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Over a third could have benefited from financial advice in difficult circumstances

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16/10/2015
Millions of people could have benefited from financial advice in challenging periods - such having a baby, buying a house, getting divorced or changing jobs – and avoided future financial problems, a Citizens Advice report has found.

The charity has revealed that 48 per cent of the adult population, around 30 million people, would have taken money advice at key moments of their lives if they had been offered it.

In the Four Advice Gaps report, Citizens Advice highlights the number of people who would accept money advice available at the key life stages they had been through:

  •     35 per cent when they start working or change jobs
  •     28 per cent when buying a home
  •     37 per cent when going through a divorce or separation.
  •     44 per cent when seriously ill
  •     38 per cent after a bereavement

The Four Advice Gaps report finds financial advice, support and guidance need to respond to the realities of people’s lives, but currently there are multiple gaps.

One gap identified is the ‘preventative advice gap’, whereby people would appreciate advice and help with their financial circumstances during big changes in their life but it is not presented to them. For instance, while 39 per cent who have been in the situation said they would have taken money advice when they were having a baby, only 14 per cent were offered it.

The three other advice gaps identified in the report are:

Affordable advice

Consumers who are willing to pay for money advice but not at current prices. The new report suggests 5.4 million people would consider paying for advice if it cost less.

Awareness and referral

People who are unaware money advice exists, the different services available or how to access it. Over three million people said they needed free money advice in the last two years and failed to get it because they did not know it existed or where to find it.

Free advice

People who would benefit from money advice but are unable to pay for it.  Many households are not in the position to pay for advice with 49 per cent of households having a net financial wealth of less than £5,000.

“Big life changes can have big financial consequences. Having a baby, moving jobs or losing a partner can have a huge impact on people’s finances, they may have to cover more costs, face higher bills or have to cope with a reduced income,” said Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice chief executive.

“Too many people aren’t getting the money advice, support and guidance they need at key moments in their life such. Money advice can be vital to make sure people can make the right financial decisions now in order to avoid money problems in the future.

“The Financial Advice Market Review offers a real opportunity to ensure the money advice landscape is able to deliver this but to be successful the review needs to start and end with consumers’ needs. Price is part of the debate but so too is making sure consumers can easily move and be referred between different advice services, know the services available and can access them as and when they need them.”

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