Recent research conducted at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York has found that regulated independent financial advice can ease the process of funding later life care.
Since social care is means-tested, many people end up paying for support when they reach old age. The problem is, finding a way to finance care can be confusing and complicated.
Seeking independent financial advice is one way by which individuals might be able to prepare for the future in a way that is clearer and less stressful.
Meeting with a professional who can explain the process of self-funding care and advise on the best ways to save up and invest before the time comes could provide peace of mind.
Kate Baxter and her team in the Social Policy Research Unit aimed to investigate current views on financial advice when self-funding care. They conducted a series of interviews with members of the public, professionals and representatives from the social care and financial industries.
Ardent were pleased to take part in these discussions in December 2017 and share our experiences, as well as hear others’.
The study found that some people were discouraged from seeking financial advice by being reluctant to plan to pay for their care in the first place. Many think they won’t need care and so don’t consider future financial costs.
Other people were sceptical about financial advisors and didn’t trust them to give sincere recommendations. There were also hesitant to pay advisors for their service.
By contrast, people who knew something about the financial sector were already more likely to ask a financial advisor for help.
The benefits of financial advice
Having a professionally designed plan in place was found to maximise their assets or open up ways of self-funding that they had not previously considered such as a care fees annuity.
While unregulated financial advice was often said to be pushy or insincere, regulated recommendations were suggested to be supportive and trustworthy.
Aside from independent financial advisors, voluntary organisations, care providers and local authorities were said to be helpful in providing information about the care system itself.
Working together across sectors
One of the most important findings from the study was that regulated financial advisors and local authorities were often suspicious of one another. This lack of connection sometimes made it difficult for people who are self-funding care to get the information they need.
It is vital that we as financial advisors are willing to collaborate with local authorities to make the process as simple as possible for our clients.
Keeping self-funders self-funding
The people interviewed in the study suggested that it was important for those who would be paying for their own care to maintain this so that they have more choice and agency.
We’ll be bearing this in mind as we work with our clients and design financial plans that give them a number of options to choose from when it comes to self-funding their later life care.
It’s important that we factor in all aspects of our clients’ physical and financial health in order to reliably recommend what will work best for them.
What can you do to prepare for self-funding care?
You might be concerned about how you’re going to afford care, how much it will cost and what you’ll do if your money runs out.
Consulting a regulated independent financial planner can help ease these concerns and make decisions that will prospectively leave you financially secure.
Our specialist Later Life financial planners are here to help you. They work with older clients and their families to work out the most efficient way of self-funding care. Please see more here.
You can also read about our Later Life Care services here.
Looking for help elsewhere?
If consulting an independent financial advisor is not right for you, you can contact your local authority or a voluntary organisation such as Age UK. Find out more here: https://gettinginformed.net/meeting-the-costs/
Full details of the University of York study are available here: https://www.york.ac.uk/spru/projects/independent-financial-advice/