Money coaching sessions for £150 an hour launched by Charles Stanley

A new one-hour money coaching service costing £150 including VAT is being launched by wealth manager Charles Stanley, This is Money can reveal.

You can start with a free 15-minute call to discuss your needs with a qualified financial planner, then opt for a more in-depth video call at the flat hourly rate.

The company says its experts will answer questions to help people save and invest with more confidence and avoid making common mistakes.

Money Help: A wide range of services are available from coaching to model portfolios to full financial advice – read more below

Discussion topics may include good financial habits such as budgeting, understanding financial products such as Isas and Sipps (Self-Invested Personal Pensions), how to start investing, and preparing for retirement.

The OneStep Financial Coaching service runs alongside the company’s OneStep Financial Planning ‘hybrid advice’ service for £750 plus VAT.

> What you should pay attention to before paying for money advice: Read our tips below

The more expensive service includes multiple online sessions with a qualified financial advisor to discuss individual circumstances, a personalized action plan, and follow-up support.

Clients can choose to invest via the do-it-yourself platform Charles Stanley Direct, or if they prefer more intensive help from a financial planner or asset manager.

The OneStep Services do not make product recommendations. The wider Charles Stanley business offers a ‘limited’ advisory service, focusing on a limited selection of products and providers, rather than a full range like an independent financial advisor.

The company says a OneStep coach will be offered to all new clients who sign up with Charles Stanley Direct, and those with complex financial needs, such as estate taxes, will be referred to other appropriate services.

It adds that it is trying to tackle the UK’s consultancy gap with cost-effective technical solutions, but ‘without losing the human touch’.

What is the ‘advice gap’ and how to find money aid

The “advice gap” is a financial industry abbreviation for how getting cash aid has become a lot harder, unless you get it right, after the major financial services overhaul that banned cozy backdoor commission deals in 2013.

If you can’t or don’t want to afford full personal financial advice, many companies offer to bridge this in a variety of ways, including through robo or automated advice, and model portfolios based on your needs and risk appetite.

Do-It-Yourself investment platform Bestinvest offers free investment coaching from the platform’s in-house advisors, in addition to two on-demand one-time-fee advisory services.

The Investing for your Goals deal costs £295 and recommends a suitable ready-made portfolio or an asset spread.

The Portfolio Health Check helps clients who have already invested with what they can sell, hold and buy for £495. When you transfer £50,000 or more to Bestinvest, you get one of the above deals for free.

M&G’s investment platform, called &me, provides clients with access to consultants who can answer questions or create a plan to help.

Meanwhile, there is a huge amount of free financial information available from reputable sources online if you are willing to do the research.

If you’re inclined to take a money course, some of the UK’s largest finance firms offer free ‘midlife MOTs’, aimed at people who want to take stock of their current finances and plan for the future.

We tested an online course from Legal & General and the Open University here, and here an Aviva APK.

The government has a free general service called MoneyHelper and one called to help people prepare for retirement Retirement wise.

Lisa Caplan: 'Bots' like ChatGPT, finfluencers and Google can take you this far, but it's not personal

Lisa Caplan: ‘Bots’ like ChatGPT, finfluencers and Google can take you this far, but it’s not personal

Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy – right now there will be a lack of trust in AI chatbots to help make important money decisions, and concerns about privacy when handing over private financial information to their owners – although this option will most likely develop and improve over time.

Lisa Caplan, director of OneStep Financial Planning at Charles Stanley, says of their new hour-long money coaching service, “Sometimes you just want to talk to someone, but people don’t know where to start or who to turn to.

‘Bots’ like ChatGPT, finfluencers and Google can get you this far, but it’s not personal, you’re not sure who to trust and you don’t always get all the options.

“At Charles Stanley, you can always get someone on the phone and be confident you’re speaking to a recognized expert.”

What to look out for before paying for money advice

Paying a flat fee for one-time financial aid rather than an annual percentage of your investments can add up to huge savings if you have a large portfolio, though the benefits diminish for those with smaller amounts.

For example, you can save thousands of pounds a year if you want to invest £100,000 over five years, rather than using an advisor who charges a fairly typical start-up fee of 3 per cent and 0.75 per cent per annum.

Financial advisors routinely charge a percentage of fees plus ongoing charges on savings for their services upfront — not including platform and investment fund fees that add up — and some no longer do business with except the wealthiest clients.

Some consultancies have also launched their own in-house or “white-label” platforms and investment funds to rake in higher ongoing fees by getting a discount from them and for advice.

To avoid signing up with a financial advisor’s linked funds and platforms, you can get one-off or ongoing advice from a company willing to use an investment platform that’s widely available on the market, directly to consumers and to other advisors .

That way, if you decide you don’t like your advisor, or just want to take care of your investments yourself, you’re not bound by your original company and their platform or limiting your future choices.

Due to high costs, many people choose to research and buy their own investments through a DIY online broker, which is cheaper, but you have to go it alone.

A halfway house option might be to pay an advisor to set up a portfolio that you can comfortably monitor and manage yourself, then have your investments and financial conditions reviewed at intervals.

You could aim to do this every five years, or whenever there is a significant development such as receiving an inheritance – and perhaps bring in a new advisor each time, which would have the benefit of giving you a fresh look at your get finances.

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