When should you pay for advice? - investing

Published by Harriet Meyer on 20 November 2012.
Last updated on 20 November 2012

Invest yes or no

So you've got a financial decision to make, but should you pay for advice or go solo?

Which route you take will depend on your confidence with money matters as well as your specific needs - for example, whether you need to sort out a tax problem or just want to set up a regular savings account.

Charges for financial advice should become clearer from January next year, following changes known as the 'retail distribution review' or the RDR. From then, you'll face an upfront fee from independent financial advisers if you do decide to seek their help.

But how do you know when it's wise to pay for help? Here are some key financial milestones and guidance on whether you can do it yourself or need to call in the experts.



With a little research this should be easy to do without advice. Both cash and equity-based ISA providers offer regular savings options as an alternative to one-off payments into a plan.

It's straightforward and painless to set up a regular direct debit, with providers such as Fidelity FundsNetwork, for example, requiring a minimum investment of £50 a month, and plenty of others willing to accept less.

You can even opt for ready-made portfolios if you're unsure which funds to pick.


If your investments are spread across a number of providers and brokers, it can be hard to keep track of their performance and costs.

By transferring your portfolio to one place, you may benefit from more transparent charges, lower fees and better access to your investments. It may be wise to seek advice to check whether this route is right for you.

However, sophisticated investors should be able to consolidate their portfolios themselves. Brokers such as Killik & Co, as well as online platforms such as Interactive Investor, have offers for customers looking to consolidate their portfolios.


If you have a pot of cash to slot away from a bonus, say, or an inheritance or even a divorce settlement, this'll prove a welcome boost to your finances.

But depending on the size of the sum and your objectives, it also demands some tricky decisions, and advice is likely to help make sure you get them right.

"It's often essential to get the right mix of investments, depending on the client's situation," says Adrian Lowcock, senior investment adviser at IFA firm Bestinvest. "An adviser will have the skill in being able to assess this properly."

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