New Emergency Financial Advice Website

12 May 2020

The idea was the brainchild of Better Retirement’s Billy Burrows who has set up a new website called www.emergencyfinancialadvice.org where people can ask a question or book a free call with a financial adviser. Better Retirement and The National Careline are one of over 50 financial advisers who are supporting the Emergency Financial Advice project by giving their time free of charge to help anybody who needs financial advice during the current crisis.

The project offers help and advice to anybody over the age of 50 who is anxious or concerned about their pension or other personal finances, e.g. Investments, Wills, and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

As Billy says “We wanted to find a way to reach out and help everybody who has questions or concerns about their pension or their financial well-being at a time of national emergency and I have been taken back by the support from the adviser community”.

Since the beginning of the year the stock market has fallen by about 25% which means that the value of many pension pots will have fallen by the same amount. Although there have been some improvements, these could be short term and the risk of share prices moving up and down in the near future remains high. People who have a good adviser shouldn’t need to worry unduly if they have well diversified investment portfolios which are in line with their risk profile and retirement objectives. However, many people may be anxious and don’t know what to do next. It is these people who the Emergency Financial Advice website is reaching out to.

There are many questions these people may want to ask including:

  • Should my retirement plans be put on hold?
  • Should I change the level of drawdown income I take from my pension?
  • Should I be using up my savings instead of my pension?
  • Should I change my investment strategy?
  • Should I consider equity release instead of using my pension?
  • Should I pay my care fees from a different source to protect my capital?
  • My capital is running down, when will the state pay for my care?

It is important that you do not continue to take high levels of income from your investments and damage the remaining capital. If you take too much, what is left may never recover in value. You should consider reducing your income temporarily and using your rainy day cash fund. A good adviser can really help with this process, will know all the rules and regulations about your pension, and can recommend a course of action based on your own financial position.

One option for some people may be to take some of the equity in their home out, using an equity release mortgage, enabling them to protect the equity in the pension fund. You do not have to make interest payments but can do so if you wish. Typical interest rates start at around 3%, rising to 6% if you need to take a bigger amount as a share of your property value. An adviser can arrange these products for you, but more importantly will ensure that you understand all the risks before proceeding.

The fifty financial advisers who are supporting Emergency Financial Advice project have all agreed to offer anybody who makes contact with them, a free and with no strings attached discussion. After this free discussion advisers will use their discretion whether to offer ‘pro bono’ advice for vulnerable and low-income clients or regulated financial advice for a modest fee if needed.

It is expected and hoped that many callers will get what they need from the free initial discussion and will not necessarily need to move to regulated advice. If people go on to take advice the normal regulatory rules will apply. If the adviser cannot help, callers will be signposted to the appropriate organisation / agency.

If you know anybody who may need Emergency Financial Advice during the current crisis, be sure to one of the following:-

Direct them to www.emergencyfinancialadvice.org.

Or make an appointment to talk with Billy Burrows at www.brgl.co.uk

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