ONE thing you can be certain of is that the future does not take care of itself. As we leave the UK recession behind us, a valuable lesson has been learned. More of us now accept that the future is not going to take care of itself financially.

It never was going to before but when the economy is booming, there is always the misguided belief that both money and work will always be readily available.

There are also notable changes which affect our finances today which were not of concern 10 years ago. For instance, university education is no longer free for our children, with the average cost of a three-year course rising to more than £26,000.The age at which to claim a state pension has been increased. Access to benefits in the case of sickness, unemployment or disability is less straightforward. In essence, we have come to realise that our income may not stretch to meet all of our needs.

For many of us, these are not financial concerns to cause sleepless nights but if we want to ensure our offspring are educated, we live in our own homes and can retire with a reasonable amount of income, then we have to make what we earn today stretch to also provide for tomorrow. Even those who earn sizeable incomes cannot reach these financial goals without addressing the issues early on and it should be a priority for everyone.

The challenge for many people can be knowing how or where to start. This is where a financial adviser can help.

1 If you have a family, then you should consider the options for providing a form of income in the event of you being unable to work due to ill health or to provide for your family in the event of your death.

2 If you want to retire comfortably, then review your current pension plans and check you are investing enough. There are alternative ways to invest for retirement and a financial adviser can advise you about your options.

3 If you want to help your children financially when they go to university or to pay for a private education, then establish a timeframe, a desired sum to accumulate and speak to an adviser about how to save tax efficiently or invest to reach your goal.

4 If you have money which is scattered in a variety of savings or investment accounts, make sure you know what you have and where it is. If you find these difficult to manage, consider whether to consolidate some accounts for ease of administration, but do ensure you are not losing valuable benefits or incurring unnecessary costs in doing so.

5 If you have wealth to pass on when you die, find out more about inheritance tax planning and take steps to bequeath your estate to your beneficiaries without them paying more tax than they need to.

You can get in touch with Billy by calling his freephone number: 0800 321 3508. Or you can reach him via the website,, where there is a contact page, or email him directly: