Discover the real value of financial advice

MoneyPlus Features Team

Want to improve your financial future? Whether you’re starting out in your 20s or 30s, sorting your mid-life finances, or getting ready to retire, it makes sense to make the most of your money.

You can get guidance by getting informed. Thanks to smartphones and search engines we now have answers to just about everything at our fingertips – and there are our guides and tools on too.

But the difference between getting ‘an answer’ and getting ‘the answer which is right for you’ is huge – and that difference is what can make advice invaluable.

A good financial adviser will always take the time to truly understand your circumstances, so that they can give you a personal recommendation for what you should do.

We find out when, why and how some people might choose to take expert financial advice and what the benefits can be…

The financial angle

The 2017 Value of Advice research report revealed how paying for expert financial advice has been proven to help people have more money. It says that, overall, those “who work with a financial planner are an average of £40,000 better off than people who have not taken advice”.

And helping people build more life savings, as the report highlights, means they’re on the way to having a better chance to enjoy the kind of life they want when they stop working.

Then there are the emotional benefits

While taking advice – either as a one-off or throughout your life – can help you get your finances in shape, there are other benefits. One is around how confident you feel about your finances.

It’s something one of our colleagues, Sue, recently told us she can relate to.

“I had my children young. At 35, my next ‘big birthday’ was my 40th, then my 45th. At each stage, I’d be wondering about what comes later.”

Which is why Sue decided to take some advice to check her finances were on track so she can do what she dreams of: retiring early.

She continues: “If you’ve taken advice, and planned ahead, then you can live in the ‘here and now’ as well as looking ahead and being excited about the future. It’s a win-win.”

Sue isn’t alone in thinking this: research carried out for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published last year by NMG Consulting found that those “who choose to employ a financial adviser receive the emotional benefit of peace of mind that they are doing the best they can to meet their financial objectives”.

“We want help to do the right things with our savings”

June and Alan Richmond, who live in a seaside town on the west coast of Scotland, are looking forward to enjoying more of their retirement.

Alan, who is planning to cut down further on his part-time hours as a chartered surveyor and start taking his pension savings explains: “I’m still working but plan to retire at some point and maybe drop to two days a week before that.

“I don’t want to work forever – I’m 66 – I enjoy what I do and would like to continue until my successor at work is ready to take over.”

Adds June: “We know a bit about pensions but we really want to get financial advice that we can trust, to help us do the right thing with our savings.”

“We’re looking to make things simple and make the right choices with Alan’s pension. We have a reasonable idea of what we want to do but we do need advice to help us get the right balance between spending and having fun. We want to enjoy ourselves and ensure we have some left to help the family.

“One area we particularly need advice around is estate planning and our wills,” adds June.

“We’d assumed our wills were the way to pass on any pension savings and thought everything was in order, but we now understand that’s not the case.

“Pension savings are actually covered by a pension beneficiary nomination form. Knowing that is really helpful and means we will let our pension provider know who our nominated beneficiaries are.”

Need an adviser?

If you’re considering taking advice and don’t have an adviser, you can find one in your area on There’s normally a charge for financial advice.

Here at Standard Life we also offer financial planning through our advice arm, 1825.

If you’re not ready for advice

If you’re not looking for advice at the moment, getting good guidance is important.

We have tools and guides on saving on, including our tool to work out how much you might need for the kind of retirement you have in mind.

The Money Advice Service has guidance to help you improve your day-to-day finances as well as your life savings.

The Pensions Advisory Service is the government-backed service for workplace and personal pensions. Plus, Citizens Advice also has useful information on understanding pensions and how to get ready for retirement as well as ways to manage debt and money.


A pension is an investment and it can go down in value as well as up. You could get back less than you started with. This article shouldn’t be taken as financial advice and is based on our understanding in September 2018.