The world of personal finance can feel a little exhausting. There are so many decisions to take, from choosing day-to-day products like a current account to picking investments that will provide you with a secure future.
The question is, how much can you handle yourself, and when should you get professional advice?
Do you need a financial adviser?
When to take financial advice
Getting advice is crucial when it comes to pensions and investments. There are over 2,000 funds in which you can invest, and pensions come with complexities that are even more apparent when you come closer to retirement.
While a financial adviser can charge hundreds or even thousands of pounds for their services, depending on the size of your investment, they can help you decipher which product is better suited to your needs both for saving and in retirement when you need an income.
Of course you might feel confident in making your own investment decisions. Now armed with a computer - or in some cases just a smartphone - you can use a fund supermarket or online broker which offers a wealth of research tools as well access to stocks and funds.
The risk is that you will choose the wrong route and sorely miss out.
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Research conducted by unbiased.co.uk found that those who had taken advice receive an additional income of £3,654 every year of their retirement, based upon a pension pot of £100,000 - a clear demonstration of the benefit of taking professional advice. It will also help when it comes to retiring. An adviser can help your money last as long as you need it to.
It’s especially important to be tax efficient. Using an adviser you could significantly cut the tax charged on your estate leaving more for your family.
When it comes to choosing a mortgage, a broker can help find the best deal for your circumstances. Older borrowers have a tricky time finding banks that will allow them to borrow into retirement. A broker can help match you with a lender who will be more lenient.
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If you don't already have an adviser or broker you can trust, you can find local independent advisers at unbiased.co.uk. Here you will also find a full list of the different qualifications an adviser can have as well as the professional bodies that represent them. You can also visit vouchedfor.co.uk, which allows consumers to rate and review advisers they have used. Don’t be afraid to meet more than one adviser if it helps.
When to go it alone
Choosing the simpler financial products does not require the services of a professional. Yet you might want some help to find the best product.
Your current account is an important one to get right as you use it all the time. Comparison site GoCompare.com has an online current account finder which is backed by the government. It will analyse statements – which are downloaded securely to the site - taking into account overdraft charges and the average in-credit balance. It will then present a table, showing in pounds and pence which accounts could be better suited to you.
What is robo-advice and can it help me?
Motor, home, pet and travel insurance is easy to find online and can usually be bought at the click of a mouse. Just take case to read terms and conditions - and in particular any exclusions. A cut-price policy will be a false economy if you can’t make a claim when you need to.
If you use a credit cards make sure it’s right for you. There are hundreds on the market all with different benefits and charging structures. Using a comparison site, such as moneyfacts.co.uk, you can identify the best one.
Savings accounts simply require searching for the best rate you can find using the likes of savingschampion.co.uk. This website also offers a service that will alert you if your savings rate drops and presents an alternative.
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