Planning your financial future
Who do you need when you are looking to get your financial affairs in order - a financial planner or a financial adviser? Both types of adviser will be registered with the FCA and they will each be at least level 4 diploma qualified, so what is the difference?
A Financial Adviser generally focuses on selling you products to meet your current needs. A Financial Planner will talk with you about what your values, goals and key relationships are and will work with you to ensure that you have the best chance of achieving your financial aims. The focus of a Financial Planner is very much on listening, understanding, and planning your future.
Why are qualifications important?
Chartered Financial Planners will have achieved the Level 6 standard, which is the equivalent of a degree. It makes sense before engaging with a firm to check if they are a Chartered Financial Planner and/or a Certified Financial Planner, as these are the highest qualified planners in the profession. These qualifications show that they have trained to the highest level and that they keep up to date with any changes through continued professional development, and this status shows that advisers at this level can help plan even the most complicated of affairs.
The financial plan they provide should link all this together and be clear about the steps you need to take to build a solid financial future.
A common worry amongst clients is having enough money to fund their retirement plans. The best planners are able to demonstrate using market leading technology whether your portfolio is able to sustain you through your retirement. They can also highlight potential shortfalls and illustrate the action you need to take to rectify this. This process can be illuminating - and in some cases clients are able to retire earlier and start to enjoy the fruits of their labour now.
It is also important that your plan is reviewed annually, and additionally when any major life events happen, such as retirement, redundancy or inheritances. Taking account and adapting to these ‘course corrections’ is important to ensure that your plan stays on target and that you are able to enjoy the lifestyle and retirement you aspire to.
Relationships matter. You need to be comfortable that your Financial Planner has your best interests at heart and that they fully understand your goals and aspirations. Equally important is the willingness of your Financial Planner to be candid enough to challenge your thinking if it means that your financial plan will benefit in the long run.
Clear & Transparent Fees
A Financial Planner will clearly explain to you exactly how much it will cost for their services. The fees should be easy to understand; and they should give you a clear understanding what you will receive for the fees paid. Remember the cheapest is not always the best! Your decision should not be based on fees alone, but experience, level of qualifications and the ability to build an ongoing relationship with your Financial Planner.