With so many financial products available it can be difficult to compare all the options and make the right decision for you. If you are confused by what is on offer, it’s best to get professional financial advice.
You might consider getting financial advice especially if you are making long-term financial decisions, like:
- Planning for your retirement and looking at pension options
- Dealing with the financial effects of big changes in your life, such as separation or divorce
- Buying someone out of a joint mortgage or selling your portion of a house to the person you bought it with
- Investing for the first time
- Getting a mortgage
- Protecting yourself and your family if you become ill or die
Think about your needs
You need to think carefully about what you want from an adviser. Do you need general advice on financial planning or more specific advice about a particular decision or product? Being clear about what you want from an adviser will make it easier to choose the right type of financial adviser for your needs.
A qualified and experienced financial adviser can:
- Help you understand your needs, plan ahead and become more financially secure
- Save you money and time by shopping around on your behalf
- Help you understand the risks involved in certain financial products
- Recommend the most suitable products for your needs
Prepare for your meeting with a financial adviser
- Be clear about what you want from an adviser. Are you looking for general advice on financial planning, or advice about something specific?
- Do some research and find out about the different products that are available. You can check our jargon buster for financial terms so you have a better understanding and are prepared ( we like to conduct our interviews with as little jargon where possible so you have a better understanding of what we are advising you).
- Once you have done your research, prepare a list of questions that you want to ask the adviser
- Bring documents to your meeting that your adviser may need, such as proof of your address, identity and income.
- Bring information on any financial products that you have, such as any loans, mortgages, investments or other assets
At the meeting
- Always answer your adviser’s questions fully and honestly. It will help you and your adviser to get a clearer picture of your overall circumstances
- Take notes during the meeting in case you forget something, and ask questions about anything you don’t understand
- Take time to consider any recommendations carefully, and don’t sign anything unless you have read and understood it fully
Questions to ask
There are some questions you should ask your adviser, regardless of the type of product you are getting advice on:
- How does this product meet my needs?
- What charges are involved? How do they compare with similar products?
- Are the charges ongoing or are they once-off?
- What would happen if you missed a regular payment on this product?
- What, if any, ongoing service can you expect if the adviser receives a commission?
There are also specific questions you should ask yourself or your adviser if you are getting advice on investments, insurance, mortgages or pensions.
- What are the main risks with this investment?
- Is your investment, or any growth on your investment, secure?
- What is the minimum recommended term of the investment?
- If you cash in your investment early, will you have to pay a penalty?
- Will the investment affect your tax or social welfare benefits?
- How will you find out how your investment or pension is performing?
- Do you need a regular income when you retire, in addition to the state pension?
- Do you need to provide for other dependents after you die?
- What rate of tax will you be paying on your income?
- Do you have any serious medical condition which may reduce your life expectancy in retirement?
- Have you any other assets you can use in your retirement which may provide you with an income such as other property, savings, investments etc?
- Consider the advantages and disadvantages between an Approved Retirement Fund and a regular secure income before you decide
- What am I covered for and for how long?
- Is this cover necessary for me?
- Could the premium increase for any reason?
- When and why could my claim be refused?