To produce the best cake, dinner or sweet you need a mix of ingredients in the right amount, with the right individual attention given to each.
A recipe for planning would include taking care of the essentials to protect the livelihood of you or your loved ones, be that life insurance, critical illness, income protection, pensions, savings and tax mitigation.
Taking even the most basic – life cover, do you want single cover, joint cover or life of another, level cover, increasing, decreasing, convertible or whole of life? A plan that pays out once or so much a year, and how long should the cover last? Do you need one plan or several? Do you want to protect the premium, put the plan in trust or perhaps receive tax relief on the premiums? Do you allow for an increased premium due to smoking, ill health or being over or under weight or do you find a way to arrange cover that ignores these?
I won’t go any further because life cover is probably the easiest cover to arrange and needs no qualifications for someone to sell it.
Lots of variations obviously exist for critical illness and income protection and still no qualifications are needed.
Most pensions and savings only need the basic diploma level qualifications.
So why do I mention this?
Because it’s been said that people spend more time planning a holiday than they do their financial planning.
One of the current themes of the Personal Finance Society is consumer education. I believe the general public realise how hard it is to become a Chartered or Certified Accountant or Chartered Legal Executive or Solicitor, but don’t know what’s required to be called a Financial Adviser. This is no doubt the fault of the profession.
More and more people would benefit from advice and there are now more Chartered Advisers than ever before, and many more working through exams, but locally we are not blessed with the same numbers as in other parts of the country.
Finding an adviser who cares about you is important, but highly qualified advice, I would argue, is more important. Find someone with both and you have the perfect combination.