There’s a lot in the news these days about planning for the future, everyone being urged to save, save, save for their retirement. Of course this is easier said than done for many, what with the cost of living going up all the time, mortgage and fuel costs being just two of the areas causing concern.
Even when you do have the money to consider saving, the big question is how to do it the right way. Do it the wrong way and Gordon Brown and his chancellor will get their hands on (more of) your money, something that no one really wants. But it is a complicated world out there, with lots of different savings plans and many interesting ways of reducing tax and increasing returns, but you do have to know your way around.
Then of course, there are ways of making sure that you are paying the least possible for your mortgages and loans. The credit crunch in Dec 2007 has made this much more difficult, with many lenders simply not being able / willing to lend money the way they used too. Those with a poor or adverse credit history have even more problems in this area, however, there are those that know where to look.
In the end the area of personal finance is yet another where you really have to turn to the experts, their knowledge saving you lots of money, even when their fees are taken into account. The issue then is “knowing which one to ask to help you”, there being almost as many of these Financial Advisers as there are savings plans and mortgages.
Unless your financial circumstances are very specialised, you may well be best to choose a financial adviser that has offices near by, that way you can get to see them whenever necessary, rather than being limited to discussing your important matters on the phone or by post.
These days too you are probably going to get the best deals by ensuring that you enlist the services of an Independent Financial Adviser, that way you’ll get a wider choice than if you use an adviser that is “tied” to a particular bank etc. These IFA’s are governed by a strict code, so you can be sure that you’ll be OK.
Even with the narrowed criteria choosing only a local company, and one that is independent, you’re still going to find quite a bewildering number of potential companies to choose from, so how do you go about choosing the right one? Recommendation, by word of mouth is by far the best way of finding someone you know you can trust, but failing that method, the next best thing must be the Internet.
Never before has so much information been available to anyone looking for anything (including financial advice) than today. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you’ll be able to locate dozens of prospective advisers. The next step is to shortlist say a dozen, these being the ones whose listings on the Search Engines has caught your eye. Then have a brief look at all the sites and pick a few that seem to be talking your language and be best suited to your needs. If they have any downloadable material it can be good idea to request it, you won’t be bombarded with calls or emails, but you will get an insight into the way that advisor does business and what fields they cover.
Once you’ve got your shortlist, the next best thing is to go and see their offices and perhaps ask a few questions to see how helpful they are, and then finally you’ll be able to plump for one of them, secure in the knowledge that you have done your research and that if you don’t get on with your first choice, that you have others to which to turn.
Good luck in choosing your financial advisor and good luck too with your savings plan.