Whether you are struggling with debts, or just looking for ways to better manage your money, financial advice is always useful. There are lots of options if you need free financial advice in the UK, as well as a range of help and support resources available to guide you to the right decision.
What financial issues can you get help with?
No matter what the problem, there is usually an organisation able to provide some free financial advice to help you solve it. That could be:
Tax issues, including filling out tax returns, dealing with tax codes and handling tax investigations or being unable to make payments.
Housing topics, such as how to get on the housing ladder, the typical costs involved in renting and how to deal with bad landlords or developers.
Problems with debt, which could include being unable to make payments on a mortgage or having credit card debt that is out of control. If you’re looking for guidance on the best type of debt for you, as well as how different credit options work then there is also plenty of advice available.
Dealing with benefits, including handling claims, identifying the benefits you might be entitled to and understanding government reform that changes your entitlement.
Appeals, for example if you’re appealing against charges that have been applied to your bank account that you feel are not fair.
Buying financial products – from mortgages through to ISAs and stocks and shares, free financial advice is essential if you want to ensure you make the right decisions.
Pensions and retirement saving, including working out how much you’ll need in your pension pot for a comfortable retirement and what your savings options are.
Is “free” advice really free?
Some organisations do genuinely provide free advice where there is no charge for the services. There are also other ways that financial advice may be offered, including:
Subscription fees. Some organisations provide a range of free financial advice for a small regular subscription fee.
A commission basis. It used to be the case that an Independent Financial Advisor could charge a commission on financial products sold and use this as a way to cover the cost of advice provided. However, changes to regulation mean that this arrangement is no longer acceptable and shouldn’t be offered. Instead, if you’re going to use a financial advisor then the initial meeting is all you get for free and after that charges for services will need to be explicitly stated.
Organisations that offer free financial advice
The Money Advice Service. Completely free advice, including online guides to help improve finances and useful tools and calculators. You can also get free support online or over the phone.
Which? This consumer rights organisation has a range of resources, including the website and a magazine. Some information is available for free but Which? is a largely subscription based service so there is a fee involved if you want to access features such as the legal service.
The Pensions Advisory Service. There is plenty of useful information available on the website, whether you have a workplace pension or a personal pension. Plus, the PAS has a telephone advice service, as well as web chat, and you can send an email enquiry too.
Citizens Advice. This network of independent charities is made up of 316 branches across the UK and also has a website. Citizens Advice is a popular option for support on financial issues – 4 in 10 people have used it at some point in their lives. You can get advice from your local Citizens Advice by searching for it via the website or using the phone or online interactive services. Topics covered include legal matters, benefits and renting and housing issues.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA is the regulator for the finance industry in the UK. Although there is no interactive advice option, the website contains information about consumer rights relating to financial topics such as mortgages, insurance and banking. This is also the place to come if you want to make a complaint about an individual or organisation in the finance industry.
Age UK. If you’re over 50 you can get free advice on financial matters, from benefits through to pensions.
Tax Help for Older People. You need to be 60+ to be eligible for free advice from this service and with an annual income of less than £20,000. Advice covers every aspect of tax for older people, including pensions and dealing with HMRC.
Step Change. If your financial issues concern debt, Step Change offers free online advice on every aspect of owing money.
The National Debtline. For those who need advice on how to handle debts and debt problems, including bankruptcy and bailiffs, the National Debtline provides free, impartial advice.
Shelter. If your issues relate to housing, debt, health issues or benefits, Shelter can provide support.
Our website also contains a massive amount of information and guidance that may help you. We can’t give you advice as we’re not regulated to do so but you can use the tools and guides on our website to let you decide what is right for you. So what can you find on our website?
Read our guides that cover numerous forms of credit and how to handle debt issues
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley