Most British adults are falling through an “advice gap” by not making use of financial advisers, according to new research.
A survey of 2,002 people by life insurers MetLife and unbiased.co.uk, which helps people to find independent professional advisers, found that 58 per cent had never taken professional advice and even when people did use advisers, they often failed to seek advice on the most important issues.
However, the 2015 Value of Advice research, published on 24 March, found there was growing financial awareness among younger people, with those in their 30s (52 per cent) the most likely to have sought advice. In contrast, over-60s were the least likely age group to have taken financial advice, with only 36 per cent having done so.
MetLife and unbiased.co.uk asked professional financial advisers to rank the most important areas on which consumers should be seeking advice. Retirement decisions (93 per cent) was rated the top priority, followed by other later life issues such as long-term care and critical illness cover.
But the survey found that the issues on which advice was most frequently sought were mortgages (14 per cent of respondents) and life insurance (13 per cent), with just 12 per cent seeking advice on retirement planning.
Only one in 20 Brits (five per cent) had sought advice on inheritance tax but advisers said it was second only to retirement as the most crucial area on which to seek professional advice.
Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk, said: “Most who seek advice do so when buying a property, because they recognise that it’s a massive undertaking that affects them today, as well as for a long time to come.
“What consumers aren’t seeing so clearly are the even longer term issues, most notably retirement and inheritance, which could have an even greater impact. It’s great to see younger people becoming more engaged with their finances, but many could still benefit from seeking help with their finances. A fuller understanding of the value of advice could make a huge difference both in the future and right now.”
Simon Massey, wealth management director at MetLife, added: “The advice gap remains a concern for people of all ages, and I’d encourage everyone to review their financial goals and think seriously about how to achieve them.”