Regular Savings Donegal

You’ve worked hard
for your money.

Now it’s time to make your
money work for you.

Why should I start saving for my future?

Remember your first piggy bank or putting your pocket money away to get the latest computer game? Saving is something we have learned from an early age. But as we get older, our savings plans become bigger and there’s more to consider. After all, piggy banks don’t earn interest or have to worry about who brings home the bacon

Whether you are planning for your new home, a perfect wedding, college fees or simply for peace of mind against unforeseen events, a sensible savings plan can make all the difference. Advice First Financial can help by offering you a wide range of savings solutions whatever your needs may be.

Below, are story’s from some people who have taken steps to plan ahead. Through their stories, we hope you will see the benefits of taking action and be encouraged to do something about it today

Seán’s Story

“It was time for me to focus on the things that really matter in life”

Seán, 42 and his partner Kathryn are celebrating the arrival of child number three, their beautiful baby daughter Sinéad. “I love being a parent,” says Seán, “it totally changes your perspective on life.

With additional priorities to consider, Seán has decided to look again at his savings plan. He recently inherited some money from his grandfather and wants to use it sensibly. Seán says, “Some of it will pay for a long overdue family holiday in the summer. And we’re planning to invest the rest to build up a bigger pot for our family’s future.
It’s money we were never counting on, so our goal is to use it for something useful, like our kids’ education.” Seán is happy to put this money away as a lump sum for ten to fifteen years. So, he has chosen an Investment Bond as it gives him control over how his savings are invested. And he has the peace of mind that he can access his money at any time.

Seán choose an Investment Bond because:

  1. It’s a long-term investment option for his lump sum.
  2. It’s a great place to invest, with potential to grow his money.
  3. He can change the level of investment risk if circumstances change
Spending Saving Budget Three Road Signs Arrows

Warning: The value of your investment may go down as well as up.

Warning: If you invest in this product, you may lose some or all of the money you invest

Claire’s Story

“I know my savings are working hard and not sitting idle in a bank account”

Claire is one year away from a significant birthday.

“Next year I’ll be 50 and that undeniable fact has lit a fire under me.” That’s why Claire recently met

with an Advice First Advisor and put a plan together to secure her financial future.

A big part of that plan involves retiring as early as possible and spending more time in the cottage she bought with her husband in Mayo. “I spend a lot of time out of the country on business and I’m beginning to miss home more and more,” says Claire.

“Mayo is where I grew up and it’s where I want to end up.”

With her pension plans in place, Claire has opened a Regular Savings Plus plan and

intends to put a regular amount away each month. “It feels good to know that I’m saving

towards the next family holiday or building up a little pot for a rainy day. And I like knowing that my

money has the potential to grow.”

Claire choose a Regular Savings Plus plan because:

  • She can vary the savings amount.
  • She has the option to make a lump-sum injection.
  • It’s a way to save a little more on top of her pension.
  • She has the potential to grow her savings through investment choices.
Warning: The value of your investment may go down as well as up.

Warning: If you invest in this product, you may lose some or all of the money you invest

Saving: the basics

Before deciding what to do with your money, it’s important to have a plan. Here are some simple steps to get started.

  1. Set your savings goal

Draw up a ‘wish list’ of the things you would like to achieve and prioritise these.

  1. Estimate the cost of each of these goals

Draw up a rough estimate of how much money you would need in order to turn your goals in to reality.

  1. Decide on a budget

Now you should be able to work out approximately how much you will need to save on a monthly basis in order to achieve your savings goal. At this point you will see how realistic your targets are. You might need to relook at your monthly expenditure and ways to reduce your spending in order to maximise your savings budget. Advice First have some handy tools to help you with this.

  1. Are you a regular saver, lump sum investor or both?

Whether you intend to save regularly over a number of years or you have a lump sum to invest, we have lots of sensible options to choose from.

  1. Your risk profile

Your savings contributions will be invested with a view to growing your

money. How that money is invested depends on how much investment risk you are prepared to accept. Everyone’s attitude to risk is different. Choosing your own savings strategy will involve deciding on the level of return you are looking for and balancing it against the level of risk you are

comfortable with.

That’s why the providers offer a wide range of investment solutions involving different levels of risk.

If you would like to work out your attitude towards investment risk, give us a call and we will be happy to access you.

Before deciding what to do with your money, it’s important to have a plan. Here are some simple

steps to get started

Investment solutions made easy

There are a wide range of solutions available for investors. Below is a quick guide. Once you have had time to consider your options, you should speak to a Trusted Financial Advisor.

 

Plans for Regular Savers

 

Watch your savings grow over time by putting an amount away regularly in a Regular Savings Plan.

Your savings are invested in a range of investment funds depending on your risk profile.

Choose if:

· You want to save regularly for at least five years.

· You want the potential to earn a good return on your savings.

· You want the flexibility of being able to access your savings if you need to, with options available that give you access to your money without any penalties.

The Benefits:

· You can save from as little as €100 per month.

· Option to vary the regular payments if required and to make a once-off lump-sum injection.

· You can tailor the plan to your needs with our wide range of investment funds.

· We have access to an extensive range of investment funds with varied risk profiles.

· You can check the value of your savings plan any time through the online Client Centre

Investment Bond for

Lump Sum Investors

Suitable if you have a lump sum of money to invest, such as an inheritance or existing savings. Your money can be invested in a range of

investment funds.

Choose if:

· You are looking to invest for five years or more.

· You have over €5,000 to invest.

The Benefits:

 

· You have an excellent investment fund choice to suit your attitude to risk.

· You can switch and move between a range of investment funds.

· If you need access to your money, that’s no problem as there are options available that give you access to your money without any penalties.

· You can check the value of your investment bond any time by logging on to the online Client Centre.

Combination Investors

If you have a lump sum to invest AND would like to continue to make regular

contributions over time.

Choose if:

· You have a lump sum to invest and want to continue to save regularly for at least five years.

· You want the potential to earn a good return on your savings.

· You do not need instant access to your savings.

The Benefits:

· You can save from as little as €100 per month.

· You can tailor the plan to your needs with our wide range of investment funds.

· You can check the value of your savings plan any time by logging in the online Client Centre.

Warning: If you invest in this product, you may lose some or all of the money you invest.

Investment risk & return

No one wants to take any unnecessary risks with their investment.

However, there is a trade-off between risk and return. The lower the level of risk that you are prepared to take, the lower the potential for any investment gains/losses. Likewise, the higher the level of risk assumed, the higher the potential for investment gains, but also the potential for higher investment losses.

And the range of investment funds are categorised using a 1 – 7 scale. The ratings are based on a scale that looks at a fund’s volatility over a 5 year period, 1 being the lowest risk (lowest volatility) and 7 being the highest risk (highest volatility).

Regular Savings Risk Return Rating Advice First Financial

The Advantage of the Regular Savings Plan

The plan has been designed to make investing simple for you. When you invest, your money is placed in your choice of funds. Through these funds, you can access a broader portfolio of assets than could be achieved by an individual saver.

You can choose a fund which matches your investor profile, in terms of the level of risk you wish to take, however once you make your choice of funds, the fund choice applies for the life of the plan.

The value of your investment is linked to the value of the underlying assets in the funds you select, and it is important to note that this value may decrease as well as increase. Although investment returns are not guaranteed, you can rest assured that your investment is expertly managed by Life Company’s investment team.

Warning: The value of your investment may go down as well as up.

Warning: Benefits may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates.

Warning: If you invest in this product, you may lose some or all of the money you invest

Take the next step

When it comes to your savings and investments, Advice First is committed to doing the best we can for our customers. So, if you’d like to take the next step, get in touch today.

What is a Financial Broker?
A Financial Broker is an expert in financial matters who works with you to understand your savings and investment goals and objectives, and helps you create a plan to meet those goals. Your Financial Broker will research the options available to you including deposits, investment funds, savings plans and tracker bonds, from the range of companies they deal with.

Why would I need to use a Financial Broker like Advice First Financial?
Choosing the right savings and investment products can be a daunting task. Some savings and investment products may be suitable for you, and some may not.
As your personal and financial circumstances change over time, so will your savings and investment needs. Advice First will be able to explain the choices available to you in simple language allowing you to make an informed decision.

We will guide you through the basic elements of investing – risk and return, diversification, and your attitude to risk – and ensure you understand what’s at stake.

We will get to know you, your personal and financial circumstances, financial plans and your attitude to and capacity for investment risk – products like investment funds, for example, can contain a level of risk that you need to be aware of.

We will guide you through the process of setting up your savings and investment product and help you to make sense of charges, tax on returns and investment risk. We will advise and assist you in developing a well-researched and structured savings and investment portfolio that is compatible with your attitude to and capacity for investment risk and is designed to achieve your goals as far as possible. Ultimately, we will ensure you choose the products best suited to you.

Your Advice First Advisor will guide you through the basic elements of investing

Factors you should also consider when choosing a Savings Plan

When you choose to start a Savings Plan, there will be a number of different things to consider:

  • What’s the recommended minimum savings and investment term of the product?
    Some products may be suitable for short-term investment, while others may require you to take a longer-term view. Generally, a savings plan would have a term of 5+ years
  • What kind of access will I have to my money?

 Some products offer immediate access while others may lock up your money for a particular period. 

  • What is the associated investment risk?
    Some products may guarantee to return your full investment while others may involve a risk of getting back less than you put in. The more guarantees you require the lower the potential returns.
  • How will my returns be taxed?

The income and/or capital gain you earn may be taxed in different ways, depending on the type of product.
For example, deposit interest may be subject to Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) while gains from life assurance savings and investment policies are subject to an ‘exit tax’ deduction before payment to you.

Investments can be complex but getting the right fund for you can make a serious difference to your eventual return, especially for longer term savings and investments.

Your Trusted Financial Advisor will be able to guide you through the different options available to you. Based on their knowledge of your financial circumstances, your goals and your attitude to risk, they can help you choose a particular product that will meet your requirements and help you achieve your financial objectives.

Is it better to save or invest?

Saving and investing are both good ways to grow your money, but they are quite different.

So, how do you decide whether to save or invest?

Saving means putting money aside in a bank deposit or regular savings account and earning interest (hopefully) on that money. People generally save for a particular short or medium term goal – a new car, a deposit for a house, or to build up a rainy-day fund – knowing that their Money (capital) is not at risk.

Investing typically means committing your money for a longer period of time in the hope of making more money than you would by saving. There is risk involved. There is usually no guarantee that you will make larger amounts of money or even that you will get all of your capital back.

However, depending on how your investments perform, you could grow your money considerably more than you would by saving.

Will you need to access your money within 5 years?

Are you happy to invest your money for more than 5 years or do you think you might need it sooner? If you think you might need all of your money within 5 years, you might want to consider savings accounts instead of investments.

Can you leave your money untouched for more than 5 years?

If you can commit to investing for more than 5 years, there are a range of options for you to choose from which could potentially provide better returns than deposits in the longer term. This could be important if you want to you achieve longer term goals such as building a child’s education fund or saving towards your retirement. Finding which approach is right for you is important.

When should you consider investing?

You may want to consider starting to invest after you have built up some savings in a ‘rainy day’ fund, paid off any high-interest debts and committed to a retirement plan.

Have you built-up your rainy-day fund?

Before investing, try to save at least 3 months of living expenses so that you are covered if you suddenly have to pay for a sudden unexpected event such as a gap between jobs or having to replace a car.

Set up a direct debit or standing order to pay money into a deposit account or a regular saving account as soon as you get paid. You can start from as little as you like a month, the most important thing is to start.

Have you paid off any high-interest debt?

If you have a high-interest loan or a credit card debt, you are usually paying interest payments as well as repaying the capital. By paying off the high-interest debt in full as soon as possible, you’ll reduce the total amount you owe faster, freeing up money to put toward savings or investing later on.

Are you making pension contributions?

If one of your long-term goals is a comfortable lifestyle in retirement you should contribute the maximum amount you can afford into your retirement accounts.

Are you putting money aside towards kids’ college expenses?

It is important to start putting money aside for your children’s 3rd level education as early as possible if you can. If these expenses are more than 5 years away, you may consider the investment options available.

Investing in funds is straightforward and accessible. Whether you’re new to investing or a more experienced investor, you can choose an approach to suit your financial goals and preferences.

Saving and investing compared

Save

Investing

Ready access to cash

A savings or deposit account gives you access to your cash when you need it. Some deposit accounts have restrictions on the amount, frequency or notice required to make withdrawals.

Usually used for long-term goals

Investing can help you reach long-term goals, such as paying for a child’s education or planning for retirement.

Involves minimal risk

Your funds are covered, subject to limits, by the deposit guarantee scheme.

Longer-to-access invested funds

When you invest your money, you may not have access to your money for a set period of time or it can take a few more days or weeks to access your money compared to a savings account.

Earn interest

You can earn interest by putting money in a savings account, but savings accounts may earn a lower return than investments.

Always involves risk

Investing does not guarantee a return, and it is possible to lose some, or all of the funds invested.

Low returns

Interest rates are particularly low at present but even over long periods of time, the returns from deposits are lower than other investment options and may be lower than inflation.

Earnings potential

Investments have the potential for higher returns than a savings account.

What some of our happy Regular Savings customers have to say…

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Pascal and team were very helpful when we were buying our home. We had a couple of issues with the sale and the team helped push along the sale. Pascal was very knowledgeable and it was a pleasure working with him. Definitely would recommend him to anyone looking for a mortgage.

5
Peter Kelly
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I have to say my experience of working with Pascal was second to none. When looking for my mortgage ,which was a bit complicated Pascal worked very hard and put me in the right direction to solve the situation. He was very professional in all aspects of his work and I can recommend him as a financial advisor.

5
Annie Gallagher
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I Was referred to Pascal as we wanted to switch mortgages. Although we were aware of what was involved, there were tips and advice Pascal gave us that was invaluable. He advised and directed us and offered his services but felt we were capable of completing the switch ourselves. The best money we’ve ever spent.

5
Grainne Sheils
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Pascal and his team are brilliant. They guided us through our mortgage application every step of the way. Very responsive, knowledgeable and friendly service. Would highly recommend.

5
Paul Tully
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We have been dealing with Pascal at Advice First since 2005. He has helped us so much through the years with our mortgage, Life Insurance, Income Protection and financial guidance. Pascal is so kind and explains everything so well. His attention to detail is second to none and always on hand if we need advice. I would highly recommend Advice First Financial Services.

5
Caroline & Gary McLaughlin

Regular Savings Donegal – FAQ’s

Can I protect against inflation?

Yes, you can choose to protect your savings plan against the effects of inflation. This means that you increase the amount you save every year by up to 5% or the annual rate of inflation, whichever is higher. If you choose this option, the provider will write to you every year giving you the chance to refuse the increase.

Will I pay tax on my returns?

The current government levy on life-insurance payments is 1%. Your provider will pay this levy out of the money they receive from you. They will then invest the rest of your money. They will pay you the amount which is left after tax. Under current Irish tax law, you must pay tax on any profit you make on your savings plan. The tax rate is currently 41% (July 2022). If the plan is owned by a company the tax rate that applies may be different.

The provider will collect any government taxes or levies and pass them directly to the Revenue Commissioners. They will pay this tax (if it is due):

  • when you cash in all or part your plan.
  • when you die, if the plan is owned by two people, when the last surviving owner dies.
  • when you transfer ownership of your plan to someone else. There are some exceptions to this; however, you must inform the life company if you transfer ownership of the investment to someone else; or every 8th anniversary from the start of your plan. Where tax is deducted from your fund on each 8th anniversary, this tax can be offset against any tax that is payable on a subsequent encashment.

Can I change my mind?

You want to make sure that you are happy with your decision to invest. But you will have 30 days, from the day when the provider sends you your documents, to change your mind and cancel your plan. If you cancel the plan within the 30 days, all benefits will end, and they will refund your regular payments. If you paid in any lump sum payments, you will get back your original investment less any reduction in the value of your investment that may have happened while the plan was in place.

What happens if I want to cash in the policy early or stop paying premiums?

You can cash in your savings plan at any stage subject to any delay periods mentioned below. If you cash in your plan either fully or partly within the first five years, an early withdrawal charge may apply to the amount you receive.
The provider will reduce your fund value by the early withdrawal charge. This charge may be equal to 5% of the cash in amount in years one to three, 3% of the cash in amount in year four and 1% of the cash in amount in the fifth year. After five years there will be no charge on full or partial withdrawals.

The minimum partial withdrawal is €200 after tax. You may stop making payments at any stage, either temporarily or completely. In certain circumstances, there may be a delay on encashments.
This may be because there are a large number of customers wishing to put money in or encash their fund or part of their fund at the same time, or if there are practical problems buying or selling the assets within the fund or if a fund manager who is responsible for the investment of any part of the fund imposes a delay or if you invest in markets or funds with assets with significant time differences including trading or settlement time differences.

Due to the high cost and time involved in buying or selling properties, a delay of this sort is most likely to happen if you are invested in a property fund (or a fund with a high proportion of property or property related assets). The length of any delay will depend on how long it takes us to buy or sell the assets in the fund. A significant delay would be likely to apply in this situation. Delayed transactions will be based on the value of units at the end of the delay period when the transaction actually takes place.

When there are more customers moving out of a fund than making new investments in it, or there are more customers making new investments than moving out of the fund, the provider may reduce the value of the units in the fund to reflect the percentage of the costs associated with buying and selling the assets of the fund.
The reduction in the value of the affected assets will be different for each fund and is likely to be most significant for the proportion of any fund invested in property. The reduction for any part of the fund invested with fund managers may happen at a different time to the reduction for the rest of the fund.

The value of your investment may go down as well as up. Therefore, your cash-in value may be less than the payment you have made.

Are returns guaranteed and can the premium be reviewed?

In most cases no, any illustrations of future performance you receive are not guaranteed. What you get back depends on how your investments grow. You could get back more or less than these projected benefits

What happens if I die?

If you die while the plan is in force, the benefit payable will be 100.1% of the value of your fund, less any tax payable.

What is the term of the contract?

There is no specified term to your Savings plan. It is an open-ended savings plan and will remain in force while you are alive until you decide to terminate it.

Should I invest or save?

Unfortunately, there is the chance that the value of a savings plan will decrease over time. You may be wondering, “Why not keep my money safe in the bank then?” In a nutshell, if you’re ready to invest, the potential benefits of investing could outweigh the risks.
In the bank, your money is either earning no interest, earning very little interest, or even costing you money. In fact, if your money is earning interest, it’s rarely greater than inflation, meaning that interest isn’t giving you more purchasing power in the long run.
Investing, on the other hand, is an opportunity for passive income. In other words, putting in little to no effort to potentially make money.

Am I ready to invest?

First, take a look at your current financial situation to make sure that you’re ready to get started investing.

  • Do you have any debt that you need to pay off first?
  • Is there a specific time that you expect to need the money back?

Do you have enough saved to cover 3-6 months of normal living costs?

What is Volatility?

Volatility is the change in price or value of an asset, especially in the short term. This is completely normal. It can be caused by changes in the asset itself, or changes in the market.

Low volatility = less risk of large changes in value. High volatility = higher risk of drastic ups and downs.

Why do I have to save for more than 5 years?

As a rule of thumb, the longer you can leave your money invested, the better. And one of the reasons for this is that the longer it’s invested, the more it could benefit from something called compound returns. The principle operates on the basis that you’ve invested your money, and that your investments have grown in value. So, after the first year, you’ve earned a return on your initial investment. In the second and subsequent years, any returns you earned would be on both your initial investment and previous investment growth also.

Can I vary my contribution?

Yes, you can. Although you should start your plan with a contribution you know can afford. So, some budget planning first.

  • You can save from as little as €150 per month.
  • You have the option to vary the regular payments if required and to make a lump sum injection at any stage.
  • You can increase, decrease, start and stop your saving contributions anytime.
  • You can change the fund(s) you are invested in any time without charge

Can I change my investment choice?

You sure can. With a range of investments to choose from you can ensure your savings are invested in funds to match your risk profile and investment time horizon. You can change the investment choices as your risk profile changes, it is important to review your investment at least annually. Your trusted Financial Advisor will help and guide you on the different investment funds available.

What happens to my contributions?

To make sure that all customers are treated equally and fairly, each fund is divided into a number of identical units.

Your contributions will be used to buy units in your choice of fund(s) and the value of each unit will move up and down in line with the market value of the fund’s investment.

Who can have one?

Anyone between the age of 18 and 79 can invest in a Regular Savings Plan. Your savings policy can be opened in a single name or joint names.

Can I make partial withdrawals?

Yes, you can withdraw some of your money from Savings Plan at any time. There will be a minimum withdrawal amount, depending on your provider and after each withdrawal you must leave a residual value of at least €1,000 in your policy.

Is there a charge for making withdrawals?

A charge may apply to your partial or regular withdrawals for up to 5 years from your policy start date and can be up to 5% of the value of the amount withdrawn. The charge can also be less than this. The actual charge and the period for which it applies will depend on how long your policy has been in force. Your Financial Advisor will confirm whether this charge applies to your policy and how it works.

If you have questions or need Regular Savings, call 074 9103938 or email now