By Jeremy Squibb - Financial Life Planner.
In the article below, the journalist says "...free advice is usually worth exactly what you paid for it..." which may not be necessarily so.
In financial planning, free advice (albeit sometimes well intended) can frequently take you further away from where you want to be, putting you in a more precarious or risky position than you were before.
For years, financial advisers and banks have offered 'free reviews', 'free advice' and so on, and guess what? - they have an underlying motive for this 'free service' - they want to influence the consumer to act in a particular way - to buy their products. Looking a little deeper, all those who act on the 'free advice' through buying such a product, are subsidising the free advice of those who chose not to.
Now, of course free is tempting, but following 'rules of thumb', 'everyone else does this', 'my pal did this' leads to following the herd, a bizarre approach bearing in mind that every single one of us are different, as are our experiences, motives, finances and ambitions. Everything which leads to a financial decision is interconnected, and that decision, then leads back to all areas of our lives, our families and our future well being.
This is why, today, more and more consumers are looking towards Fee Only financial life planners - people who put their clients' specific needs and circumstances first, modelling a solution to fit them (for which they have exclusively paid for rather than being a blanket solution), rather than the old way of operating like a Las Vegas Hotel, offering free entertainment and hospitality, well knowing that they will reap far greater riches for their company from those thinking they are getting something for free.
The fact is, a lot of the stuff we hear about money from other people is dead wrong. Or more commonly, it doesn't apply when you consider all of the facts of the situation at hand. And it can mess you up, especially if you use the advice on a piecemeal basis. This is where the value of financial planning becomes apparent.