When should I engage with a financial adviser?

Many people are unsure when and whether they should start working with a financial adviser. Is it 2 years before retirement, is it 20 or 30?

This is a question more and more people will be asking in the coming years. The number of people aged over 64 in England and Wales has surged by 20% over the past decade, according to census data.  Nearly one in five of the population are over 65 and more and more are joining this cohort than ever before.

And because the old style defined benefit pension where retirement is all mapped out for you is almost extinct, it’s more and more important to have a plan. Many of these retirees will seek out financial advice.

Some will not. There are many DIY investors who study all this stuff hemselves, know taxation inside out, have a plan and follow that plan. Many can handle it on their own.

But there are plenty of people who cannot or do not want to. Here are the seven biggest reasons you should hire a financial adviser –

  1. You have a big life event. For many it’s retirement but it could be a death in the family , marriage, an inheritance, the sale of a business, stock options. Sometimes life forces your hand and you need to seek outside counsel.
  2. Your financial situation is getting more complex. As you grow your wealth the stakes tend to get higher because you have more to lose. More is paid out in taxes and poor investment performance has a larger impact. People seek out financial experts when their circumstances become more complex to deal with.
  3. You don’t have the time or the inclination. There are many people who simply don’t have the bandwidth in their life to manage their finances effectively. So they outsource. Many people have better things to spend their time on than thinking about their portfolio or their financial plan all the time. You can let someone else stress about your money so you don’t have to.
  4. You want somebody else on board in case something happens to you . There are many people that can handle their money perfectly well but they have a monopoly over the family finances. They have all the passwords, they handle the taxes, they manage the investments. And the spouse is out of the loop. Having a team or a trusted adviser that can support your family when something bad happens is a form of insurance for your dependents.
  5. You have made a big mistake. You bought and sold at the wrong time, you invested in something that was “hot”, you made a crippling error with your money. Often this is when people come to the realisation that they need help.
  6. You are faced with a big financial decision. These types of decisions are rarely black or white but shades of grey. You can go down the rabbit hole of trade-offs and become paralyzed with fear you’ll make the wrong choice. The best advisers don’t just tell you what to do, they give you a better decision-making framework to make good choices over and over again.
  7. You need a financial plan or help defining your goals. Having an adviser run through spreadsheets and simulations is easy. It’s the qualitative aspects of planning that truly matter. What are you going to do with your time? What is your relationship with money? What are your dreams and aspirations and how can your financial plan bring them to life? A good adviser will ask these questions initially and over time keep asking them so that you have a better understanding of what the money is for.


Working long term with the right adviser who understands you is invaluable. But this is a service business at the end of the day so shop around and choose wisely. Make sure they are well qualified, independent and above all that they listen.  And If it’s not working out, find somebody else.


This blog is for information purposes and does not constitute financial advice, which should be based on your individual circumstances.The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Cashflow Planning.The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the full amount invested.A pension is a long-term investment and the value is not guaranteed. Any advice or considerations are personal to each individual’s circumstances.


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