Wealth Check: 'We want to save for our kids and for retirement'

With a 19-year age gap between them, Wendy and John Harbutt from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, find their financial goals differ somewhat.

Wendy, 37, runs her own company and is the director of a second company, while John, 56, an operations manager, is just eight years away from retirement. They have two children, aged five and two.

"John would like to have paid off the mortgage by the time he retires, and to have achieved an adequate pension by that time," says Wendy. "I want to provide for the children and their higher education."

The couple have a £100,000 offset mortgage at a rate of 6.35 per cent. "We have enough money to pay off the mortgage in full, but we haven't done that as it would leave us illiquid. We keep thinking of buying a second property to use the cash capital."

In the meantime, they are trying to overpay their mortgage by as much as they can each month. John has £8,000 in an ISA. The couple also have an endowment with Standard Life.

Both John and Wendy have several pension pots, but are concerned about their current pension provision. "We would like to get our pension saving in order, and to consider other means of providing an income for retirement – such as rental property," she says.

John has life insurance through his employer, but the couple have no other protection policies in place.

We asked three financial advisers for their suggestions: Keith Churchouse from Churchouse Financial Planning, Anna Sofat from AJS Wealth Management and Adrian Kidd from Mint Financial Services.

Case Notes: Wendy and John Harbutt, from Cheltenham

Income: £80,000 a year
Pension: Wendy has a personal pension with GE Life; John contributes 7 per cent to his company scheme
Savings: £90,000 in accounts with Barclays – offset against their mortgage
Investments: £8,000 in a stocks and shares ISA


"The Harbutts are in a good position in that they have enough savings to cover their mortgage – and no other debts," says Sofat.

She recommends they open cash ISAs to maximise their tax-free allowances, and urges them to start saving for their children.

Sofat says that while the couple have an endowment policy maturing in 2021, they should review whether it's worth keeping it in its current form. " They might want to consider selling it or encashing it," she says.

But Churchouse says that when this policy matures in 14 years' time, it could be put towards university funding for their children.

Kidd adds that the couple should have received some Standard Life shares last year after the float of the company, and says this money could be used to pay off the rest of the mortgage.


An offset mortgage is a "good way to keep your money liquid and in a tax-efficient manner," says Churchouse, adding that it is a "good strategy" to pay it off before John retires.

Kidd says the couple should look at the pros and cons of property investment, but that "many foreign property markets have low entry deposits, which could pay huge dividends over a 10-year time-frame".

Sofat says that if they sink all they have into buying another property, they are exposed to that one asset. She recommends instead that they build up a balanced investment portfolio that will have exposure to a number of assets, including equities.


With so many pensions from previous employers, Churchouse recommends the couple make use of the Pension Tracing Service.

Sofat says that as John is approaching retirement, it is important for him to do a full review of what he has – and the income he expects them to provide.

He should order statements from the pensions providers, and also request information about his state pension by completing a BR19 form.


As Wendy has her own business, and the couple have two young children, income protection is essential, as a loss of income could seriously scupper their plans in the future, warns Sofat.

"It is important for John to investigate what benefits he is entitled to at work," she says. "Check what would happen to John's income if he became too ill to work."

To find an independent financial adviser in your area, visit www.unbiased.co.uk

For a free financial check-up, write to Wealth Check, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail cash@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

    £16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones