Is free or automated financial advice enough?

Should you hire a professional or go the DIY route? It’s a decision we can apply to numerous situations. Changing a light bulb doesn’t need a qualified electrician, but an electrical rewire most definitely would. Likewise, choosing between an instant-access savings account and a two-year fixed-rate saver is a decision many take without batting an eyelid, but knowing how to get the best from your pension requires some expert advice.

financial advice

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A 2018 FCA review of retirement outcomes showed that consumers struggle with pension decisions. More than 60% of investors not taking advice were not sure where their money was invested.

Fortunately, there are various levels of advice available, ranging from free guidance to hiring a professional financial advisor.

Free guidance

Investment guidance is available for free from websites like and Citizens Advice. The Government’s Pension Wise service offers a free phone or face-to-face appointment. Free guidance is ideal if you simply need a better understanding of your options. You are still ultimately responsible for making sure your decision is right and appropriate for your financial situation.

Professional financial advice

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Robo advice

Seen as a low-cost alternative to professional investment advice, robo advice typically charges less than 1% of the value of the investor’s account in advisory fees. Popular for straightforward investment products, it provides calculated advice on investments based on information the customer has provided. Robo advice varies in its scope, and it’s important to establish whether you’re being provided with guidance or fully regulated advice. Only regulated advice entitles you to protections should the investment not be suitable for you.

Professional financial advice

The more traditional investment advisor may charge more than robo advice, but you will receive a service tailored to your individual needs, with advice on more complex issues such as pensions, larger investments and mortgages. They can help you formulate a financial plan based on your lifetime goals, which will be executed over the long term. Supported with dedicated software for financial advisors from providers such as and others, they can analyse which investments are suitable for you.

It may be that free guidance is all you need for your current financial situation, but it might also help you decide to opt for fully regulated professional advice. Whatever your needs, there is help available, and it should be sought out to protect your future.