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What are the benefits of using an IFA over going direct?

There are times in all of our lives when we need advice on money and financial planning. Today we have access to a wide range of resources to help with this. The internet is full of advice sites, comparison sites, do it yourself guides, or you can choose to engage with a financial advisor. Which option you choose will depend on many factors, including the complexity of your finances, your circumstances, and your long-term and shorter-term goals. While for simple financial queries searching for a solution yourself might be quick and easy, there are certainly times where there is significant value in using an Independent Financial Advisor rather than going direct.

Financial Advisor

Source @firmbee

Some might feel it’s counter-intuitive to spend the money you’ve worked hard to save on financial advice. However, a good IFA can save you far more than their hourly fee. If you need a little more convincing, here are a few reasons why appointing an IFA is invaluable:

Advice is golden

IFA’s typically cover a wide range of areas of financial planning. They can advise you based on your unique circumstances and recommend products to meet your individual needs. IFA’s are independent and have access to the whole market. They don’t act on behalf of any product, body or specific provider. What this means is, any advice they provide will be unbiased and impartial. They are experts in their field and can advise on the following and more:

  • Look at how to reduce your tax bill, either relating to investments or your income.
  • Help protect you and your family with insurance that meets your needs
  • Help you plan for the future, knowing how much you need and how to achieve your goals.
  • Build investment portfolios that meet your objectives but are within your risk tolerance.
  • Advice on mortgage products and loans

Of course, for all these, you can go direct to suppliers or comparison websites. However, these do not offer the same level of personal service. Even using a financial advisor connected to a bank is likely to be biased towards their product portfolio. 

Peace of mind that you are covered

IFA’s will completely cross-check a product with their clients and take the time to educate them, explaining the types of products available and why they should consider one over another. When you go direct, typically, you will not get the same level of service when choosing your products. Therefore, it’s much easier to miss out on critical information. You will also be confident in the knowledge that your IFA has taken the time to check the market and select the right products for you.


They can help with retirement planning


The world of pensions is a complex one. Having enough money to live comfortably after you retire is vital for us all. Your pension is literally your savings from a lifetime of work. You’ll need to make a series of decisions throughout your adult life, from setting it up, building up a savings pot to finally drawing it out when the time comes. Planning your retirement is not a task to be taken lightly, and an IFA can assist you in the following ways:


  • Setting up and investing a pension
  • Regular monitoring of your pension
  • Provide clear information on how much you need to live comfortably in retirement
  • Budgeting and managing your personal cash flow before and during retirement
  • Advise you on your pension allowance and any pension tax reliefs you may be entitled to claim.
  • Ensure you have enough money saved to retire
  • Understand how to manage your pension as it is downdrawn. There are many ways to do this, and professional advice is critical to avoid outliving your pension!


Set up your Estate Planning


Thinking about how you will pass on your wealth to your loved ones is critical. Using an IFA can help you explore the options available and create a plan that allows your wishes to be honoured in the most tax-efficient way. A good IFA will work in conjunction with a lawyer or accountant. Here are some of the services an IFA can help with your estate planning:


  • Drawing up a will
  • (IHT) Inheritance tax planning
  • Setting up and the ongoing management of trusts
  • Establishing how much money you need for your retirement and therefore how much money you can give away/leave to loved ones.

Mortgage advice

Taking independent advice can be key to the success of your mortgage application. This is especially important if you have a complex financial history or set of circumstances. IFA’s have access to the whole market and the best deals available and could potentially save you thousands over the life of your mortgage. People who seek financial advice for mortgages typically have a greater acceptance rate and secure better deals. However, when you go direct for your mortgage deal, you will be restricted to that provider’s options. If you do not get approved the first time, it can seriously damage your chances of getting a good mortgage deal. An IFA appointed to help secure a mortgage can:


  • Explain the different types of deals available and the different deals
  • Advise how much you can borrow
  • Be able to access special mortgage deals not available for the broader market.
  • Increase your chances of a successful application by helping with the preparation


Help with Investment Decisions


If you are looking to invest, you need to do your homework. You’ll need to research online, read publications, discuss with your network. It can all be extremely daunting to go it alone directly. Even if you have an idea of how you want to invest, it’s wise to consult a financial advisor who will be able to:


  • Take the time to understand your investment goals
  • Help you develop a financial plan
  • Provide advice during volatile market periods
  • Track and seek investments that meet your profile
  • Recommend investments and investment strategies


These are just a handful of examples of how an Independent Financial Advisor can help you manage your finances. Of course, there are many more areas in which using an IFA is beneficial, including insurance advice, financial health checks, financial advice for key milestones in your life. When you appoint an IFA, you will provide a personal service to you and help you with your current and future financial aspirations.

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