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When Will I Need A Financial Planner?

In this blog, Dennis Hall discusses what life events may trigger you to seek the professional advice of a financial planner, how to choose one and what sort of questions to ask them.


In life, there comes a time when financial decisions become increasingly complex, necessitating the guidance of an experienced professional. This article aims to demystify the role of a financial planner and shed light on the moments that may signal the need for their expertise. Whether you’re navigating a significant life event or simply seeking to optimise your financial strategy, understanding the nuances of financial planning can empower you to make informed decisions for a secure future.

Understanding the role of a Financial Planner

A financial planner serves as a trusted adviser, offering comprehensive guidance tailored to your unique financial circumstances and goals. They analyse your current financial situation, identify areas for improvement, and formulate a strategic plan to achieve your objectives. Their expertise spans retirement planning, tax optimisation, estate planning, and investment management, ensuring a holistic approach to wealth management.

Recognising the need for Financial Planning

Life is unpredictable, and major milestones such as marriage, parenthood, career transitions, or inheritances can significantly impact your financial landscape. Recognising the need for financial planning involves acknowledging these pivotal moments and understanding the importance of proactive financial management to safeguard your financial well-being and achieve long-term stability and prosperity.

Engaging a skilled financial planner is like having a GPS for your financial journey; they provide direction, guidance, and help navigate the twists and turns along the way, ensuring you stay on track towards your goals.
Dennis Hall - Founder & Chartered Financial Planner, Yellowtail

Exploring Different Scenarios That Signal the Need for a Financial Planner

Whether you’re facing a sudden windfall, contemplating retirement, or navigating a complex tax situation, various scenarios may necessitate the expertise of a financial planner. Here are some common situations where a skilled financial planner can help you with a tailored approach to mitigate risks and capitalise on opportunities:

  • Inheritance or Windfall: Suddenly receiving a substantial sum of money, whether through inheritance, lottery winnings, or a large bonus, can be overwhelming. A financial planner can help you navigate this windfall wisely, advising on tax implications, investment strategies, and wealth preservation to ensure long-term financial security.
  • Marriage or Divorce: Major life changes such as marriage or divorce can have significant financial ramifications. A financial planner can assist in merging finances, creating joint financial goals, and navigating complex financial settlements, ensuring a smooth transition and protecting your financial interests.
  • Starting a Family: Welcoming a new addition to the family brings joy and new responsibilities. A financial planner can help you plan for childcare costs and education expenses, ensuring your family’s financial future is secure and well-prepared for life’s uncertainties.
  • Career Transition: Whether starting a new job, launching a business, or transitioning to retirement, career changes often entail financial adjustments. A financial planner can provide guidance on managing income fluctuations, optimising retirement savings, and navigating employee benefits, helping you achieve financial stability throughout your career journey.
  • Home Purchase or Sale: Buying or selling a home is a significant financial decision that requires careful planning. A financial planner can help you evaluate mortgage options, assess affordability, and strategise on maximising returns or minimising losses, ensuring your property transactions align with your overall financial goals.
  • Retirement Planning: As retirement approaches, strategic financial planning becomes paramount. A financial planner can help you assess retirement readiness, develop and optimise income strategies, and manage investment portfolios, ensuring a smooth transition into retirement and a financially secure future.

Clarifying the difference between a Financial Planner and a Financial Adviser

While the terms “financial planner” and “financial adviser” are often used interchangeably, they encompass distinct roles and responsibilities. A financial planner focuses on comprehensive financial planning, encompassing various aspects of wealth management, while a financial adviser typically offers investment advice and portfolio management. Understanding these distinctions can help you select the right professional to meet your specific needs.

Learn more in our article: What’s the difference between a Financial Planner and Financial Adviser.

Timing is key: When should I hire a Financial Planner?

The ideal time to hire a financial planner varies depending on your circumstances and objectives. Whether you’re starting a family, nearing retirement, or experiencing a significant life change, engaging a financial planner early allows for proactive planning and strategic decision-making to optimise your financial trajectory and achieve long-term success.

The value of Financial Planning: How a Financial Planner can help you

Beyond crunching numbers, a financial planner provides invaluable guidance and peace of mind, navigating complex financial decisions with expertise and objectivity. From retirement planning to estate management, their comprehensive approach ensures all aspects of your financial life are optimally structured, empowering you to pursue your goals with confidence.

Comparing the benefits of professional financial planning advice vs. DIY approaches

While DIY financial management may seem cost-effective initially, the expertise and tailored guidance offered by a professional financial planner can yield substantial long-term benefits. From risk mitigation to tax optimisation, their strategic insights and personalised advice can enhance returns, minimise liabilities, and ultimately, maximise the efficiency of your financial strategy.

Navigating the selection process: How to find a qualified Financial Planner

Selecting the right financial planner is crucial to the success of your financial plan. Conducting thorough research, verifying credentials, and seeking recommendations from trusted sources can help you identify qualified professionals with a track record of success and integrity, ensuring a collaborative partnership built on trust and mutual understanding.

Essential Questions to Ask a Prospective Financial Planner

When evaluating potential financial planners, asking the right questions is essential to assess their expertise, approach, and alignment with your goals. Inquiring about their experience, fee structure, investment philosophy, and client communication process can provide valuable insights into their suitability as your trusted financial adviser.

  1. What are your qualifications and credentials? Ensure the planner holds relevant certifications such as Chartered Financial Planner or Certified Financial Planner, demonstrating their expertise and commitment to ethical standards.
  2. How do you charge for your services? Understand the fee structure, whether it’s hourly rates, fixed fees, percentage-based, or a combination, to evaluate potential conflicts of interest and ensure transparency.
  3. What is your approach to financial planning? Assess the planner’s methodology and whether it aligns with your values, goals, and risk tolerance, ensuring a tailored approach to your financial needs.
  4. How do you stay informed about changes in the financial industry? Ensure the planner stays abreast of industry trends, regulations, and market developments to provide informed and up-to-date advice.
  5. Do you specialise in any particular areas of financial planning? Determine if the planner has expertise in areas relevant to your needs, such as retirement planning, estate planning, tax optimisation, or investment management.
  6. How often will we meet to review my financial plan? Clarify the frequency and format of client meetings to ensure ongoing communication and monitoring of your financial progress.
  7. How do you assess risk tolerance and investment preferences? Understand the process for determining your risk profile and how investments are selected and managed to align with your financial goals and comfort level.
  8. What is your investment philosophy? Evaluate the planner’s approach to investing, including diversification, asset allocation, and risk management strategies, to ensure compatibility with your investment objectives.
  9. How do you address conflicts of interest? Inquire about the planner’s policies and procedures for managing conflicts of interest to ensure impartial advice and client-focused decision-making.
  10. How do you communicate with clients? Discuss communication preferences and channels, including email, phone calls, or in-person meetings, to ensure accessibility and responsiveness to your needs.
  11. Can you provide a written financial plan or proposal? Request a detailed outline of the proposed financial plan, including goals, strategies, and recommendations, to assess the planner’s thoroughness and clarity of communication.
  12. What ongoing support or resources do you provide? Inquire about additional services, educational materials, or online tools offered by the planner to support your financial journey and enhance your financial literacy.
  13. How do you measure the success of a financial plan? Understand how the planner evaluates the effectiveness of your financial plan and adjusts strategies as needed to adapt to changing circumstances or goals.
In today's complex financial landscape, the value of professional advice cannot be overstated. A financial planner brings expertise, objectivity, and a disciplined approach to financial management, empowering individuals to make informed decisions and achieve their long-term aspirations.
Dennis Hall

Understanding the Information Required by Financial Planners

To provide tailored advice and formulate a comprehensive financial plan, financial planners require detailed information about your financial situation, goals, risk tolerance, and preferences. By being transparent and forthcoming with relevant data, you enable your financial planner to craft a bespoke strategy that aligns with your objectives and aspirations. When engaging with a financial planner, you can expect to provide the following information:

  • Financial Statements: Including bank statements, investment account statements, retirement account statements, and any other assets or liabilities you may have.
  • Income and Expenses: Details of your current income sources, such as salary, bonuses, rental income, or business profits, as well as an overview of your monthly expenses, including housing costs, utilities, groceries, and discretionary spending.
  • Tax Returns: Previous years’ tax returns provide valuable insights into your income, deductions, and tax liabilities, enabling the planner to assess tax planning opportunities and strategies.
  • Insurance Policies: Information on existing insurance policies will help your financial planner evaluate coverage levels and identify gaps in protection.
  • Estate Planning Documents: Copies of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents to assess your estate planning needs and ensure alignment with your overall financial goals.
  • Investment Holdings: A breakdown of your investment portfolio, including equities, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and any alternative investments, to assess asset allocation, risk exposure, and investment performance.
  • Debts and Liabilities: Information on outstanding debts, such as mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit card balances, including interest rates and repayment terms, to evaluate your overall financial leverage and debt management strategies.
  • Financial Goals and Objectives: A clear understanding of your short-term and long-term financial goals, such as retirement planning, education funding, homeownership, travel, charitable giving, and any other aspirations you may have.
  • Risk Tolerance: An assessment of your risk tolerance and investment preferences to tailor investment strategies and asset allocation decisions to your comfort level and financial objectives.
  • Health and Longevity Considerations: Information on your health status, life expectancy, and potential healthcare needs in retirement to factor in healthcare costs and long-term care planning into your financial plan.
  • Family Dynamics: Insights into your family structure, including marital status, dependents, and any financial obligations or responsibilities you may have towards family members, to ensure comprehensive planning that considers family needs and dynamics.
  • Employment Benefits: Details of employer-sponsored benefits, such as retirement plans, and share options, to optimise benefits utilisation and integration into your overall financial plan.
  • Financial Documents and Legal Agreements: Any additional financial documents, legal agreements, or contracts relevant to your financial situation, such as lease agreements, loan documents, business contracts, or divorce settlements, that may impact your financial planning.


Navigating the complexities of financial planning can be daunting, but with the guidance of a skilled financial planner, you can chart a course towards financial security and prosperity. Whether you’re facing a major life event or simply seeking to optimise your financial strategy, understanding the role of a financial planner and recognising the pivotal moments that signal their need empowers you to make informed decisions for a brighter financial future.


Founded by Dennis Hall, Yellowtail are the trusted financial planners who advise individuals & families across the UK. Yellowtail’s experts provide the clarity, control and confidence to guide you through financial planning, estate planning, pension transfers and investment management directing your journey towards a prosperous retirement and financial peace of mind.