Updated 07 May 2020
Most people are likely to need financial advice at least once in their lives. Of these, a large number will benefit from seeking advice on several occasions, and a few will do so on a regular basis. So how can you work out what your own advice needs may be? And how do you know when it’s time to find an adviser?
If you’re facing a big decision on which a lot of money depends, advice can be invaluable. Things like setting up a pension, buying a home or planning for retirement may be rare or even one-off events, so you will probably have very little experience on which to base these crucial choices. And though you may seek guidance from friends and family, or online, neither of those can give you as much confidence as unbiased advice from an experienced professional.
There are many occasions in life where advice can make a big difference – some more obvious than others. Most people who contact an adviser do so when facing one or more of these decisions.
Other reasons for seeking financial advice may include moving abroad, getting divorced, arranging for yourself or a relative to go into long-term care, or any situation in which you may need to take out a financial product, such as a mortgage, insurance, or a pension arrangement.
A financial adviser will do much more than simply tell you where to put your money. The whole point of advice is to make your money work for you and help you achieve your goals in life. So a good adviser will look at your circumstances as a whole, from your current situation to your medium and long-term future, to help you decide upon the best action to take.
For example, if you want advice on how to access your pension, your adviser will first take time to discuss your plans for retirement, and so assess your changing income needs over time. Only then will they start to recommend strategies and products.
Last but not least, an independent or whole-of-market financial adviser can find the most suitable products for you from all that are available – something no comparison site can do. They will also ensure that the chosen product is the best possible fit for your particular circumstances.
There are two ways to find a financial adviser on Unbiased.
The first way is to use our Connect tool. Just tell us what kind of help you need and our system will match you with the nearest suitable adviser. You should get a match within 48 hours (often it’s much quicker).
The second way is to search and browse. Enter your postcode to see a list of advisers in order of distance from you. You can then refine your search (e.g. to find advisers with specialist experience or particular qualifications).
You can also use our adviser checklist to help you prepare for your first meeting with a financial adviser.
Most financial advisers will agree to an initial meeting free of charge, so you can get to know one another. Take this opportunity to check that you’ve made a good choice.
A good adviser will be happy to talk about their qualifications and experience, so do ask to see their credentials. Check that these match up with those displayed on their Unbiased profile. If you are looking for a specialist advice (e.g. long-term care), ensure that your adviser has the relevant qualification(s). Check them against our Adviser Qualifications page to find out what each one means.
Also ask about your adviser’s fees and how they charge. Again, they should be up-front and clear about this. See how their fees compare with the market average on our Cost of Advice page, and if they are significantly different, ask why.
Every financial adviser on our site is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). None of them can accept commission in payment, which prevents any conflict of interests when they recommend products. They fall into two categories: independent financial advisers (IFAs) and restricted whole-of-market advisers.
An IFA will give you impartial, unrestricted advice that considers every financial product on the relevant market.
This kind of adviser is restricted as to the type of products they can advise upon, but will still offer impartial advice that considers all providers of those products. The adviser must explain to you exactly how their advice is restricted.
There is another kind of adviser known simply as ‘restricted advisers’. These advisers are restricted by the range of providers they can recommend. Consequently, they are not listed on Unbiased.
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