Meet Steve & Helen

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Steve and Helen’s Story

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Steve first got in touch with Riverfall Financial in Spring 2019 when he was looking at the broader question of financial planning for his retirement.

At the time he had just completed 45 years of service for National Grid and had a good final salary pension with them but wondered what his retirement options were as well as the wider consequences this would have on his overall planning.

Jessica McGowan was appointed as his adviser and helped him to retire last year which also ended up including a transfer from his National Grid pension scheme. As part of that process Jessica has done comprehensive financial planning with Steve and his partner Helen.


Around a year later they had started to dream bigger and began talking aobut one day buying their dream home with a bigger garden and garage for Steve’s cars and hobby stuff. They discussed this as still feeling some way off with Jessica in their bi-annual review meeting in January this year, but by the end of February things had progressed and so Steve and Jessica looked at their options and many versions of possible calculations later, worked out the best way for them to fund it without hindering them financially. Jessica and the team sorted out the funds which needed doing before the tax year end and introduced them to a Mortgage adviser to assist with the transaction. As a result, Steve and Helen have now sold their house and all going well will move into their new dream home at the end of May.

Here’s what they have to say about working with Riverfall Financial:

What made you seek advice?

“It was in late Spring 2019 that I was coming to the end of a large project for National Grid, and so it was a bit of a crossroads for me. I loved my job and there was the opportunity to move to the next project, but that would have meant making a commitment to another 5 years. Since I was 64 at the time, I wanted to look at my retirement options. I googled on the internet for a financial adviser because I wanted some financial planning for the back end of my career and into retirement. That’s how I found Riverfall Financial and met Jessica.

Those discussions crystalised that the timing was right for me to retire. I decided to move out the National Grid scheme because I wanted to benefit from some significant inheritance planning and I also ended up with more flexibility in my pension.

Jessica and I had a 12-month period of planning and we brought my partner Helen into that, to shape our financial journey together. Thinking about it, in hindsight I could have started these discussions earlier and maybe I’d do it differently and look for financial advice earlier.

Then in January this year we had our review meeting with Jessica. Helen and I had talked about moving to a new house last year, so we discussed this with Jessica. We wanted some more space with a nice garden and a bigger garage for my cars and hobbies. Jessica helped us to figure out how best to do this, and things then took off very quickly because we found a house that we liked and decided to bite the bullet! We’ve now sold our old house and will hopefully be moving into our new dream home at the end of May”.

How has Riverfall Financial made a difference to your lives?

“It’s the peace of mind that comes from knowing that we’re doing the right things. At this stage in my life, I don’t want to make the wrong financial decisions because that would be too hard to put it right. Working with Jessica and the Riverfall Financial team has given us the confidence that we can afford the house purchase and that it will be done in a very tax efficient way. We’re conscious that there’s a team that sits behind Jessica with a wealth of expertise that she taps into, and robust governance. We’ve got confidence that we’re in good hands and that there’s a lot for us to look forward to.”

What has been the biggest benefit to you of working with Riverfall Financial?

“It all comes down to good planning and helping us to figure out the best way to use our money. What this process has demonstrated to us is that if you put it all together, we’re in a position to afford our new home – and this has only been possible with Jessica and Riverfall Financial’s help. There were different ways to fund the house purchase and Jessica explored all the options and helped us to pick the best and most tax efficient way to do it. All the discussion and dialogue has given us clarity and peace of mind that it’s the right thing to do. We know that we’re making the very best use of the money we’ve got, to do what’s important to us”.

The value of pensions and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.
Transferring out of a Final Salary scheme is unlikely to be in the best interests of most people.

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