According to Scottish Widows, there’s been a spike in the number of over 50s seeking help from independent financial advisers (IFAs) over the last few months. But what is an IFA, and what’s behind the surge in people turning to them for advice? Let’s take a look.
What is an IFA?
An independent financial adviser is a qualified financial professional. They can provide unbiased financial advice based on your individual circumstances and personal goals. For example, they can help you plan your estate or understand your pension contributions.
IFAs are not the same as ‘restricted’ advisers. A restricted adviser can only talk about a certain range of financial products and they can’t claim their advice is truly independent. An IFA, on the other hand, can discuss all financial products on the market, which means they can give more comprehensive and impartial advice.
Why are so many over 50s seeking financial advice?
According to research by Scottish Widows, 46% of UK IFAs have reported a surge in over 50s looking for financial help. Why the sudden increase? First, let’s break down what the over 50s asking about. The majority are contacting IFAs to discuss:
What can we take from these findings? Well, the over 50s are more concerned than ever about what’s in store financially when they retire. They’re thinking long-term and wondering what they can do to protect their finances for later life.
Why are the over 50s suddenly concerned about their pension pots? We might blame the Covid-19 pandemic, for one thing. From job losses to furlough schemes, it has been a turbulent time for everyone, and the over 50s are no exception. Some might also be wondering whether they can afford to take early retirement and spend more time with family – a pandemic puts everyone’s priorities in perspective.
When should I start planning for retirement?
The short answer? Now! It doesn’t matter what age you are – it’s never a bad time to plan for the future.
- If possible, increase your pension contributions. Your employer can explain how to do this.
- Do you have a will in place? If not, you could talk to a lawyer about writing one. Estate planning can help you protect your finances and provide for your family once you’re no longer here.
- Trace old pensions you might have forgotten about. The government has a free tool for this.
- Do you have retirement savings? Start thinking about how you might use this money – it’s never too early to make a plan!
Do I need an IFA?
No, you don’t necessarily need to hire an IFA. Whatever age you are, though, there are reasons why you might consider it.
- A financial adviser can give you expert, accurate advice based on your personal circumstances. This is helpful if you’re new to financial planning and don’t know where to begin.
- Sometimes, financial advisers can help you avoid common mistakes when it comes to estate planning.
- If you’re considering investing money for the first time, a financial adviser can help you figure out what investment strategy might be right for you. Investing is risky, and you don’t always get back what you put in, so an adviser can ensure you know what to expect.
So, while you don’t ‘need’ an independent financial adviser, these experts could help you reach your personal finance goals.
It’s never too early (or too late) to start planning for the future. You can find a financial adviser online, but always make sure they are qualified and registered to provide financial advice – check the Financial Services Register to confirm.
If you’re unsure where to start, or you need more information about hiring an adviser, reach out to a charity like Citizens Advice.
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