These days, we are all trying to juggle several balls at any one time, whilst keeping one eye on the future. It can be exhausting, and it can be very confusing too. We’re constantly bombarded with how important it is to plan for our future days, but how are we supposed to do that, whilst also enjoying the present?
It really comes down to sound advice, in a no hassle, and non-confusing way. You don’t need endless financial jargon terms thrown at you, you need easy to understand, sound, unbiased, and high quality financial advice, to allow you to make the best decisions today, to line your nest for the future.
Of course, it could also be that you need advice on a financial issue that is affecting your life in the current day – again, it comes down to where you get your financial advice from, and how you handle it.
Whilst it can seem like swimming through mud, if you speak to the right people, you will find that it all becomes very clear.
For this reason, a financial adviser is your one stop shop for everything money-related, a guru of cash-focused issues, a veritable Yoda of financial services.
Having said that, you need to find an advisor who suits you, one who understands your circumstances, someone who you feel comfortable with and can trust, and someone who you are confident will reach out and find the right solutions for you.
Let’s not waste any more time and get in to the serious stuff;
What is a Financial Adviser?
A financial adviser, also known as a financial consultant or financial planner, is a highly trained individual, who basically knows all there is to know about financial planning, and every facet of the money-related world.
This covers a huge range of subjects, from pension advice to private health care, funeral plans to investment management, with a variety of other subjects lurking somewhere in-between.
Having a wealth manager or financial expert at your disposal means that you can make well-informed decisions, based on your own personal circumstances, without confusion or worry.
The advice given to you will be based on your situation, taking into account all the variables that affect you as an individual. The advice will also be given with predicted future trends in mind, so you can try your best to navigate any potential potholes along the way.
By using a financial adviser, you are basically minimising risk and maximising your potential cash flow in the future.
Of course, there are a huge range of money-related matters that you might need to use a financial consultant for, so let’s check each one out in turn, and explain why an expert is the one to show you the light in each different situation.
Remember that your financial expert isn’t there to make the choice for you, and that decision is ultimately down to you, but that they are there to strongly point you in the right direction based on their training and experience.
Ok, lets have a look at some of the more popular types of financial advice you are likely to require throughout your life time and why it’s important to see unbiased and impartial financial advice for each one.
You’ve no doubt heard about low interest rates and how that aversely affects the cash you keep in your bank. You might be wondering what else you can do, in order to create a little extra cash flow for your future. Well, investments are certainly a good answer to this question, but it’s vital to make the right decisions, or you risk having a worse outcome than keeping cash in your bank!
In this case, an investment manager is someone who can explore viable options with you, taking into account the amount you want to invest, the amount of risk you’re willing to accept, any special instructions, e.g. a particular industry you would like to invest in, perhaps due to personal reasons.
A financial adviser has their finger on the investment pulse, so they will be able to advise you on the right course of action, and steer you away from routes which are not going to take you anywhere pleasant. If you simply do this yourself, yes you may get lucky, but there is a great chance that you will make a decision based on not knowing all the facts. In this case, you would end up losing your cash, and ending up within nothing in return.
On the other hand, a cleverly formulated plan, with the help of someone in the know, can lead you towards a very financially rewarding destination indeed.
We can never be sure what is around the corner in life, and whilst that makes for the mystery and environment of living in many ways, it can also because a source of worry.
None of us really want to think about what happens in the event of an accident or illness, or even more depressingly, after our days are up, but if we want to leave behind favourable conditions for our family, e.g. not leaving them in financial trouble, the it’s vital to think about it in the here and now. The good news is that once you’ve thought about it and put a plan in place, you can forget about it!
Life insurance and critical illness insurance are two of the most important things to think about in this particular subject, and finding the right policy for you is vital.
A protection adviser will be able to match you with the best policy, which not only suits your payment options in the here and now, but which will also give you the best outcome ‘just in case’.
It is a rather worrying statistic that most of us don’t have the right amount of protection set in place, so don’t be a part of that – seek out some protection advice and right the issue sooner rather than later. One of our advisers can sort this for you very quickly with little fuss, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Buying a new home is an exciting and thrilling time in your life, but it is also one of the most stressful. This happy time shouldn’t be marred with financial woes and pitfall along the way, especially when it comes to lining up your mortgage. For this reason, a mortgage adviser is the best person to go to.
A mortgage adviser will be able to find the best mortgage for you, one which is affordable and over the right amount of time. If you go down the route of using your bank, or perhaps an independent company, you’re probably going to be sold their policy and theirs alone, without exploring the other perhaps more favourable choices out there.
Finding solid mortgage advice means that you have one less thing to worry about when it comes to buying your dream home, and you can busy yourself with the more enjoyable side of it!
By using one of our fully independent mortgage advisers it means you will get independent, unbiased access to the entire market and every lender in it. Even if that means on of our mortgage advisers are able to save you just a fraction of a percent on your interest rate. This can equate to many thousands of pounds of savings over the life of your mortgage.
Hands up who is confused by pensions? Yes, that’s most of us! Pensions are confusing, they are riddled with ‘what ifs’ and pitfalls, and there are so many loopholes involved that it can all be enough to cause serious financial distress.
When you retire, you want to look forward to your years of hard-earned enjoyment, not panicking about where your next cash influx is going to come from. That is why getting the right pensions advice in the here and now is absolutely vital.
Far too many young people put off organising their pension because it seems like years away, and you’re never going to get old, right? Wrong! All it takes is a little advice from a pensions advisor and you can put a little aside every month, sure in the knowledge that when you decide to retire, you can enjoy the finer things in life, rather than scrimping and budgeting until you’re prematurely grey.
Again, in this case, a financial adviser will be able to seek out the most advantageous pension policies for you, ones which are affordable in the here and now, but pay out big when you do decide to call it a day on your working hours.
A major study of retirees recently highlighted just how important it is to seek advice from an experienced pension adviser. It showed that people who planned for their retirement by using a financial adviser ended up receiving more than £7,000 extra per year from their pensions.
With the average length of retirement currently at 21 years, and only likely to keep getting longer, then an extra £7,000 per year over this length of time is near enough £150,000 extra in total!
Equity Release Advice
The name alone sounds confusing, so how are you supposed to navigate yourself around the confusing world of equity release without adequate and professional advice? A financial consultant is the person to go to for this particular issue, and can hep you choose the right option for your, based on your circumstances.
Basically, equity release covers a range of different financial products which allow you to access the cash (equity) tied up in your own property, provided you are over the age of 55. It is possible access this has one large sum of cash, or to have it given to you in smaller instalments. There are a wide range of products on the market, so discussing with a financial professional is vital in order to find the most profitable for you.
The two main types of equity release include a lifetime mortgage and a home reversion. Both are good options to look into, but there is bound to be one which suits your situation much better than the other. For instance, if you opt for a home reversion and you don’t do your homework properly, you could find that you land yourself in hot water via small print; you are selling part or all of your home to an external provider after all, and that is something you need to consider very, very carefully.
Equity release is a specialist skill among financial advisers and not all are able to assist with this. However, at Edinburgh IFA we have equity release specialists within our expert network who will be able to advise you every step of the way to ensure you get the best possible deal.
Inheritance Tax Advice
Part of arranging our financial lives isn’t just about the present day, but also about what happens after we are gone. If you have written your will, or even if you haven’t yet, it’s vital to get some accurate and unbiased advice on inheritance tax.
Depending on what you leave behind, how much you leave, and who you leave it to, depends on whether there will be any tax to pay. Again, this can be a confusing subject, and a minefield to navigate if you’re not too sure where to start. There are exemptions and relief options to take into account, but as with any type of tax, it’s vital to know what you’re doing!
A financial adviser is professionally trained to give the right advice, so you can either avoid your family members paying excessive amounts of tax on items they don’t need to pay tax on, or you can ensure that it is paid correctly.
Either way, you need to know that you are working with the law, both now and in the future. A financial consultant will be able to advice you accordingly, and ensure that inheritance tax is not something you need to worry about.
Funeral Plan Advice
A little like protection insurance, nobody wants to think about what might happen, but the bottom line is that at some point in your life, hopefully later rather than sooner, you’re going to have to pay thousands of pounds for a funeral.
This means that you need to have a funeral plan in place to ensure that costs don’t fall at the feet of your loved ones. You can also alleviate some of the stress and upset of this distressing time for your family and friends, by ensuring that every detail is taken care of from the money point of view.
A financial advisor will be able to assess the right type of funeral plan for you, tailor-making it to your specific needs and desires. By arranging this through a financial consultant, you know that everything is in place, and that you haven’t forgotten something important by doing it yourself.
Again, it’s about putting your affairs in the hands of an expert, someone who knows all there is to know, and someone who isn’t going to overlook a very vital detail. You can rest much easier knowing that your funeral plans are taken care of, and so can your loved ones.
Health Insurance Advice
It’s common knowledge that the London governments over the past few decades have managed to completely ruin the national health service for everyone in the entire UK. Huge funding gaps, staff shortages and being overworked, endless waiting lists for operations and treatments and ever worsening hygiene levels leading to killer super bugs. It is a sad state of affairs and something that a growing number of people are no longer willing to rely on should the worst happen.
Any type of insurance can be a minefield to navigate, something which has many types of small print to investigate. If you have any existing medical conditions, arranging health insurance can be not only costly, but dangerous, if you accidentally fail to declare something which will affect a claim in the future. For that reason, a financial adviser is the absolute must go to for health insurance advice.
From the countless policies available, a financial advisor will be able to whittle down the best one for you, matching the amount you want to pay every month towards your policy, the excess payments in the event of a claim, and of course how much it will pay out and what it will pay out for.
Insurance companies are renowned for making everything a little more complicated than it needs to be, so an expert in the field is the only course of action, to avoid an issue which could turn out to be extremely costly in the future. Your health is not something to play Russian Roulette with!
With some of the perks and benefits attached to some of the modern private health insurance plans, depending on your lifestyle, our advisers can often get the cost of your premiums to become almost negligible when you take the additional perks and benefits in to account.
Get in touch with us and we’ll have on of our expert private health cover advisers to explain this to you and show you what options are available.
How to Find the Best Financial Adviser for Your Needs
Now you know why you should employ the help of a financial adviser, how can you find one, and indeed, how can you find the right one for your particular question and needs?
Firstly, let’s explore what you need to look for in a financial adviser.
• FCA regulated
The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority, formerly the Financial Services Authority until 2013) is the body responsible for ensuring that their financial advisers are behaving properly and doing everything by the book and following regulations. Always ask to make sure your adviser is FCA regulated. At Edinburgh IFA, all our Scottish financial advisers are FCA regulated.
• You need to be able to trust what they are telling you
Anything to do with money matters instantly makes us put up our guard. We are hard-wired to be a little suspicious of anyone who is trying to sell us something, particularly if we need to pay something out at the same time. It is obviously wise to be on your guard where your cash is concerned, but by finding a financial expert who can hep you with wealth management issues, and one that you trust 100%, you can be sure that you’re making shrewd and wise decisions, without the risk involved.
• You need to know that their advice is unbiased and high quality
A highly trained and professional financial advisor will be able to give you the most detailed and up to date advice on the financial market today, and will be able to look forward and predict any trends that may affect your investment or your financial arrangement in the future. By choosing an expert who gives unbiased advice, basing their information on your circumstances and the information you have given, you can be sure that you will make the right choices for your future.
• You need to be able to ask as many questions as you feel the need to ask
Anything remotely financially related can cause confusion; we’re not all money experts, and sometimes a few jargon words are enough to cause us to run away in sheer panic. This is normal – you’re not a financial planner yourself, so you need to be able to ask questions that relieve any fears you may have. Finding an approachable, friendly, and expert guru is important, because that means you can ask any questions without feeling embarrassed, and you will get the information you need. Having the right information to hand, in a way that you can understand it, will allow you to make the right choices for your situation and circumstances.
• You need to be sure that they will explore all options before arriving at the best financial option for you
An advisor isn’t there to make the decision for you, but they are there to point you in the right direction and advise you as best they can. You need to feel confident that your particular chosen one is going to explore the market and search for the right plans and choices for you, with your situation in mind, and no-one else’s. If you can find someone like this, you are much more able to find a financial solution that suits you perfectly.
It is important to make sure that whatever service you are using your adviser for they have plenty of experience in that field. We have a whole array of experts in various fields among our financial advisers so you can always rest assured that any adviser we match you with will have years of experience in dealing with your issue.
• Unbiased and Impartial
Again, it is very important to ensure that when you seek financial advice that the person giving you it has no allegiance to a certain bank, fund or mortgage provider. The huge benefit of seeking your advice from truly independent and impartial financial advisers is that they have access to all lenders, fund and organisations, which means that they have no reason to not give you the best possible deal.
At Edinburgh IFA all our advisers are fully independent and impartial, so you always know that you will be getting the best possible deal when using one of our advisers.
We offer a tailor-made service, which pairs every single person up with the right financial consultant for their circumstances. It’s a little like online dating, but without the romance!
All it takes is ten seconds to fill out our easy to follow online form, and then you just need to sit and wait for your personalised financial expert to get in touch. We cater for the whole of mainland Scotland, dedicated to making the Scottish people the most financially savvy of them all!
So, if you’re in a quandary over a money matter, which is dragging you down and causing confusion, maybe it’s time you reached out to your own personal financial expert, allowing you to look to the future with security and sound decisions made.