Forces Money Plan
Introducing Forces MoneyPlan – free, confidential financial guidance
Effective and relevant member support is at the heart of what Blesma seeks to deliver. Our team of Blesma Support Officers already offer advice and assistance in the War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme as well as a whole range of other allowances including disability and sickness benefits, out of work benefits and carer benefits.
However, some of our members require and could benefit from more general financial guidance, to ensure their long term financial security and wellbeing. Depending on individual circumstances, this might involve help in clarifying where personal or family finances stand today, where they need to be in the future, how best to deal with any urgent financial matters and how to deal with any financial shocks in the future (eg. Illness, investment losses, debt or bankruptcy).
As a result, from the 1st July 2018 we are making available to members of Blesma, widows and carers a free financial guidance service called ‘Forces MoneyPlan’, delivered by a professional financial adviser and member of The Personal Finance Society
So, what exactly is ‘Forces MoneyPlan’?
Most professions offer ‘pro bono’ (free) services to certain groups of people. ‘Forces MoneyPlan’ offers a free, no obligation, entirely confidential one- off meeting with a fully qualified, professional financial adviser who has agreed to give up their time to provide ‘generic financial guidance’ to help members of Blesma and their families identify and understand their financial position based on their specific circumstances. It aims to help members make better informed decisions about their financial options and to show you how best to plan their finances.
The meeting can be conducted face to face, over the telephone or via Skype depending on preference. Following the meeting, a personalised ‘Options and Priorities’ written report summarising key points discussed will be issued by post or e-mail. At this point, any decision about further contact with the financial adviser is placed firmly in our members hands and they will not be contacted again by this or any other financial adviser associated with the Personal Finance Society unless they specifically request it.
What is ‘generic financial guidance’?
Whilst most of us don’t differentiate between information, guidance and advice in our day to day lives, when it comes to financial matters there is an important distinction.
‘Generic Financial Guidance’ is intended to provide general information on the range of options, helping the recipient narrow down choices and make better informed decisions for which they are ultimately responsible. It tells them what they ‘could’ do. It will not tell them what they ‘should’ do or which product to buy – that’s what Regulated Financial Advice is. If Regulated Financial Advice is however what is needed, for example to help identify and source an appropriate investment fund or financial product, then it will need to be paid for as an additional service provided at a subsequent meeting. The important point to appreciate is that during and after the initial guidance session, you will be under no pressure whatsoever to do so.
Some examples of how Generic Financial Guidance might help
Generic financial guidance can -
- Ensure greater control over your day to day finances (including debt)
- Help you build a financial plan for the future
- Help you understand how best to manage your finances in general
- Help you make informed choices as to the advantages and disadvantages of the many different types of savings, investment, pension or protection products available
- Help you understand retirement income options available based on your existing pension scheme/s
- Help you understand how much risk you are both comfortable (and able) to take when considering what to do with your money
- Help you identify financial planning opportunities that you might not be aware of and want to consider
- Make you aware of financial exemptions that may apply (for example, the circumstances by which (ex) servicemen or women can secure complete exemption from Inheritance Tax on death)
- Help you understand how ‘Personal Injury Trusts’ work and their relevance to you
- Answer questions about financial matters in general, stemming from events such as approaching retirement (age 55+), buying a home, starting work / changing jobs, having a baby / starting a family or redundancy/illness/disability/negative life events
- Help you navigate the complexities of sourcing and funding care (via local authorities and/or the NHS)
- Where you are a self-funder (responsible for some or all your care fees), help you understand the different ways you might pay and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
For this service to be of value, you don’t need to have significant assets, money to invest or have a given level of income – the consultation is free regardless of your current financial position. However, if you do have money to invest or are looking for advice about financial actions you should take, it can also help you understand whether and how you might benefit from regulated financial advice without any commitment or feeling of obligation to take matters further.
What is the Personal Finance Society?
The Personal Finance Society (PFS) is the professional body for the UK financial planning profession, with over 35,000 members made up of financial advisers and support staff. They are not a trade body and as such don’t represent the interests of their members but encourage the highest professional standards through ensuring their members undertake rigorous qualifications, continuing professional development, and operate under a strict code of ethics. The PFS also operates under a Royal Charter that was awarded by the Monarch in 1912 and ensures the purpose of the PFS is to ‘secure and justify the confidence of the public’.
On the back of ‘Forces MoneyPlan’ the PFS has signed the Armed Forces Covenant which has been formally ‘registered’ by the Ministry of Defence.
How do I find out more or request a meeting?
In the first instance, get in touch with the Blesma Support Officer in your area and they will explain how you can take advantage of this service and what to do next.