Britons confused about how to fund retirementMany not seeking independent financial advice

17 March 2010

A file showing a pensions document

Over 50% of Britons expect to have a comfortable standard of living in retirement, yet almost 73% intend to plan their retirement funding without seeking financial advice, a new report has claimed.

Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) questioned around 1,000 people to try and gain a greater understanding of how Britons expect to organise their finances in preparation for retirement. The firm found that while 32% of people have used the internet to research their retirement planning options, just 8% regularly consult an independent financial adviser (IFA).

SHIP also found that almost 35% of the participants in their survey had no regular pension plan, while 23% admitted that, although they had a pension, it would not provide a large enough income for them to retire on. 14% of respondents had never heard of equity release.

Andrea Rozario, director general of SHIP, commented: ‘The findings show that without consulting an IFA, consumers are likely to miss out on the full spectrum of retirement planning products.’

Financial advice in the UK

However, Which? research has found that consumers are confused by the different types of financial advice available to them.

In the 14 years to April 2009, we carried out 15 investigations into financial advice, visiting a total of 797 advisers – and found that, over time, fewer advisers were giving advice Which? deemed acceptable. We also found that the quality of advice given across different subject areas (such as mortgages, debt and equity release) was inconsistent.

In May 2009, we surveyed more than 2,000 adults to find out where they would go to obtain financial advice. Worryingly, just 30% of the people Which? questioned had ever sought financial advice from an individual not based at their bank.

This is a concern because independent financial advisers have typically performed better than those tied to specific companies in Which? investigations, giving more thorough advice and asking consumers more of the right questions.

Financial planning for retirement

The Which? Choosing a financial adviser guide is a great resource for anyone looking to plan their financial future. It offers detailed information on how to select a good IFA, and explains some of the key qualifications you should make sure your adviser has.

If you’re a Which? member, you can also get help with day-to-day financial questions by contacting the Which? Money helpline on 01992 822848. It is open every weekday from 9am to 5pm.

Meanwhile, those people after some top tips on retirement planning should also check out the Which? Planning your retirement advice guide and Self invested personal pensions review for information on a variety of funding options.

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