The person who claims to have a good grasp of the new complex world of pensions is a very rare beast indeed. Even if you speak to an Independent Financial Advisor about the recent changes they’re likely to deflect your questions, promising an answer once they’ve “spoken to compliance”.
It’s generally accepted that planning for retirement is difficult, for everyone. So imagine how daunting it is for the significant number of people who are unfamiliar with even basic concepts such as compound interest, inflation or risk. It’s no wonder that their typical response is a failure to save, a tendency to disregard financial planning in its entirety, or to invest without first comparing products and services.
A small group in Manchester are looking at a new way to ensure older people have a chance of a decent income in later life. The name of their proposed solution – a Community Finance Centre – may be cumbersome but the idea is simple.
It is to establish a centre where older people on low incomes and small pension pots can go for free independent financial planning and free financial advice, delivered by qualified, and salaried, Independent Financial Advisors.
The Community Finance Centre would operate on a not-for-profit basis. The advice would be free, independent and confidential. The Centre would not be involved in selling any financial products. The service would be paid for by grant aid, not by customers.
We’ll all know people who shy away from planning the financial aspects of their retirement. And it’s easy to see why they do. They might not be financially literate; they may be confused by jargon and sales talk. They may be suspicious of the finance industry, or vulnerable to scams. They may be overwhelmed by choice, or failed by a market that serves only the well off.
For any number of reasons many people need more than guidance and more than signposting. If would you like to know more about the Community Finance Centre concept or to join us in taking the next steps why not get in touch? John Cotcher would be delighted to hear from you.