Think Smart

Do I need a financial advisor?

Mike Hunt

Do I need a financial advisor?

At some point in their lives, most people will need financial advice. Many of these people will benefit from seeking advice frequently, and a few will do so regularly. But how can you determine what advice you need? What are the signs that you should hire an advisor?

The advice can be invaluable when making a decision that will affect a lot of money. It may be rare or even one-off to invest in a pension, buy a house, or plan your retirement, so you won't have much experience to draw from when making these crucial decisions. Even though you may seek advice from friends and family or online, neither can provide you with the same confidence level as independent advice from an experienced professional.

When should I consult a financial advisor?

It's not always obvious when advice makes a difference, but there are many occasions in life when it does. When faced with one or more of these choices, most people contact an adviser.

  • Setting up a pension
  • Buying a home
  • Investments
  • Family planning
  • Changing careers
  • Setting up a business
  • Retirement planning
  • Income in retirement
  • Life after retirement

You may also seek financial advice if you are moving abroad, getting divorced, preparing for long-term care for yourself or a family member, or if you need to obtain a financial product, such as a mortgage, insurance policy, or pension.

What can a financial advisor do for me?

There is more than a financial adviser can do than tell you what to do with your money. Advice is supposed to help you use your money to accomplish your goals. Therefore, a good adviser will consider your entire situation, from your present situation to your medium- and long-term outlook, to help you choose the right course of action.

When you ask your adviser for advice on how to access your pension, they will first discuss your retirement plans so that the advisor can assess changing income needs over time. Once this is done, your financial advisor will recommend strategies and products.

Finally, an independent or a whole-of-market financial adviser can find the right product for you based on everything available - something comparison sites cannot do. In addition to ensuring the product is perfect for your particular circumstances, they will ensure that it is the most cost-effective.

Choosing a financial advisor

On, you can find a financial adviser in two ways.

You can start by using our matching service. Describe what kind of help you need, and our system will connect you with an adviser near you. You'll likely receive a match within 48 hours (often, it's even quicker).

Searching and comparing is the other option. Enter your search criteria to see a list of rated advisers. You can then compare ratings and advice types offered by advisors near to you.

We also have an adviser checklist that can assist you in preparing for your first meeting with an adviser.

Is this financial adviser a good fit for me?

An initial meeting with a financial adviser is usually free, so you can get to know one another; this is a great time to ensure you've made the right decision.

Ask your adviser about their qualifications and experience, and they will be happy to share them with you. Please verify that the qualifications and experience on their profile match up. Ensure that your adviser has the relevant qualifications (e.g. long-term care) if you seek a specialist's advice. If you want to learn more about each, check out our Adviser Qualifications page.

It would be best to inquire about the fees your adviser charges; these should also be spelt out clearly. We have a Cost of Advice page to see how their prices compare with the market average. If they differ significantly, ask why. About the financial advisers

Financial advisers on our site are all regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They cannot accept commissions as payment, preventing any conflict of interest when they recommend products. A financial adviser can be either an independent financial adviser (IFA) or a restricted whole-of-market adviser (ROWMA).


With the help of an IFA, you will be given objective, general advice that considers all products on the market.

Advisers with restricted market access

Although this type of financial adviser is restricted in what kind of products they can advise on, they will still provide impartial advice that considers all providers of those products. Your advisor must inform you about the restrictions on your advice from this type of financial adviser.

Restricted Advisors

'Restricted advisers' are also a type of adviser. These advisers can recommend a limited range of products.

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