Why do you seek professional advice?

Martin Bamford, Managing Director at Informed Choice, talks reasons people contact financial advisers and how to make the most of your time with them. Read the first of his two-part article below.

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Relatively few people in the UK seek professional financial advice in their lifetime.  Research carried out by unbiased.co.uk a couple of years ago found that as little as one in five UK consumers sought advice from an independent financial adviser.  Retirement planning was the number one reason for people searching for advisers.

Despite more than four in five people making their own financial decisions or obtaining financial guidance from other sources, such as friends or family, independent financial advice is a valuable commodity at every stage in life.  Here some good reasons why you should seek professional advice.

To get answers to the most important questions in life

Independent financial advice has moved on a long way since the 1980s and 1990s when its primary focus was product intermediation.  These days, it’s more concerned with answering the most important questions in life, helping people define their goals and then put the finances in place to support those goals.  The process of Financial Planning was created to do exactly that.

By following a six-step Financial Planning process, independent financial advisers are able to help you make sensible decisions about reaching your goals in life.  Recommending and implementing the most suitable financial products can still play an important role in this, but the primary focus has shifted from products to advice.

To have a second opinion before making big decisions

It’s entirely reasonable for you to seek advice from various sources when making big decisions in life.  For this reason, its little surprise advice on retirement planning is the main reason people search for independent financial advisers; few decisions are as big as making choices with the pension fund you have worked hard your entire life to save.

We all make other big decisions throughout our lives which are arguably as important as choosing the best retirement income option.  Picking the right mortgage, putting in place the right level and shape of financial protection for our families, investing an inheritance or funding care fees when our parents move into residential care – these are all big decisions which independent financial advice can support.

Whether you seek independent financial advice as the sole source of your financial advice before making big decisions, or use your independent financial adviser to give you a second opinion, it can give you the confidence you need to make big decisions without losing sleep at night.