What to Look for in a Financial Advisor

No matter what age you are it’s never too early or too late to take control of your finances. While it’s tempting to ‘live in the now’ and enjoy a lifestyle fuelled by your hard-earned money, if you want to ensure that you can still enjoy a comfortable life once you hit retirement age, it’s imperative you have plans in place to allow you to do so. 

For most people, managing long term financial goals can be a very daunting task: investments, pension planning, saving for your children’s education – all this requires specialised knowledge if it’s to be sustainable throughout your working life. That’s where a financial advisor comes in.

Call in a Professional 

Taking on a professional advisor can be the single best financial decision of your life – and that’s no exaggeration. A DIY approach may be the choice for some, but if you want to make the best decisions on complex financial topics like pension planning, a professional can be the difference between a secure and comfortable retirement and one where you need to watch every penny.

So, the decision should be a no-brainer, but how do you find the right one for you? 

Testimonials and Personal Recommendations Count 

Don’t just head to the Internet and sign up with the first company that promises you the world. Do your due diligence and take the time to read through their history, background, and testimonials (not only on their website but also on comparison sites). Ask around your friends, family, or work colleagues, as well, because a personal recommendation is a very best kind. Most importantly, don’t rush into anything, and do try to meet personally with a potential financial advisor before you make any decision. A good rapport and a feeling of trust are vital.  

Check Accreditations

Choose an independent financial advisor. Being independent means you can be sure they’re acting in your best interests across every aspect of your investments, without any corporate prejudice. (A good independent financial advisor will use an outside compliance firm to manage their responsibilities.) 

In the UK the industry is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and it’s vital you’re able to clearly see their accreditation and be safe in the knowledge that they operate under a code of ethics and compliance.

What Services Do They Offer?

You should look at this relationship as a long term one, so you need to know that no matter what your requirements, now and in the future, you can have confidence in their skills and knowledge. For example, they should be versed in all aspects of retirement planning, including drawdowns, transfers and taxation, as well as a range of investment strategies and experience managing ongoing portfolios. Some firms will employ specialists in each of these fields. 

Check the Terms of Business

Finally, before you sign anything, make sure you read through the terms of business and fully understand the service costs. This should be clearly displayed on their website and also include their regulatory status. 

Choosing the most suitable person or company for your investment and pension planning should not be taken lightly. Take your time, do your research and make sure you feel comfortable and confident that the people guiding your financial decisions are not only qualified but also compliant with all the required regulations. 

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