One little decision can transform your life forever, whether itâs choosing to start a family, or buying an annuity to give you an income in retirement. New Year is a time to think about the moments that matterâ¦ so what have we learned so far?
Here at unbiased.co.uk we think a lot about the Advice Moments â the times when people are most likely to need professional advice. Not surprisingly, these are the pivotal points in your life when you stand to gain (or lose) the most, by the choices that you make. Now seems like a good time to remind ourselves of what weâve found.
1. Children can cost as much as houses
Weâve consistently found that starting a family has the biggest impact on peopleâs lives. Yet most people seem to forget the massive financial hit that comes with it. The Centre for Economic and Business Research found that the average cost of raising just one child in the UK is comparable to the price of the average house. Thatâs just 18 years of childhood versus 25 years of mortgage â yet while more than half of our respondents sought financial advice on their mortgage, very few thought to do the same when having kids. Do we need to rethink our approach to parenting?
2. We are a nation of (foolish) romantics
After raising a family, getting married has the biggest impact on a personâs financial lifestyle. But again, on the scale of advice-seeking it barely registers. Courting couples obviously donât want to sour the romance by consulting a financial adviser about their future together â yet on reflection, a little advice at the start might help to keep the romance alive for longer. Not only are weddings expensive, but marriage itself carries a number of financial and tax implications, where financial advice can help you to maximise the potential benefits.
3. Confidence is not the same as being good at something
When people told us they hadnât taken financial advice in a particular situation, we asked them why not. The commonest answer was that they felt confident making their own decisions. But many, particularly among younger adults, responded that they âforgotâ to take financial advice â revealing an awareness that they should have. This ties in with a finding that up to a fifth of those who didnât take advice ended up regretting it later. This suggests that confidence in oneâs own financial knowledge can sometimes be misplaced â but the discovery often comes too late to do anything about it.
4. The younger generation is more generous (or is that selfish?)
Itâs no surprise that travel and exotic holidays are high on peopleâs lists of what to do in retirement. But many younger people (18-34 year olds) would also like to help their children and grandchildren financially, when the time comes. This trend tails off among older people, however, so maybe those 18-34 year olds are just projecting their own wishes that someone would help them out. Still, if they put financial plans in place now, they might be in a position to make good on their promisesâ¦
5. Men do ask for directionsâ¦ but are more likely to ignore them
We continue to see slightly more men than women seeking financial advice across a range of different circumstances. However, men also give notably different reasons forÂ notÂ seeking advice. Men who donât choose advice generally say that it wouldnât have made a difference to their final decision. Women are more likely to say it never occurred to them. So are women more ready to admit that they donât have all the answers?
Big decisions can only take a moment â but the consequences tend to last a long time. By considering the financial aspect of each big event and seeking professional advice, weâre not âruining the momentâ â rather, weâre making sure that itâs a moment weâll remember for the right reasons.
Search for an independent adviser today on unbiased.co.uk. OurÂ adviser checklistÂ can help you find the right one for you. You can also take advantage of a free financial health check, with Â£50 off any subsequent advice.