Independent financial advice
For many of us it can be a battle to balance the books and pay the bills here and now, without having to worry about how we will cope financially in the future. The temptation is to put any planning to one side, and to promise ourselves that we will give it some more thought at another time - tomorrow, next week, next year!
But for your own sake, and for the sake of your loved ones, it makes sense to plan now for how you will manage in later life.
In particular it is worth thinking about the following:
- Whether your finances and other affairs will be properly looked after should you no longer be in a position to look after them yourself
- Whether you have a legally binding will, and can be confident that your affairs will be dealt with in accordance with your wishes in the event of your death
- Whether you will be financially secure in later life.
- Whether any pension arrangements you have are secure, and will give you the best possible results when the time comes to retire
- Whether your savings, investments and other assets are in the best accounts and schemes for you to make the most of them
- Whether you will be able to access and pay for a good level of care and support should the need ever arise
Some people don't have the luxury of being able to plan ahead, and are struggling to cope financially right now - perhaps you are experiencing problems with debt, don't know whether you are entitled to state benefits, wondering if there is other financial support available to you, or have been the victim of financial exploitation or crime.
People's financial arrangements and needs can often be complicated. It is always worth talking about your finances with independent experts to be sure that you are getting the most complete and accurate advice. It's also important that any advice you receive on money matters is impartial and puts your needs and interests first.
On this page we make suggestions on some of the people you can turn to for advice.
The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) provide a database of private financial advisors who specialise in giving advice on finances in later life, enabling you to plan ahead or to make the most of your money once you reach retirement and older age. All advisors on the database have to prove that they meet appropriate criteria and have the right qualifications before they are accredited by SOLLA.
The Unbiased website allows you to search for regulated independent financial advisers offering advice on investments, pensions and more in your area.
The Alzheimers Society has produced a Dementia-friendly Financial Services Charter which promotes the rights of people with dementia, and aims to ensure that providers of independent financial services do not take advantage of them and / or sell them products which they do not need.
The Money Advice Service are an independent service, set up by government. They help people manage their money by giving free and impartial advice on all money matters. They also work in partnership with other organisations to help people make the most of their money.
The Pensions Advisory Service website offers free and impartial advice on all aspects of state and private pensions.
They can also be contacted on their helpline - tel 0300 123 1047.
The Workplace Pensions website offers information and advice to millions of workers who are automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by their employer. Once you're enrolled, not only will you pay in to it but so will your boss and the government.
The PensionWise website offers information on all issues relating to occupational and private pensions.
Your local CAB can offer free and impartial advice on welfare benefits and debt, and will point you towards more specialist advice when appropriate:-
When appropriate they will also assist you to seek out specialist advice on pensions from the national PensionWise organisation.
Tax Help for Older People is a service from the charity Tax Volunteers providing free, independent and expert help and advice for older people on lower incomes who cannot afford to pay for professional tax advice. With over 450 volunteers and a national call centre, it doesn't matter where you live.
Advice in Westminster
The Advice Plus service from A2Dominion offers advice on welfare benefits, money and bill problems, debt, care and support, problems with crime and noise, work and training, housing and much more besides.
Advice in Kensington and Chelsea
Nucleus offer confidential and free legal advice and assistance to people living in Kensington and Chelsea on a variety of issues, including debt and bankruptcy, housing, welfare benefits and employment.
If you have questions on money matters then the following pages may also be of use :
- State pension
- Private pensions
- Coping with debt
- Paying for support
- Making your own decisions (Mental Capacity Act 2005)
- Advance decisions (living wills)
- Power of attorney
- Appointeeship and deputyship
- What to do when someone dies
- Making a will
- Obtaining legal advice
- Scams, rogue traders and bogus callers
- Grants and charity payments