Getting your ducks in a row

Paul Shearman Proposition Director, at The Openwork Partnership knows making the decision to speak to a professional financial adviser or mortgage broker is a no brainer for some people. For others, getting in touch may be the result of weeks spent plucking up the courage to do so. Paul explains how preparing ahead of a conversation with a professional about finance can alleviate feelings of anxiety.

When feeling unsure about purchasing a service or product, only 15% of respondents in a recent YouGov survey said they would seek the help of a financial adviser or broker, while almost a quarter said they didn’t think they needed advice. Despite this, less than half feel confident that they understand the jargon used to explain financial products and services.

If you’re going to see an adviser about a mortgage, it’s likely that they’ll ask you about insurance – life, home, income protection and critical illness – so it’s worth knowing what policies, you have in place already so that your adviser can determine if your current policies are still appropriate for your needs. So, how can you prepare for an appointment?


Get your documents ready

If it’s your first meeting, you’ll need to prove your identity – be prepared with a passport or driving licence and proof of address such as a recent utility bill. If you’re meeting a mortgage broker, the lender will need proof of your income. You’ll need some payslips, your P60 and bank statements from the past three months If you’re self-employed, you may need recent signed accounts or tax returns, as well as your Self-Assessment tax returns. Having these prepared in advance will save time all round. If you already have insurances dig out a copy of your existing policies and make sure you are clued up on any benefits you have through employment, such death in service.


Get clued up on your spending habits

Before approving a mortgage or loan, lenders need to make sure you can afford repayments. So be ready for your adviser to ask you about your income and expenditure, as well as outstanding and ongoing payments, including:

  • credit card and loans
  • essential costs, such as groceries
  • utilities
  • travel and car loans
  • insurance policy payments
  • pension contributions
  • personal wellbeing costs, such as gym memberships
  • costs for leisure activities

While you may think you know what’s going in and out of your bank account, things fluctuate so take some time before your appointment to familiarise yourself with the average month. There are apps that can help break down your spending into categories, too. 

Do some crystal ball gazing

None of us know what’s around the corner. However, it can be useful to consider where you might be in the next few years to ensure whatever product you’re sourcing is fit for your future. For a mortgage, think about how long you’re likely to live in the property or if you’ll be likely to remortgage in a few years’ time. Think also about how you’d like to budget for your mortgage – a fixed amount each month or one that offers variable amounts. Also, ask yourself whether you’re likely to be in a position to pay off a chunk of your mortgage in the coming years. All of these factors will help determine the right solution for you.

Finally, the best thing you can do before your appointment is relax. Advisers are there to help – take the opportunity to ask any questions you need no matter how silly you think they maybe.

Article last updated: 17/04/2023

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