Financial advice — have you ever had it? Or have you ever considered it?
If the answer’s no, you’re not alone. 91% of the population (46.5 million) haven’t received any financial advice in the last 12 months; and only 28% have used financial advice at some point in their life.
But while a DIY approach to your financial planning might be working just fine for now, what happens when life throws you a curveball? Your salary changes, you fall ill, or you have another child — how will your financial handiwork stack up?
Are you totally confident that you’ve got all the bases covered, and that your money’s working as hard or as smart as it physically can?
Professional financial advice, on the other hand, can be invaluable — life-changing, even, in some circumstances.
Here are just some situations where you might need it.
You’re retiring soon
Retirement is a huge milestone for most people, but too often planning and saving for it is left to chance. It’s shelved away for another day and left to gather dust as the years slip by. And before you know it, that dream of retiring at 60 or 65 seems almost impossible…
Considering that half of the population believe that having £100,000 is enough to retire — when the average recommended amount is actually £260,000–£445,000 — there’s a huge knowledge gap about the reality of how much retirement actually costs.
If you’re nearing retirement and you are flying blind as to whether you have enough gas in the tank to retire comfortably, a financial adviser could be an invaluable resource.
They’ll take a look at your pensions, savings and investments, and help you work out how much you’re going to need in your pot to retire when you want to, with the lifestyle you want to.
You’ve received a windfall
If you’ve unexpectedly come into a large sum of money, the first thing that crosses your mind probably isn’t financial advice. It’s more likely to be spending, travelling, paying off your mortgage or all those other things you’ve dreamt about.
But it can be difficult to manage a large sum of money (consider this: staggeringly, as many as one-third of all US lottery winners file for bankruptcy). And while your windfall may well be more modest than most Euromillions jackpots, it can still be worth a second opinion on how best your newly inherited wealth should fold into the broader context of your broader finances.
Financial advisers regularly deal with people who’ve inherited money, or had some other sort of windfall. They’ll be able to advise on where to put and what you should do with your money to ensure it’s working as hard as it can.
You’ve started a family
Maybe receiving some inheritance has made you think about your own family situation.
Whether it’s putting a comprehensive protection plan in place so that your kids are looked after if the worst were to happen, or navigating your way around any inheritance tax that might be looming, a financial adviser could be the best person for the job.
After all, tax rules can be a headache. As can choosing the best way to protect your assets. It’s not necessarily something you want to DIY.
And it’s not just planning for the unexpected where financial advice can help. What about some of the big life goals you might have for your family? Like sending your kids to university, or helping them get on the property ladder?
A good financial adviser will help you to identify these significant milestones and build a personalised financial plan to get you there.
You’ve had a big change in your life
Changing careers? Moving house? Kids starting school?
If you’re going through any big changes in your life, it’s important to see how they might affect your finances both in the short and long term.
Financial advisers tend to take a total approach to plan your finances — meaning they’ll look at the bigger picture, including any changes in your personal life, to help you adjust your financial plan accordingly.
A good financial adviser will be your co-pilot through the ups and downs. They’re life planners as much financial planners.
You manage your own money
If you’re a casual investor who manages their own portfolio, it could be worth speaking to a third-party adviser who’ll be able to give you a second, unbiased opinion on your strategy.
Emotion can play a big role in investing and can often get in the way of making the best decision in line with your own personal circumstances. Time in the market is almost always a better approach than timing the market (i.e. sitting tight is generally better than reacting to every change) — but it’s easier said than done, of course, especially when the markets are choppy.
Financial advisers can help you structure your portfolio in the right way — i.e. making appropriate use of any tax wrappers and highlighting key opportunities where your money could be doing even more.
You don’t have time
While we all worry a little about our finances here and there, how many of us consciously think about (and follow through with) a comprehensive financial plan based on our financial goals? Not as many as we think should.
Only one in five adults in the UK actually have financial goals set in place.
And the main problem seems to be time — or lack of it. Because planning these things properly will probably take more time than most of us have to spare when we’re preoccupied with immediate concerns.
By the time you’ve finished a working week, made time for family and friends and some hobbies (if you’re lucky), it’s easy to see how financial planning can slip so far down your list of to-dos that it’s no longer even on it.
With the help of an adviser, you’ll rest easy knowing that someone else has got your back. It’s one less thing to think about.
No matter what stage of life you’re at, professional financial advice could bring enormous benefits to your life — many more than we’ve mentioned here. Your benefits will be as unique as your situation.
Not convinced? Why not speak to one of our advisers to see what they could do for you.