Free advice on pensions and other financial matters

Free advice on pensions is available from a new service targeted at the over 50s, who are most likely to have been hit by the impact of stock markets falls.

 Free advice on pensions

Those approaching retirement or already drawing from pensions may welcome some advice or reassurance on what to do next

Don’t tell the millennials this but there is a school of thought that it is investors aged 50 and over that are most affected by the current financial crisis, especially those approaching retirement and those in later life.

Financial advisers are offering counsel to investors and retirees with concerns whether existing customers or not.

It stands to reason that with time ahead for an investment portfolio to resurrect itself following any stock market losses, those individuals not needing to access their savings right now have some leeway to get back on track.

In response to the current crisis a group of financial advisers have come together to offer help and advice over 50s anxious or concerned about their pension or other personal finances, e.g. investments, wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and other retirement planning matters, except for debt consolidation.

Over 50 financial advisers have agreed to support by offering a free initial discussion. The advisers will work to common guidelines and will use their discretion whether to offer ‘pro bono’ advice for vulnerable and low-income clients or regulated financial advice for a modest fee if needed.

Through the service people will be able to book a free and no-strings attached, initial 30-minute phone call with a regulated financial adviser.

It is expected and hoped that many callers will get what they need from the free initial discussion and will not necessarily need to move to regulated advice. If people go on to take advice the normal regulatory rules will apply. If the adviser cannot help, callers will be signposted to the appropriate organisation / agency.

This initiative was launched by William Burrows of financial adviser Better Retirement who believes everybody who is affected by the current crisis should have access to financial advice if they need it.

William Burrows said: “We wanted to find a way to reach out and help everybody who has questions or concerns about their pension or their financial well-being at a time of national emergency and I have been taken back by the support from the adviser community”.

“I know how confusing and difficult pensions and personal finance is for many people especially during the current crisis. But in my experience an initial discussion with an experienced financial adviser helps people to understand the key issues, giving them the confidence to start planning ahead, and can go a long way to putting financial worries and anxieties at ease”.

Andrew Pennie, marketing director at Intelligent Pensions says: “These are unusual and unprecedented times for us all. It’s been fantastic to see the incredible efforts of all the key workers and fund raisers and we are delighted to be part of a financial services initiative which aims to help people in these challenging times. Having spoken with family, friends and our clients, I know people have all sorts of different questions and concerns about the current global situation and the impact on their financial plans. We look forward to providing reassurance and guidance to people who contact the emergency financial advice service for help.”

Pennie concedes that financial issues and concerns are typically very personal and individual.

“What is of concern to one person may be of no concern to the next,” he says. “It is easy to panic or bury your head in the sand when it comes to financial affairs and the impact of an external event such as Covid19.”

You may have managed your finances and investments quite happily yourself up to now but in these ‘unprecedented’ times it might be reassuring to have some outside professional advice – if only to put your mind at rest as to what you are doing.

Pennie makes the point that qualified financial advisers have considerable experience and knowledge of managing all aspect of finances, personal objectives and long-term plans; in good and bad times.

Clients of advisers, he says, tend to be more reassured and confident about their finances and future objectives.

“Consumers who don’t have a financial adviser are likely to be more concerned about their personal finances and if the emergency financial advice initiative can become a service to deliver answers, guidance and direction it should help to reassure and empower people to tackle their issues and concerns.”

These issues and concerns, he says include:

  • Most of the calls are likely to be simple questions and can be directed to the relevant information. For example, people generally don’t know when they will get their state pension or how much they are likely to get. For quick and easy answers on the state pension look here.
  • For someone close to retirement, what impact will the stock market falls have on their income and standard of living? Can they still afford to retire?
  • Some may be disillusioned with the stock market and their pension/investments and might be tempted to cash-out. Can discuss dangers and tax implications of such action and alternative options and long-term view required.
  • Some will be panicking about their investments and considering whether to sell and what alternatives they have. Others will have money they are thinking of investing but wondering how best to do this in such volatile markets.
  • Some people might be concerned about their pension contributions and wondering whether they can afford to continue paying them and what options they have.
  • With all the Government borrowing, there has been talk of inflation. People might be concerned about maintaining their standard of living.
  • While the advice line isn’t set up for debt queries, there will be calls about mortgage/debt holidays and how these will work. The majority will simply extend the term of the loan and details and availability should be directed to the lender. More serious debt queries would probably be directed to CAB.

Further reading: Why get financial advice? Five good reasons why you should



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