Frequently asked questions

Financial planning

Is financial planning only for the rich?

No, financial planning is for everyone in the UK who wants to manage their money effectively and achieve financial goals. It can help you maximise ISAs, optimise pension contributions, and plan for a comfortable retirement, regardless of your income level.

 I'm worried about the rising cost of living in the UK. Can financial planning help?

Absolutely. Financial planning can help you create a budget that considers your income and expenses, identify areas to save, and build an emergency fund to weather unexpected costs.

What are the benefits of using a UK financial planner?

UK financial planners provide personalised guidance that considers UK-specific financial products like ISAs and Pensions. They can help you navigate the complexities of the UK financial system, including tax implications, and develop a plan to achieve your financial goals.

I'm overwhelmed by all the financial information out there. Can a financial planner help?

Yes, financial planners can cut through the noise and provide clarity. They'll translate complex financial concepts into actionable steps tailored to your situation. They can also help you stay informed about UK-specific financial regulations and tax implications.

Is financial planning just about investing?

Financial planning is a holistic approach to your finances. While investment management is a key component, it also encompasses budgeting, debt management, retirement planning, and protection planning (like income protection insurance).

How can financial planning help me achieve my financial goals faster?

Financial planners can help you identify realistic goals, develop a clear roadmap, and hold you accountable. They can also recommend strategies to optimise your income and savings, potentially accelerating your progress towards your financial goals.

Getting Started with Financial Planning

What should I expect from the first meeting with a financial planner?

The initial meeting is a chance for you and the planner to get acquainted. You'll discuss your financial goals (like homeownership, retirement planning, or ISA contributions), concerns, and current financial situation. The planner will explain their services and fees.

How often should I meet with my financial planner?

The frequency depends on your needs and comfort level. Generally, there's an initial meeting followed by periodic reviews (usually annually or biannually) to adjust your plan as your life or financial situation changes.

Can I work with my Town Close financial planner online?

Yes, many UK financial planners offer virtual consultations and ongoing remote support. This can be a convenient option if you have busy schedules or live far from the planner's office.

What documents should I bring to my first meeting with a financial planner?

Gather payslips, bank statements, investment records (if any), details about your pension provisions (if applicable), and any existing life insurance or income protection policies.

What questions should I ask a potential financial planner?

Ask about their experience specialising in UK financial planning, their qualifications (like CFP certification), fee structure, investment philosophy, and how they handle client communication.

I'm not sure if I need a financial planner yet. How can I decide?

Consider your financial goals and comfort level managing your money. If you feel overwhelmed, lack a clear financial plan, or have significant life changes approaching (like retirement or starting a family), a financial planner can be a valuable asset.

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What does a typical financial plan in the UK cover?

A UK financial plan typically covers retirement planning (including State Pensions, Workplace Pensions, and private Pensions), ISA optimisation, budgeting, debt management, and Inheritance Tax mitigation strategies.

I'm approaching retirement.  What can a financial planner do to help?

A financial planner can assess your current and future income streams (including State Pensions and private Pensions), review your retirement savings, and help you develop a strategy to achieve a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

How can a financial planner help me save for my child's education?

UK financial planners can advise on Junior ISAs (JISAs) and other tax-efficient savings plans to help you accumulate funds for your child's future education.

Can a financial planner help me manage my student loan debt?

Yes, financial planners can develop strategies to manage your student loan debt effectively. This may involve budgeting, exploring repayment options, and potentially consolidating your loans.

I'm worried about the inheritance tax implications of my estate. Can a financial planner help?

Absolutely. Financial planners can develop Inheritance Tax mitigation strategies to minimise the tax burden on your beneficiaries. This may involve utilising tax-efficient investment vehicles or gifting strategies.

I'm self-employed. How are financial planning services different for me?

Financial planners can tailor their services to address the specific needs of self-employed individuals in the UK. This may involve planning for irregular income, exploring National Insurance contributions, and ensuring you have adequate protection plans in place.

Investment Management

What is the difference between active and passive investment management?

Active management involves selecting investments aiming to outperform the market, while passive management tracks a market index. Your planner will discuss your risk tolerance and goals to recommend a suitable investment approach.

How safe are my investments with a financial planner?

Financial planners are required to follow FCA guidelines to ensure client suitability and act in your best interests. However, investments inherently carry some level of risk.

Do I have to invest a lot of money to get started?

Minimum investment amounts vary by planner and investment strategy. Discuss minimums upfront to see if they align with your investable assets. There are also investment options with lower minimums suitable for those starting their investment journey.

Am I In Control Of My Finances?

How often will I receive updates on my financial plan and investments?

The frequency of communication depends on your preferences and the complexity of your plan. Regular updates (quarterly or biannually) are typical, with additional communication upon request or during market volatility.

Can I access my investment accounts online?

In most cases, yes. Financial planners will typically provide secure online access to your investment accounts, allowing you to monitor performance and holdings at your convenience.

What happens if I am unhappy with my financial planner?

Open communication is key. Discuss any concerns with your planner. If issues persist, you have the right to terminate the relationship and seek a new planner. The FCA also offers resources and guidance for resolving disputes.