For many people, seeing an Independent Financial Adviser (aka IFA) is considered a luxury for the rich. However, just as with anything, you can find the right IFA to suit your needs – and your budget.
Like any profession, there are different types of Independent Financial Adviser. There are some firms who only deal with ‘high net worth individuals’, however there are many IFAs in the UK who are more than happy to deal with ‘normal’ clients.
A client on a lower income needs financial advice as much as a high earner - if not more so, as they need to make less go a lot further!
IFAs are not always expensive
Many IFAs will not charge for a first meeting, and there is rarely a commitment to take things further. It is important that you get on with your adviser, so the meeting will usually be non-committal on both sides.
Some IFAs charge fees, others take commission when business is transacted. Either way, they should run through exactly how much everything is likely to cost - so there will be no surprises further on down the road.
Fees and commissions will vary according to who you use and what services they deliver. But to give you an idea of the cost, if you are taking out insurance, the adviser can get paid commission, so you will not have to pay any additional fees.
Similarly if you are starting an investment or pension plan, the adviser may be able to deduct their fees from the investment itself (so you pay nothing on top).
Alternatively you could find an adviser who charges an hourly rate (usually upwards of £150), and who will quote for any work in advance.
If you’re concerned about fees, don’t be embarrassed to say so. Many companies have extremely flexible fee structures, to suit all types of client.
Everybody needs financial planning
Good financial planning requires:
- Sensible budgeting
- Cash-flow forecasts
- Financial goals
- Reviewing circumstances and objectives
- Legislation changes and how they affect you
- Regular ‘financial health check’ to ensure that your affairs are organised as well as they could be given the circumstances
- Reviews and information on savings, investments, pensions, insurance and personal tax
A bit like keeping fit, financial security is not something that can be achieved overnight. You have to work on it on an on-going basis.
If you don’t feel it’s something you can keep on top of by yourself, then consider building up a good long term relationship with an adviser.
Of the 30,000 IFAs in the UK, less than 20% are women. However, female advisers are on the increase.
You may find that a female adviser suits you best, as they can be more accessible and less intimidating. It is very important to feel that you can be open and honest with your adviser.
Also if you’re juggling your life, career and family, you may feel that a woman will have a greater understanding of your situation.
How to find an IFA
As with most things in life, a personal recommendation can be the safest bet. A good start would be to ask family, friends or colleagues whether they have anyone that they could recommend - if your peers are in a similar position to you, it’s likely that you’ll also be suited to their adviser.
However, before making the appointment, it’s a good idea to check with the adviser that you would be the right sort of client for them
Otherwise, to find an IFA in your area, go to Unbiased.co.uk