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The value of an adviser – February 2023

We are one month into the new year of 2023, and I am already beginning to have existential angst about my value to the world, my fellow humans, my company… hell even the dust mites that feast on my flaky skin! Even they are looking for something different.

Why the angst? Well, I have forsaken, for the 40th year running, my weight loss / fitness goals on the altar of beige comfort food on the cold dark nights.

It’s all so flipping hard isn’t it? And yet, it is incredibly easy to know exactly what I need to do. Eat the right food, exercise. It’s a total doddle, and yet most of us cannot actually do it.

In questioning myself about… well, everything… I thought, let’s take some solace in my profession. What do people think of financial planners and their usefulness? Well, no such solace there. Most people do not have a financial planner and to be fair, most do not need one. But what about the ones that do? Why don’t all those people have one?

The answer for many is, “I can do it myself”. Which of course you can. Anyone can do anything themselves. But the whole global economy, nay the advancement of humankind, is also based on specialisation of roles and the efficiencies of produce these bring.

This piqued my interest, and I thought I would look at the abilities of investors to do it themselves.

Firstly, and most importantly, in the argument for not having a financial adviser is the cost of paying for one. Of course, if you are saving money on an adviser, there is less expense, but is that lost elsewhere? There is bound to be some friction and cost to you in doing it

yourself, even if in just the time cost. The time you spend doing it, you could either be:

Working – and earning extra money. That is a cost to you. It might be you earn more than the financial adviser would charge in that time. The financial adviser is likely to do it more quickly, but it all depends on how much you earn and the time it takes you. Either way, it’s a cost.

Missing out – If you make a mistake, you may never know it! Rarely will Jim Bowen appear and say… here’s what you could have won! (anyone under 40, look at Bullseye on YouTube). Admittedly, there are some sharks masquerading as real financial planners. So you need to know how to choose one (I say go for a Chartered Financial Planner and an independent one).

Actual costs

Blah blah, you’re thinking. Ethereal justifications are not for me, Steve! We are looking for cold hard facts on cold hard cash.

Below is a table of our lowest costing investment of £250,000 compared to investing the same amount at one of the leading DIY investment platforms. Of course, I don’t know what you may choose to invest in, instead I have chosen the top 10 invested in funds on that platform and taken an average of the charges of those funds.


UK DIY Investment Platform

Lucent Costs

Average Fund Charge



Platform Charge



Advice charge



Total Charges



Look at that! It appears the DIY investor, despite having a head start of 0.85% due to our charges, on average selects investments that are higher costing than our investment recommendation.

There are lots of caveats in the above of course, it’s just the top ten most popular funds. But someone is choosing them, that’s why they get the most money invested in them.

Some will argue that the DIY portfolio might have higher returns by paying more for the funds, although there is ample evidence this is not consistently possible, but that argument is for another day (look up on web browser – Active v passive investing).

This is just a smidge of what an adviser does though. The main advantages of using a financial planner come in terms of:

Behavioural Management

I know that you are scared! Entrusting someone with your money is a frightening step to take. Just like, it’s frightening for me to employ that personal trainer. Do I know that it will help me achieve my goals? Absolutely! Does that make it any easier? Absolutely not!

Studies vary from year to year, but are all similar. Go to research from Dalbar for proof. However, investment returns in the S&P 500 from 1st Jan 2000 to 31/12 2019 were 6.06% a year compared to investor returns (e.g. the person investing in the same investment) coming out around 4.25%. That’s 1.81% a year! (Dalbar 2020 QAIB Report). Due to investor emotion, people will earn less money. We can help you with behavioural management to keep you on the straight path and get the investment returns the investment gets.

Tax Planning

We can help you save taxes! That might be tax savings through judicious investments or tax savings on withdrawals of money. Or inheritance tax savings.

Similarly, we will ensure some taxes you pay will go up. These are consumption taxes such as VAT. Why?

Every day, routinely, we enlighten people on the amount they could spend if they wanted to and never run out of money. This, generally, increases the amount people spend on holidays, going out for dinner and enjoying themselves. Yeah, your VAT bill goes up, but so does your enjoyment.

In the long run, we are all dead. For some of us, it will be in the short run. What are you doing today that you can’t stand? How would you feel if you found out in 5 years you didn’t need to have done those horrible things and could do wonderful life-enhancing things instead? Would you feel regret?

What if you have calculated your finances to the nth degree, but didn’t carry the one? Are you sure you’re right?

What if you found out you could have done more of the things you loved, but are now too knackered to do them, but have money coming out of your ears?

What if…

At Lucent Financial Planning, we help turn ‘What if’ into ‘When’.

We have helped thousands of people understand their money, and make better life choices because of it. Your life is too important to do this yourself, too important to make a mistake.

We will take care of you.

We’re still scary though, aren’t we? You’re worried about costs and being tied in. So, here’s our promise. We will see you twice. One meeting to find out about you. One meeting to show you our value. If you don’t like it after those meetings, walk away. No charge.

Make an appointment, with no obligation to us, only to yourself by:

Phone – 0121 705 1000; or

This article does not constitute financial advice – we recommend you to speak to a qualified financial adviser about your individual situation.

We hope you found this article interesting and useful. 

If there are any specific topics you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue, please let us know by emailing and we’ll see what we can do!


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