Financial advisers used to have bowler hats, carry a briefcase and sometimes wear a carnation (think Mr Banks in Mary Poppins). But a lot’s changed since then.
We no longer use a mangle to dry our clothes, send messages via fax machine, or rent videos from shops. Likewise, financial advisers no longer just want to sell you some insurance – they are focused on delivering the best outcomes for you and your family. So what DO they actually do and why should you consider speaking to one?
Here are seven things you might not know a financial adviser could do for you:
- Personal advice – a financial adviser will find a solution that’s right for you, rather than just hand you an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits all product. They’ll ask you questions about you, your job, family and lifestyle to get a full picture of who you are and what you really need – whether you’re a first-time buyer, a business owner, starting a family, or preparing for retirement.
- Knowledge of the market – a financial adviser isn’t tied to a particular bank or provider, which means they can research the whole market to find the right product for you. Because of this, they could have access to products that are more suitable for you than those available online.
- Extra benefits – not all protection plans are just about a cash pay-out. Some also include extra benefits. These could include things like support from a qualified nurse, or bereavement counselling that you can access without making a claim. Plans like these are commonly only available through a financial adviser, so it can be useful to speak to one to find out more.
- Peace of mind – a financial adviser will find out what policies you already have, even if you’re not sure where the paperwork is. They’ll look at what financial support your employer provides, and confirm what you’re entitled to from the state. They’ll tell you where the gaps in your finances lie so you only buy what you need to. And they can advise you on things like trusts which can help make sure any money that’s paid out from your plan goes to the people you’d intended, without delay. Talking to a financial adviser will give you the peace of mind that all your needs have been considered.
- The buck stops with them – with something as important as your finances, you don’t want to worry that you’ve got it wrong. A financial adviser, on the other hand, is a specialist in this area. They’ll keep up-to-date with the latest products and changes in the market, and take responsibility for making the best choice on your behalf.
- Practical help – if you ever need to claim on any of your protection plans, your adviser will help you with this. Whether that’s making the initial claim, or following up with any paperwork for you. It’s an adviser’s job to support you throughout your partnership with them – and that includes the aspects that can often be more difficult for you during an emotionally challenging time.
- Proactive support –a financial adviser can provide ongoing support to make sure the cover you have is still right for you. For example, you might need to adjust your cover if you move house, have children or change jobs. Rather than leaving you to manage this yourself, your adviser can make the relevant changes so your plans are always valid and up-to-date.
It’s true that we can buy so many things ourselves online now, from flights to holidays to pizzas and fridge freezers, without having to go through a middle man. But when it comes to something as important as our finances, it pays to go to an expert.