Participants in a year-long Axa experiment testing the virtues of using professional advisers, are collectively £50,000 better off, according to the firm.
The research also found they have also jointly increased their savings by 40% and reduced debts by 22% since the experiment began in November 2005.
The firm revisited some participants of its ‘Axa Avenue’ financial experiment, where 10 households in Brighton were given access to an IFA for a year and another 10 were left to their own devices.
Research found households demonstrated immediate benefits of having access to an IFA, while some 18 months on, Axa says there is further evidence those advised have adopted long-term financial planning habits, with some considering using an IFA regularly.
Steve Folkard, head of pensions and savings policy at Axa, says: “One of the conclusions of the Axa Avenue experiment was that if you are committed to reviewing your finances you will benefit – and of course that routine and framework is often best provided by using an IFA.
“Financial advice can be a catalyst for moulding some very important long term behavioural changes,” he adds.
Sarah Allott-Davey, financial planner at Heron House Financial Management, gave one-to-one sessions with six of the participants this month. While most participants would not consider regularly paying for professional advice, they would call on an IFA when making major life decisions and would be happy to pay for the time, she says.
In the midst of the credit crunch, Axa is set to launch its second annual ‘My Budget Day’ on November 20, designed to encourage the nation to spend one hour a month planning their finances.
Folkard believes many people feel trapped and helpless in the current economic climate.
“We know that seeking advice is a major step towards successfully resolving your financial problems and whether you turn to an IFA or take steps yourself through My Budget Day, the critical message is not to let apathy overtake anxiety – action is the only way to better financial management,” he says.
For more information, advisers and savers can visit: www.axa.co.uk/mybudgetday.IFAonline
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