I've had a bad experience with advice in the past - should I try again or DIY it?
08 July 2021
Question by Natalie
I have started a new job and now have three workplace pensions from this and previous roles.
I am really unsure about my investment choices. My new workplace pension has 48 options of investments I can choose from! I am aware that it is a good idea to move out of the default fund but am unsure about what option to choose.
My past pensions are in lifestyle funds and again I would like to review these and/or consider consolidating. I did attempt to see a financial adviser a few years ago and found someone via Unbiased.co.uk but I felt he was pressuring me into choosing the fund he suggested and didn't seem to take me seriously.
I did not take it further, it was a bad experience so I'm nervous now about getting financial advice. I have approx 60K across my pots and I have just turned 40.
Any thoughts on whether I should try again with getting financial advice or if there are any other options for getting some help rather than trying to work this out on my own?
Answered by Josh Butten
Hey Natalie - congrats on your new job!
Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with an adviser. When you fish for an adviser on a website like Unbiased, you are only fishing in the pond of advisers who wish to pay a website like Unbiased for enquiries. In my experience the more established advice businesses do not use websites like Unbiased, so I would encourage you to cast your net wider and use a tool provided by one of the professional bodies, such as the CISI’s ‘Wayfinder’ or the PFS has a tool call ‘FindAnAdviser’. Or even Boring Money's adviser table on this site!
£60,000 is certainly a meaningful sum - and I applaud you for not giving up after a bad experience! To keep your financial life simple, it would be worth investigating if your pensions can be consolidated into your current workplace pension - giving you just one pension pot to oversee. Before transferring you will want to check that your existing pensions don’t have any valuable benefits that could be lost on transfer (enhanced tax free cash, guaranteed annuity rate etc).
You should also check the charges on your three pension products and the available fund ranges. If your current workplace pension has higher charges or limited investment options, you could consolidate your two other pensions into the ‘better’ one of the two, and keep your main retirement savings separate from your new workplace pension.
If you feel comfortable doing this exercise yourself, I would encourage you to see how far you can get. Pension providers are now better equipped to deal directly with consumers so you might just surprise yourself! If not, I would encourage you to seek advice - but use either the ‘Wayfinder' or ‘FindAnAdviser’ tool. If you are looking for holistic financial planning which considers all aspects of your personal finances, you may wish to specifically look for a Certified Financial Planner via the CISI's Wayfinder tool.
It’s also not uncommon for women to feel more comfortable speaking to female advisers - and the good news is that the historic gender imbalance in the financial planning sector is slowly changing. If you’re seeking a comfortable environment after your previous pressured experience, you may want to explore this option.
Josh is a co-founder at boosst, an independent financial planning firm that works with families across the UK - and currently the CISIs Financial Planning Firm of the Year. Josh specialises in helping families to answer their ‘big questions’; which is achieved by bringing together personal finance expertise with cashflow planning software.