Uncovering the wider benefits of financial advice

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Uncovering the wider benefits of financial advice

New research shows that sound financial advice boosts confidence and emotional wellbeing

Financial advice is more important than ever. Not only have changes in pensions and financial regulation placed more responsibility for planning retirement income into the hands of individuals, but the coronavirus pandemic has also reminded us all of how unforeseen events can rock the foundations of what we had thought was a stable financial footing.

The financial benefits of taking advice are well documented. Research undertaken by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) in 2019 showed that those who take advice are on average £47,706 better off in retirement than those who don’t1. But that’s not the end of the story.

Building on this study, the ILC has undertaken new research this year that shows financial advice could be an important factor in promoting mental health and wellbeing. Its report “Peace of mind: Understanding the non-financial value of financial advice” finds that non-financial benefits may be at least as important as the more easily visible financial ones in achieving this.

Participants in the study who had taken financial advice reported that they felt less worried about their future, enjoying the peace of mind that comes from knowing that proper preparation has been made for their later years – and that included those who were already in retirement.

They felt more confident that they would achieve their long-term goals and, through their interactions with an adviser, felt more financially literate and able to understand how those goals would be achieved – and more empowered to make complex financial decisions for themselves. Being in control of their financial future in these ways left them feeling reassured and less worried than they would otherwise have been.

But despite these benefits, there remains a significant ‘advice gap’, with fewer than one in six people taking advice. This stems partly from a lack of awareness of the benefits of seeking advice and of how and where to find it. Among those who haven’t taken financial advice, some – especially women – were worried that doing so would actually result in a loss of control, and that decisions would be taken out of their hands, but the experience of the advised participants showed this to be an unfounded fear

However, it remains clear that identifying long-term goals and establishing a financial structure to achieve them results in greater emotional wellbeing. Closing the ‘advice gap’ is a vital next step in giving that peace of mind to all.

So, the ILC is calling on government, the industry and the FCA to work together to remedy the situation by highlighting both the non-financial as well as the financial benefits of advice, and reassuring individuals that advice will be tailored specifically to their goals.

A financial adviser can help with your own financial planning. To receive a complimentary guide covering wealth management, retirement planning or Inheritance Tax planning, contact Michael Edwards Wealth Management on 01285 678910 or email michael.edwards@sjp.co.uk.

1ILC, What it’s worth – Revisiting the value of financial advice, November 2019, based on receiving professional financial advice between 2001 and 2006 resulted in a boost to wealth (in pensions and financial assets) of £47,706 in 2014/16.