISER.

When one person from a couple dies, it is a very traumatic time for the surviving partner.

Having to arrange a funeral, sort out the wills and probate as well as letting all of the financial companies know that someone has passed away.

This is somewhat eased by having a good financial adviser. They will help contact all of the relevant companies to get the relevant forms completed in a timely manner and therefore, make sure that the process isn’t more daunting or complicated than it needs to be for the survivor.

However, it can be somewhat different when both parties die and the next of kin has to try and find out who and what they should deal with in order to sort out the deceased estate.

By introducing your next of kin to your financial adviser, you will have the peace of mind that they will know who to contact in the first instance, so that your financial adviser can ensure that your relatives get everything in order in a prompt manner and probably save hundreds of pounds in extra costs for solicitors to find out all your investment information.

Your next of kin do not need to know all of your personal information whilst you are alive, but they should know who it is to contact, should they need to.

If you wish to discuss the potential impact of your estate after death, please contact us hello@genesisltd.uk and arrange a free initial consultation. We will be pleased to hear from you.