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What's the difference between advice and guidance?

Harriet Meyer / 08 June 2016 ( 20 March 2020 )

If you're looking for advice and information on pensions or your finances, it's important to know the difference between guidance and advice. Read our tips to help you along the way.

Doing your own research can help increase your understanding but will rarely be specific to your personal situation
Doing your own research can help increase your understanding but will rarely be specific to your personal situation

A growing number of services are on offer to help guide prospective retirees through the retirement maze.

This follows the introduction of pension freedoms back in April 2015, enabling retirees to spend their lifetime savings as they wish.

While welcomed by many, this leaves a baffling range of options, from investing for income, a traditional annuity or continuing to save.

It’s tricky to know how to manage producing an income for the rest of your life, so where do you start?

Free guidance

There is free guidance available set up by the government, such as the Money Advice Service (MAS), the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise .

These services can be useful, and offer a steer on your options.

Full advice

If you have relatively simple affairs to deal with and sound financial knowledge, using online services and basic guidance may be all your need.

But beware that the services above are far removed from full-blown advice. They cannot offer in-depth analysis of your financial situation, nor offer product recommendations.

Using any of the guidance services on offer will only provide basic advice. They cannot tell you whether you should opt for income drawdown in retirement, say, or transfer your pension.

Seeking an adviser

Full-blown advice can cost well into the hundreds of pounds an hour – and even up to as much as thousands of pounds - depending on what actions you take. But if your affairs are more complex, it should ideally in the long run save you more than you spend.

An adviser could, for example, highlight valuable guarantees on pensions policies. Or they might flag hefty exit fees on with-profits policies that you might be unaware of. A small misunderstanding of your financial situation could cost you dearly in the long-term.

In short, an adviser will take into account all aspects of your life and finances to work out a detailed plan with you. But where do you find one?

Websites such as and are a good place to start if you’re looking for a financial adviser. You may also like to have a look at the Personal Finance Society website for further information.

For more tips and useful information, browse our money articles


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.