The financial world has been rocked in recent years leaving many people uncertain about the safety of their investments and their prospects for the future. There’s no doubt that finance is a very complex field which makes it important to get professional advice for all aspects of your financial life. A qualified financial advisor can offer vital financial planning strategies in the form of investment advice, retirement, tax, personal insurance and inheritance tax advice. Let’s look at each of these in turn.

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is regarding investments. Investment advice covers putting your funds into secure funds and instruments that offer solid returns in the form of income and capital gains.

You have many options when it comes to investment. You can leave your money safely in the bank at the mercy of inflation or you can invest in the stock market. How do you decide? The fact is finance and investment is such a complex field where trained and experienced expert financial advisors can provide invaluable advice.

Retirement Planning is another area where expert financial planning is essential. It’s a complex field with so many variables to consider that it’s generally best left in the hand of the experts. This allows you to focus on your core activities secure in the knowledge that your retirement is being planned for by those who really understand the subject.

Other than making sure you have enough income to maintain your standard of living during your senior years, retirement advisors can also help you with related matters such as funding the cost of a nursing home or other long term care, and making charitable legacies.

Tax Planning is another specialised area that experts can provide extremely useful advice. Legislation is constantly changing or being amended and unless you have a tax advisor who’s on top of things, you may be donating more of your hard-earned money to the exchequer than you really need to.

Another financial factor that makes for a secure life is that of insurance. Obtaining good quality personal insurance advice will make sure you, your family and your assets are adequately insured against all eventualities.

Finally, you need to consider what happens to your estate after your demise. By ensuring you have expert inheritance tax advice, you’ll be able to maximise the assets you leave to your children or to any organisations to which you may wish to make a bequest.

There’s no shortage of people giving out investment advice but how do you decide which one’s right for you? There are plenty of amateurs out there. But when it comes to getting inheritance tax advice or investment advice, would you listen to someone you just met at the pub?

Amateurs are dangerous but worse still are the predators. The sad fact is that unscrupulous advisors abound, eager to take advantage of your ignorance. So how do you find the real deal – a Financial Advisor with both integrity, knowledge and your best interests in mind?

You need to perform due diligence and, by using the internet, this can be relatively straightforward. You can search online for financial advisors in London and the Home Counties and check out the firms at their web sites.

At very least, you must make sure the firm is FSA authorised. This guarantees a certain standard, and adherence to certain rules regarding the type of service they offer and how they charge for it. The FSA’s website contains a list of all authorised companies or you can call their consumer hotline to check out a particular firm or individual.

For greater confidence, you should also check that the company employs advisors with chartered financial planner status. This is a relatively new designation from the Chartered Insurance Institute that is only awarded after the advisor has completed a set of qualifications, has at least five years relevant experience, adheres to a code of ethics and conduct and can demonstrate continuing professional development.

Having your financial affairs in the hands of experts and acting on their investment advice and inheritance tax advice, not only helps protect your assets but can also give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your life to the full.