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Improving Access to Financial Advice
Any good lesson starts with the basics and the same can be said for financial advice. While we focus on the many reasons why people benefit from taking expert, professional advice on aspects such as retirement planning and protection insurance, we also need to look at the how. By this, we mean how exactly people access financial advice in the first place.
In the Dark
A survey from The Consumer Intelligence conducted on behalf of advice giant Openwork and reported in Cover magazine shows that nearly 43% of UK adults and almost two-thirds (62%) of women do not know where to turn for financial advice.
This is concerning enough but we may reasonably assume that these individuals are making their own financial provisions. But this is not the case. The research also found that more than a quarter of people surveyed had not started saving for retirement and nearly half (42%) do not even plan to start creating a provision until they are aged 55 or older.
Accessibility to face-to-face financial advice should be a given and not a luxury; with the same survey showing that many people are worried about if and how they will be able to finance their retirement, there is a clearly defined gap between what people need and want, and what they feel able to access.
Talking About Money
We need to work to break the cycle and make sure that financial advice is readily available to those in need. There is also another key barrier that needs to be broken down when it comes to financial advice and that’s the taboo of talking about money.
Keeping financial concerns quiet is causing or exacerbating employees’ mental health issues; it is also increasing the burden on individuals despite the fact that there is almost always a clear solution that can be implemented.
Figures from the Money and Mental Policy Institute show that nearly half (46%) of people in problem debt also have a mental health issue. The link between money worries and mental health can easily spiral out of control, and the financial struggles are bound to grow more serious if left unattended.
Investing in advice makes sense for our financial and mental health, between which there is an inextricable link, and talking about it with an expert will provide an instant level of reassurance.
But making that first step is always the most difficult which is why we need to make sure it is easily accessible to all and that people understand there are many options available.
Cash flow forecasting and holistic financial planning are some of the Vintage specialities; this can instantly reduce stress by breaking down seemingly huge issues into bite-sized chunks and helping clients to manage both their finances and anxiety levels.
The Question of Robo-Advice
While face-to-face still remains the format of choice for the majority seeking financial advice, we do need to acknowledge the role of robo-advice in the financial planning arena. It is so important to identify and break down any represent barriers to seeking advice; robo-advice is a relatively new concept that may be intimidating to the older generations. It could even put them off seeking advice.
Robo-advisers are software platforms offering advice and investment management online with minimal human intervention. Predominantly based on algorithms, they provide clients with a portfolio based on key information they must input, including attitude to risk and goals.
Some people may choose to opt for robo-advice due to their roster of lower-cost investment products; it is also likely to appeal to the younger generations and those with very straightforward financial planning needs.
Human Touch vs. Artificial Intelligence
However, many people will come across gaps and major flaws in this advice route as the face of the passive investment model changes and robo-advice struggles to keep to its original guiding principles, undermining the very reasons why investors might choose this route in the first place.
In addition, face-to-face or telephone advice gives far more scope for the adviser to ask probing questions and make informed investment recommendations as well as fully outline the level of risk involved.
Tech experts have also highlighted how robo-advice based entirely on artificial intelligence can never be fully regulated because it is impossible to track the decision process.
With lack of confidence one of the key reasons many people resist taking advice, this simply highlights how it is imperative to meet an adviser face to face and forge an ongoing relationship where you can easily and freely express any concerns or questions as and when they come up.
At Vintage, we value every client relationship and it is this forging and nurturing of client contact that allows us to account for the individual’s full financial picture and take specific goals into consideration for the most effective ongoing advice.
We also use our relationships to ensure every client fully understands their individual financial planning process, once again breaking down barriers through full transparency.
The Cost of Advice
Fears about the cost of advice may also put people off, especially for those with smaller amounts to invest. This is why it’s so important to clearly communicate value.
Face-to-face advice is also far more flexible when it comes to accessing your money. Many robo-platforms cannot or will not release it fast enough whereas “real-life” solutions can be set up so that you have full control and can get money out immediately, as and when you want or need it.
Our team at Vintage are constantly working to improve our service offering and streamline costs for the best and most cost-effective customer experience. Financial wellbeing workshops are just one example of how we operate a flexible business model designed to appeal to workers of all ages and make advice accessible to all.
By automating our processes where possible and utilising the most current technology, we are offering a service that will also cater to the younger generations who may otherwise feel pressured to resort to robo-advice.
Setting Up a Buffer
As access to financial advice continues to improve, we can only highlight the importance of putting your affairs in place at the earliest possible opportunity. Ignoring the burden of financial strain will only make things worse and could leave you vulnerable in the case of illness, redundancy, spousal death or any other catastrophic life event.
The cash flow forecasting and expert insights you will receive from a qualified adviser will reinstate your element of control and make sure you have a plan in place should life not go to plan. Contact us today for more details.