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If you're affected by cancer you may want to review your savings and investments.
While planning your finances, you may want to review your savings and investments to help you cope with their everyday management. You may want to:
If you’re finding it difficult to manage your own savings and investments, there are several things that may help:
Many accounts and investments can now be managed online or by phone. You may be able to manage some savings and investments through mobile phone applications (apps).
You could arrange for interest, dividends and withdrawals to be paid directly to a bank or savings account. This saves on trips to branches.
A family member or friend may be able to open post, file statements and deal with paperwork. This should be someone you trust.
Many savings accounts and some other savings and investments (but not ISAs) can be held jointly with someone else, such as a partner. Transferring savings or investments into joint names means the other person becomes joint owner, can make withdrawals and other decisions, and automatically inherits the whole investment in the event of death.
If the investments are large, you could give a bank, stockbroker or financial adviser authority to manage them for you. Different firms set different limits, but this sort of service is likely to be available only for investments worth a large amount.
To find a bank or stockbroker to manage your investments, contact the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers|.
Our information about sorting out your affairs| has more information about giving someone else the legal power to manage your affairs for you. Our financial guides on the Macmillan Support Line| can also give you more information.
If someone else is helping you run your savings and investments, don’t give them your personal identification numbers (pins) or passwords. By giving away these details, you’re breaking your provider’s rules and, if money goes missing from your account, they could refuse to refund it.
If they must have access to the savings and investments, make the arrangement more formal by setting up a third-party mandate or joint account, for example. When you set up a third-party mandate or joint account, the person helping you can have their own card and pin.
Contact the provider to find out about ways to make direct payments of interest or dividends, to set up a third-party mandate or to transfer savings or investments into joint names.
You may decide to stop regular payments to save money. If you’re putting money aside in a bank or building society account, there is usually no problem or penalty if you stop saving. You simply stop your payments and either leave the savings that have already built up in the account or cash it in. However, a few accounts are designed for regular monthly saving over a year or so, and you will lose some interest if you don’t make all the payments.
With a few investments (investment-type life insurance in particular), you have agreed to save a set sum each month. If you stop, there may be penalty charges that reduce the value of the money you have saved so far. Some policies include a ‘waiver of premium benefit’ that makes your payments for you if you can’t work because of illness.
If you’re saving for a particular purpose, think carefully about what will happen if you stop. Whatever your goal was, you may have to wait longer for it or may not meet it after all. Be particularly careful of stopping payments to an endowment policy or other investment that is intended to eventually pay off a mortgage. If there isn’t enough money to pay off the mortgage at the end of its term, your home may have to be sold. Consider whether there are other options for reducing your monthly mortgage payments.
Check the terms and conditions for the savings or investment, or contact the provider to find out what will happen if you stop paying in.
Our financial guides can discuss your situation with you and give you information about stopping regular payments.
Our information about reducing your spending| has advice about getting help with your mortgage costs.
With many other types of savings and investments, you have to give notice, lose some of the profit you have made (known as the return) or you can’t get your money back early at all.
Where there is normally no easy access at all, the provider may waive the rules in case of illness or severe hardship.
If you have any share-based investments, you may make a loss if the stock market is low at the time you cash in. You may have to pay dealing charges that reduce the cash you get.
See this table for some usual cash-in tems for some types of savings and investment [PDF, 42 Kb]|. You should check the terms and conditions for the savings or investment or contact the provider to find out the rules for cashing in early and whether any exception is possible in the case of illness.
If you receive a large lump sum of money, you may want to pay it into a bank or building society easy access account while you decide what you will do with it.
What happens next depends on your particular goals. For example, you may want to pay off a mortgage or other debts, buy expensive items, pay for a holiday, invest the money to provide an income or save it for the future.
There is a wide variety of investments available and those that are most suitable will depend on your particular goals and circumstances. If you need help deciding what to do, contact a financial adviser.
Content last reviewed: 1 April 2013
Next planned review: 2015
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
To speak to a financial guide, call free (Monday to Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-4.30pm).
Talk to a benefits adviser in your area, find out if you are eligible for benefits or grants or ask Macmillan about money worries.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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