Some resources offer completely impartial, free money advice. They give you a first or second opinion on all matters related to money.
1. Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service (MAS) covers every aspect of money imaginable, although if your debt is worrying you it’ll refer you elsewhere.
MAS won’t answer questions on specific products, like “Which life insurer is best for me?” or “What’s the best savings account?” However, it will tell you what to beware of when choosing those products yourself.
You could also ask about whether you have to pay your parents’ debts when they die, or about saving for university for the children, for example.
The helpline number is 0300 500 5000. It’s included in any free minutes plans, but they’ll call you back if you want. You can also arrange a face-to-face meeting.
2. National Debtline
There are a few services that provide great debt advice, for free, and completely impartially.
They can advise what solution is best for your specific situation, and can help you to contact and negotiate with those you owe money to, if necessary.
National Debtline is available throughout the whole of the UK. There is no ‘dealing with debt’ question that it cannot help you with.
The free helpline is 0808 808 4000. You can also email for advice.
The Consumer Credit Counselling Service and Citizens’ Advice have also both got good reputations for debt advice.
3. Citizens’ Advice
You can ask Citizens’ Advice for the same money advice as MAS – and it even runs some of its operations face-to-face.
You could also ask it about what benefits you’re entitled to, about problems with your energy bills, or about what to do if you think you’re being treated unfairly by a retailer or other company. Advisers will also help you write important letters.
Like MAS, Citizens Advice can’t advise about specific financial products.
You can call Citizens’ Advice, or visit it, or even email your questions. For contact details, see its Citizens Advice: Get advice page.
4. The Pensions Advisory Service
The Pensions Advisory Service also can’t recommend specific products, but it can answer your more general pension queries, and even help you settle pension disputes.
It deals with private pensions, the state pension and company pensions, as well as questions about getting an income from your pension when you retire.
You can call the service on 020 7630 2200 (and press option one) or you can email it through this form.
5. Social media
Social media includes internet discussion boards and Q&A tools. If you find a busy one covering the area of money you’re researching, you can get a lot of answers and debate from a crowd of people in hours.
The strength of social media is that you can get an opinion, hopefully lots of opinions, about anything. However, this is also its weakness. That’s why it’s often best to do research or get advice from somewhere else first, and use social media as a final check to ensure you’ve got the right solution.