In his latest blog, Lloyd French, Managing Director of Delaunay Wealth Management offers his honest assessment as to why some of us may be shunning the sort of financial advice that could help us reach our life goals.
As a financial planning consultant, there’s always homework on the agenda.
Most days, my Things to Do list involves perusing the latest news, views, research and analysis on this fast-moving sector – and there’s always a fair amount to take on board. It’s a subject that interests me personally as well as professionally, so it’s not an onerous task.
Plus, understanding what’s going on isn’t just a good idea. It’s essential. Seeing the full picture, with all its light, shade and everything in between helps me to understand the needs of the people I support: my clients.
So, it was with particular interest that I came upon this piece a few weeks ago by The Royal London. Full of startling statistics, it’s drawn from consumer research and seeks to explain why so many people don’t seek financial advice – and what the main reasons for this could be (you can read the full article here).
Here’s what I think:
- Life gets in the way
In my view, this is one of the main justifications that lie behind the “not for now”-rationale, and to be fair, I understand this.
You don’t have to take financial advice. You don’t need to take out a private pension. Investments aren’t the law. But you do need to go to work every day, feed and clothe your children, and pay your bills. And with a few exceptions, if you’re self-employed, filing your tax return by midnight on 31st January every year is set in stone.
Deadlines motivate us, I think (especially the last-minuters submitting their annual self-assessments at 11.55pm on 31st Jan), so if we’re not obliged to consult with financial planning specialists, it’s something that we may – should – hopefully soon – OK, next year – get around to some time.
- Trust – or rather, a lack of it
The Royal London article highlights the fact that nearly 1 in 3 survey respondents feel that they couldn’t necessarily trust a financial adviser, and that finding a “good” one isn’t easy.
Yes, to a degree I can relate to the fact that people have long memories. Independent Financial Advisers of yesteryear may not have had a solid gold reputation.
But, life moves on and so has the industry. The regulations required in 2021 are unrecognisable from those of 20 years ago. In a good way, that is. We are strictly governed by the practices of the Financial Conduct Authority, for example, and must be qualified at Level 4 or above in order to offer financial advice.
- The Fear of Being Sold To
In my opinion, this expands on my previous point about trust.
Nobody likes being sold to, but we like buying things, it seems. It’s a bit of a contradiction in terms, really.
To be honest, here at Delaunay we don’t sell. I don’t think I’ve ever sold a single thing in my entire life. I’m not even sure I know how to sell! I’ve simply presented information, guidance and advice on solutions that, in my opinion could help my clients achieve their financial goals. It’s about people making informed decisions, I think.
Plus, this is very much (or it should be) a service-based sector. Because we earn money from ongoing fees, there’s a strong vested interest in doing right by our customers. And, to be the very best we can be.
- It’s Too Expensive
The Royal London Survey presents this point first as the biggest reason by far why people avoid the services of financial advisers. A substantial 47% of respondents, despite many of them not actually knowing how much they would actually pay, thought that all of this was going to cost them way too much of their hard-earned money.
Well, this has been cited to me as a reason, but because we always cap our initial fee for all our clients, whatever the amounts involved, and given that we always mention this upfront, it’s not really so much of a big issue for Delaunay – at least that’s my impression.
With us, you’ll always know what you’re going to pay.
Thinking about this, our fee structure is one of our Unique Selling Points, and I’m rather proud of it!
- I Can Look After My Own Money
Yes, this is common. Two things, in my view: a) these good folks aren’t financial specialists, and b) they have jobs, businesses and careers; keeping an eye on investments and so on is a time-consuming task and life gets in the way. Back to my first point, perhaps.
I suppose the main rejoinder here is that financial planning consultants can add value. What I mean is, they can help you make the best of the tax-efficient options legally available to help your money go further. Also, well qualified advice could give you that safe, secure feeling. Why? Because you’ll have all the information you need to make the right decisions for you, and you alone. Plus, you’ll understand the long-term impact they could have on your life, your work, your family – everything.
- It’s Not for Me
There’s a little bit of myth busting to do here. Whilst I work primarily with higher net worth clients, financial planning can help a wide range of people from all backgrounds and with a broad span of income levels. I feel strongly that advice isn’t just for the wealthy, nor should it be.
- I’ve Already Got an Adviser
Good. Did you know that us financial specialists are happy to work alongside each other, even occasionally in partnership? In fact, that’s the key word: specialist. There are advisers in this general sector with a particular expertise or focus whose skills could complement your existing consultant.
Working collaboratively in this way could offer you some key financial benefits, just a thought.
- My Other Half Isn’t Keen
No problem, and I do encounter this scenario quite often.
Here at Delaunay, our initial review meeting is free of charge, so there’s no risk. There’s nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain, not least if it elicits a good, honest conversation about your joint financial future over dinner.
So, there you go. A whole lot of reasons why some people may be reluctant to seek financial advice. But, if this is you or someone you know, if may be time to step outside your comfort zone. We never know what life will throw at us, and if the last 18 months have shown us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected.
If you think the time is now, you could be right. Get in contact with me, Lloyd French on 0345 505 3500.