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Why financial advice has never been so valuable

The £38,000 pay-out secured for a GP recently by Chase de Vere Medical highlights just how much professional financial advice can be worth. But the value of reducing the anxiety of feeling out of control of your finances is impossible to overstate

It is not easy to put a value on high-quality, professional financial advice, but for one Northern Ireland GP, getting such support resulted in a £38,000 payment. The story underlines why it is so important to seek expert support with financial planning – whatever stage of your career you are at.

The GP, who wishes to remain anonymous, had suffered a serious illness that completely stopped him working for a year and left him only able to return to work on a part-time basis. But although he had income protection insurance that paid out when he was off work, his insurer refused to continue paying once he returned to his job, even though the move to part-time working meant his income had dropped by almost a half. “I did enquire about the reasons for this, [but was] told that this was due to the terms and conditions of my policy,” the GP recalls.

It was only when the GP attended a webinar presented by British Medical Association partner Chase de Vere Medical that he began to question whether his insurer had made a mistake. After a meeting with the GP, Chase de Vere took up his case and the insurer backtracked. The GP received more than £38,000 in compensation for the benefits he had missed out on, plus an ongoing pay-out from the original income protection policy that will continue until his planned retirement age of 60. “The company has apologised and has ensured that a process has been put in place to avoid such error in the future.,” the GP says.

Planning for the future

Not all consultations with financial advisers generate such immediate and dramatic results – and good advice is as much about long-term planning as confronting a short-term problem. Still, the benefits of professional support are difficult to over-estimate: above all, expert help can help you identify your life goals and map out a course towards achieving them. The aim is to take control of your financial future.

This has never been more important than in the current environment. Individuals and families are likely to feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their finances for many years to come. And for many people, the financial anxieties caused by the crisis will have a detrimental effect on their emotional and mental wellbeing.

Research just published by the insurance company Royal London suggests professional financial advice can have a huge impact in this regard. By giving people greater confidence that they can take control of their finances, this support boosts emotional wellbeing, Royal London found.

In the research, more than three in five people who had taken professional financial advice said they felt financially secure and stable. Fewer than half of those who had not taken advice shared this confidence. Similarly, fewer than a third of those who had received advice felt anxious about their household finances; amongst those who had not received expert help, closer to half felt worried.

Royal London’s research also highlighted some of the other benefits of professional financial advice. Those who had worked with an adviser said that having access to this expertise provided valuable piece of mind. Most felt hugely positive about the service they had received, with more than 80% praising the quality of the advice received, how this help had been communicated, and the trustworthiness of the adviser with whom they worked.

Time to take control

Another important benefit of professional advice is that people tend to feel better informed and more confident that they understand their finances – boosting the extent to which they feel in control. In Royal London’s research, those who had received financial advice were up to three times’ more confident they understood financial issues than those who not received advice.

The bottom line is that the best financial advisers can help their clients confront specific challenges and build a plan for tackling longer term objectives. They can certainly help people get the best from their existing financial products – including making sure that insurance policies pay out in the right way – but their broader role is to ensure clients feel in control of their finances.

Being confident that you understand your finances – and how you are planning for the future – is crucial in overcoming the stresses and strains that money issues can cause. And in the current environment, that is almost priceless.

Content correct at the time of writing and is intended for general information only and should not be construed as advice.

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