Independent financial advice and why you need it

Undoubtedly, there will be times in your life when you need advice or guidance on what to do with your money. It can be somewhat daunting, given the sheer amount of financial services and other financial products on the market nowadays. This is where independent financial advice can be invaluable.

Independent financial advice can help you with the following:

  • Retirement planning
  • Investment and savings advice
  • Getting the most out of lump-sum payments
  • Purchasing properties or taking out a mortgage
  • Guidance with unfortunate events such as divorce or death in the family

Many of the above situations where independent financial advice can help, will, at some point, affect nearly all of us. However, getting independent financial advice is a big decision, and, as such, poses questions you should have answers to before investing in independent financial advice. We’ve endeavoured to answer as many of those questions as possible.

What is an Independent Financial Adviser?

An Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) is a professional who is an independent source of financial advice. They are not tied to a particular bank or other financial institution, so they can offer unbiased advice on financial products from the whole of the market.

Why should I get Independent Financial Advice?

Getting the most from your money is becoming increasingly important. From buying a house to getting married to retiring, there is no major life event that doesn’t require careful financial planning. A recent study by Royal London found that those who took independent financial advice were better off in the long term than those who didn’t*

An IFA represents you and must consider products from firms across the whole market based on your attitude to risk and your objectives. They also have to give unbiased and unrestricted financial advice and must work in their clients’ best interests.

I am approaching 55 and need help planning for my retirement. What type of Adviser do I need?

Choosing the right person to offer you independent financial advice is extremely important. But finding a financial adviser who is suited to you and your needs can be a challenge.

There are two types of Financial Advisers – those who are independent and those who are restricted.

An Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) represents you and will look at the whole market place to find the right solutions. Therefore, you should get the very best independent financial advice and products tailored just for you, as these IFAs are not tied to a bank or other financial institution and can, therefore, offer unbiased, independent financial advice.

In contrast, and as the name suggests, if an adviser or firm is restricted, they can only recommend certain products or product providers to you.   The Adviser should be able to explain the nature of the restriction to you clearly, but if you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask.

Is there a website where I can find an IFA near me?

You can either visit the Personal Finance Society (PFS) website, which will provide contact details for independent regulated advisers working in your area. This will allow you to search by postcode and will enable you to filter by Chartered firms and non-chartered firms. The ‘Chartered’ status is the highest standard within the industry. It means that the business is continually vetted by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Chartered firms will have more qualified IFA’s than non Chartered firms. True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners are in the top 4% by qualification. If you have specific needs, you can filter by list of specialism, qualifications, and gender. You can email the IFA via a link on their website or phone them directly.

The Financial Planning Process

Deciding to book your first appointment with a Financial Adviser to review your pension, investments, or savings can sometimes appear to be a daunting experience, and you may be unsure what to expect from your first initial meeting. You have completed your research on your Adviser, perhaps read a few reviews on their company, you have gathered all the paperwork he/she has requested, but it is advisable to understand what should happen next.

Will there be a cost to my first meeting with an IFA?

It is important to meet your IFA face-to-face to ensure that you find the right one for you. The first meeting is usually free and is a fact-finding session for both sides; you will want to learn whether the Adviser can help you, what services they offer, and any subsequent costs fully explained in advance. The Adviser will want to understand more about what help you are looking for and whether they can add value to your situation. You should only be charged for advice if it puts you in a better financial position than no advice at all.

What should I expect from an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) at my first appointment?

Firstly, it is always important to meet your IFA face-to-face. Ask yourself, is this someone who you can get along with, and feel comfortable talking openly with about money? Are you happy to tell them about your financial situation? Confidential issues are usually highly emotive. You need to spend time during that first meeting to decide whether they are a person you could openly talk to and work with. However, having the confidence to be open with them will get you the best value from your Adviser. This meeting should all be about YOU, your current position, your aims, and objectives. This should allow for a bespoke financial plan that is tailored to your individual circumstances and needs.

At the meeting, they should discuss how their company works and who will be looking after you from day-to-day. They will also discuss the cost of the advice and when you will be charged for it. Additionally, they should supply you with a Risk Profile Questionnaire. This establishes your attitude to and understanding of risk, which they should then discuss with you. If the questionnaire result establishes that you are a low-medium risk, then they should recommend a proposal that potentially delivers this result.

In some cases, your meeting with an IFA reassures you that the plans you have in place are suitable to deliver your aims and objectives. They may also provide you with information about products that you never knew existed or weren’t aware of, which will enhance your pensions/investments.

They will explain what you are likely to gain from the independent financial advice that they provide.

Why choose True Bearing?

True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners is an Independent Financial Advice Firm based in Euxton, near Chorley, Lancashire. Their 22 IFA’s have over 500 years of combined experience in advising and investing on behalf of their clients. We are an award-winning firm and holders of the Investors in People Gold Award. Your first initial meeting is at our expense.

To make a no-obligation appointment then contact us  or call 01257 260011