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Should I use a financial adviser or do it myself?

5 mins read
by Unbiased Team
Last updated Thursday, June 13, 2024

We explore the pros and cons of hiring a financial adviser to determine whether professional expertise or self-reliance better suits your financial journey.


  • Financial adviser fees vary and are charged hourly, fixed, or as a percentage of assets managed.

  • Hiring a financial adviser offers expertise and tailored advice but may come with costs.

  • Unbiased will connect you with a financial adviser who can provide expert financial advice that ensures you make informed decisions for a secure future.

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What does a financial adviser do?

A financial adviser provides various services tailored to meet clients' specific needs. 

Financial advisers act in various capacities, offering investment management and retirement, tax and estate planning, and insurance advice.

Advisers assess your financial situation, help set goals, and develop a strategy to achieve them. 

Critical life events such as receiving an inheritance, planning for retirement, or going through a significant career change can create complex financial questions that often prompt people to seek financial advice.

Financial advisers can also help you legally reduce your tax bill or access your pension without incurring unnecessary tax penalties, providing peace of mind and potentially saving you a considerable sum.

How much does a financial adviser charge?

Understanding the cost of financial advice is crucial. Financial advisers typically charge in one of three ways: a hourly rate, fixed fees, or a percentage of assets managed.

According to Money Helper, hourly rates vary widely, from £75 to £350 an hour. The UK average rate is around £150 an hour.

Fixed fees, ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, are often charged for specific services, such as creating a comprehensive financial plan.

If an adviser charges a percentage of assets managed, expect to pay around 1% to 2% of your total assets annually. 

It’s essential to discuss and agree on the fee structure upfront to avoid any surprises.

Are financial adviser fees tax deductible?

Generally, fees for financial advice are not tax deductible.

However, if the advice pertains directly to investments or pension planning, some of these costs may be tax-deductible under certain conditions. 

Can I get help paying for financial advice?

Yes, there are ways to offset the cost of financial advice.

The pensions advice allowance allows members of defined contribution pension schemes to withdraw up to £500 a year, three times in their lifetime, to pay for retirement advice.

This withdrawal is tax-free, making it an attractive option for those who want professional guidance without bearing the full financial burden.

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What are the pros and cons of using a financial adviser?

Hiring a financial adviser comes with both benefits and drawbacks.

Here are some to consider:


  • Expertise: Financial advisers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, helping you navigate complex financial landscapes and avoid costly mistakes.

  • Saves you time: Managing finances can be time-consuming. An adviser takes on this burden, allowing you to focus on other priorities.

  • Tailored advice: Advisers provide personalised strategies that align with your specific goals and circumstances.

  • Peace of mind: Knowing a professional is handling your financial matters can reduce stress and increase confidence in your financial future.

  • Trust: The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) governs financial services and requires advisers to act honestly and with integrity. 


  • Cost: Financial advice can be expensive, and costs can vary.

  • Conflict of interest: Some advisers may have a conflict of interest, but they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), so they should recommend the best products for your circumstances.

  • Over-reliance: Relying too much on an adviser can hinder understanding and engagement with your finances.

  • Quality variability: The quality of advice can vary significantly between advisers, making it essential to choose the right one.

Can I do my own financial planning?

Yes, you can manage your own financial planning.

With the plethora of online resources, from budgeting tools to investment platforms, many people successfully handle their finances independently. 

For example, if you have a straightforward financial situation, such as having a single income stream and no dependents, it might be feasible to manage your finances without external help.

However, in more complex scenarios, such as navigating tax-efficient investment strategies or planning for a multi-generational estate, seeking professional advice can be invaluable. 

The decision to hire a financial adviser should be based on your comfort level and the complexity of your financial situation.

How to find a financial adviser

Finding the right financial adviser requires careful consideration.

Start by identifying what specific services you need and seeking recommendations from trusted sources, such as family and friends, but remember their tailored advice won’t necessarily be best for your circumstances.

This can be a lot of work, so you can also use Unbiased to help match you with one financial adviser who is right for you. 

When evaluating potential advisers, consider the following variables:

  • Qualifications and credentials

  • Experience

  • Fee structure

  • Reputation

During your initial meeting with a prospective financial adviser, ask questions such as:

  • What is your experience with clients in similar situations to mine?

  • How will you help me reach my financial goals?

  • How do you stay updated with the latest financial regulations and trends?

  • Can you provide a detailed explanation of your fee structure?

  • How do you ensure my best interests are always prioritised?

Preparation for this meeting is key.

Bring relevant financial documents and be clear about your goals and concerns. This will help the financial adviser provide tailored advice from the outset.

Get expert financial advice

The choice between managing your finances independently or seeking the expertise of a financial adviser is a significant one.

While taking control of your finances can be empowering, financial advisers provide valuable insights and strategies tailored to your specific circumstances.

It's essential to weigh the benefits of personalised guidance against the potential costs and determine what aligns best with your financial goals and comfort level.

If you're looking for a financial adviser, let Unbiased connect you with a trusted professional who can provide expert financial advice tailored to your needs.

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We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.
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Unbiased Team
Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing, retirement and pensions, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.