The Fixer: do I need financial advice?

We investigate whether an adviser can help you

Updated: 


Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.

I recently inherited about £50,000 that I want to make sure I invest well to provide for me and my family in the future.

I am thinking about taking on a financial adviser to help me with this. However, I don't want to choose the wrong one.

How can I find a good financial adviser? And do I really need one to help me make my investment decisions?

T Cook, Hereford

Dear Mr Cook,

Whether or not you need to pay for financial advice really depends on how confident you are about making investment decisions.

There are a number of DIY investment platforms available, through which you can both buy and sell assets and access a wealth of research and information to help you make your choices.

And the big advantage of using these platforms rather than going through a financial adviser is that they offer a much cheaper way of essentially doing the same thing.

Any investment decisions you make on a platform are solely your responsibility, however. So if an investment turns out to be unsuitable for your needs, you cannot apply for compensation as you could had that investment been taken out via a registered adviser.

The research you need to do to make the right choices also requires time and patience, which is why many investors still prefer to pay an adviser to help them.

If you decide you do want a financial adviser, it is best to opt for an independent financial adviser (IFA) who can compare the whole market before offering you a choice of products, rather than a "restricted" adviser.

Other things to check include how much they will charge you (generally either as a percentage of the amount being invested or at an hourly rate) and whether the firm is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Friends and family are often a good source of local adviser recommendations. Alternatively, however, you can also search for an adviser in your area using the Unbiased website, which lists 15,000 firms.

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.

Ask Dr. Shefali: How Do I Protect My Kids During My Separation?

Dear Fixer,

More from The Fixer...
The Fixer: energy exit fees
The Fixer: hire car insurance
The Fixer: expat card confusion