Even successful people can be bad with money. What's the secret to making sound financial decisions with your business?
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The first thing to establish is whether you need financial advice or financial guidance. Whereas guidance (usually offered by advice charities) just provides you with general information about your options, and pros and cons in broad terms, financial advice will tell you about specific products which will suit the circumstances of your business.
Before seeking out an advisor, you need to look carefully at the financial situation of your business and ask yourself a few questions. For example, how much of a risk are you willing to take with investments? Do you just need one-off advice, or are you looking for something more long-term?
Types of financial adviser
There are two kinds of financial advisers: independent financial advisers (IFAs), who give unbiased advice on the relevant products offered by all the companies available, and restricted advisers, who will either offer advice in one financial area, or only be able to recommend products from certain companies.
IFAs are generally recommended as you will be offered a wider range of options and have access to a broader field of advice.
The easiest way to get in touch with a financial adviser in your area is through organisations such as Unbiased, Personal Finance Society, and Vouched For.
There are certain qualifications that a financial adviser must have, and set standards they must meet. Your adviser should have at least a Level 4 of the Qualification and Credit Framework and an up-to-date Statement of Professional Standing.
They should also be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Ask your adviser about these when you meet them!
Not everyone is qualified to give financial advice
The right adviser for you
Your adviser should be giving you the right kind of advice for your business. The financial products they recommend should be affordable, reflect how you want to save money (short term or long term) and suit how much risk you want to take with your money.
When you first meet with your adviser, there are certain things they should make clear to you too: whether the advice is restricted or independent, what level of advice you will get, and how much it will cost. You should also be given a key facts document with further information.
Your first meeting
The most important things to do in your first meeting are to check your advisor's qualifications, take notes throughout the meeting so you can refer to them later, ask questions about anything you don't understand - you want the best advice, don't be afraid to ask! - and answer their questions honestly.
Paying for advice
You'll have to pay for both your financial advice and any financial products you buy. It's worth shopping around and seeing what different advisers charge - you might be able to get a better deal with someone else.
Financial advice can be charged in the following ways: by an hourly rate, a set fee, a percentage of the money invested, or a monthly retainer. You and your adviser should agree together how you are going to pay.