Many people think that financial advice is only required by the very rich.
However, everyone can benefit from it. Not only can it help you protect and build your assets, it can help you make the most of your investments and help secure you and your family’s long term future.
No 1: To protect your family
There are a lot of people trying to sell you insurance of one type or another but an adviser can tell you which one is actually worth buying. They will assess your position and guide you through the best options to protect yourself and your family – regardless of whether you are single, married, have children or they have long left home.
Whatever your needs, an adviser can help ensure personal tragedy does not turn into financial crisis.
No 2: To help plan your spending –and saving
To secure your long-term future, you need to build some assets, initially to get you through the rainy days and then to pay for holidays and luxuries. Step one is to plan your spending so that you begin to save – and step two is to plan that saving so that you can build your wealth as efficiently as possible. Regardless of whether you currently have £10 or £10,000, a financial adviser will look at your situation and find the best starting point for you.
No 3: To help you plan for retirement
Once you have sorted out your short-term saving needs, you can then start thinking about the long-term – and most people these days realise they cannot rely on the State for more than the absolute basics. However, planning for retirement is a complex business and there are many different options available.
Pensions have come a long way in terms of flexibility and transparency in recent years and now offer a wide range of investment options. A financial adviser will not only help sift through the many rules and product options but also help construct a portfolio to maximise your long term prospects.
No 4: To secure your house
The mortgage market was complicated enough already, with its discounts and variables, AERs and caps, indemnities and early redemption fees. Then the credit crunch hit and things have got even worse. However, buying a house is still one of the most expensive decisions we make, and the vast majority of us need a mortgage.
A financial adviser could save you thousands, particularly at times like this. Not only can they seek out the best rates, they can help you assess sensible levels of borrowing, make the most of your deposit and might also find lenders who would otherwise not be available to you.
No 5: To help meet your investment goals
As you progress through life, you begin to build your assets and your income begins to increase. You then start considering how you can enhance your position rather than simply consolidate it. This could mean anything from looking to retire early through to paying school fees for private schools or investing in overseas property. However your dreams evolve, a financial adviser can help assess what is realistically possible – and put the best plan in place to help you achieve it.
No 6: To find the right combination of assets
Investment is as much about protecting the potential downsides as it is about targeting maximum growth. High returns are often associated with high risk – and not everyone is happy if their investment falls by a third or more overnight.
A financial adviser will make a detailed assessment of your attitude to risk before making any recommendations.
They will also ensure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket by helping you diversify not only across asset classes but also across accounts, individual funds and product providers.
No 7: To obtain an objective assessment
Every new product or investment opportunity is accompanied by hype, proclaiming it is the best ever – but that does not mean it is right for you. Investors the world over have been and will continue to be caught out by market bubbles or high charges because they don’t take a step back. A financial adviser knows how products and assets work in different markets and can outline the downsides for you as well as the benefits. Between you, you can then make a more informed decision about what hype you can believe – and what products you really need to avoid.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.
No 8: To save money
Once your risk and investment assessments are complete, the next step is to look at tax and even the most basic overview of your position could help. It may simply mean using ISAs or a pension plan to benefit from Government incentives or it could mean choosing growth assets over income to use capital gains allowances rather than pay income tax. Alternatively, for more complicated arrangements, it might mean moving assets to your spouse or children to make full use of their personal allowances.
A financial adviser will always have your tax position in mind when making recommendations and can help point you in the right direction even in complicated situations.
No 9: To keep you on track
Even when you have every product you need taken care of and your investments are set up and running to plan, someone needs to keep an eye on them in case changes in markets or abnormal events push them off course.
You can ask a financial adviser to do this monitoring work for you. They can assess the performance of individual investments against their peers, ensure that your asset allocation does not get distorted as markets move and also help you consolidate gains as the dates of your ultimate goals approach.
No 10: For peace of mind
Money is a complicated subject and there are many things you need to think about to both protect it and make the most of it. Markets are volatile and the media is prone to exaggeration of both the risks and the rewards.
Employing a good financial adviser can take the emphasis away from you and move it into the hands of an expert.
Whether you need general, practical advice or a specialist with dedicated expertise, the money you invest in taking advice could be paid back many times over in the long term.