N&P also asked customers how they were feeling about their finances compared to this time last year, just as the ‘credit crunch' started to hit. A substantial 57% of people said that they think about money matters more often now than they did last year, with 35% saying it's about the same, and only 8% saying they think about finances less.
N&P asked where people would go for advice on health, car and money issues, giving the options of parent/family, partner, friend, colleague, industry professional (doctor, mechanic or financial adviser), the Internet, TV/newspaper/magazines, or other. When asked where they would get advice for a health issue, 79% of people said they'd go and see a doctor or health professional. For a problem with their car, 74% of people would take it to a mechanic, but for advice about money matters, a noticeably lower 59% said they would see a financial adviser.
Of the 37% of people who had never seen a financial adviser before, the main reason why not (without prompting) was that they felt they'd never had the need (57%). Other reasons given were that they didn't have enough money to warrant seeing an adviser (11%), they thought they were too young to need to (6%), didn't have the time (5%), thought advice would be too expensive (4%), and that they preferred to manage their finances themselves (4%).
When given the choice, 93% of people sensibly said that if they were to see a financial adviser, they would prefer to see an independent financial adviser (IFA) who can offer advice from across the marketplace, rather than a tied adviser who can only offer products from one provider.
Judith Dove, N&P's head of sales for its Financial Advice Service, commented: "Many people still seem to only associate financial advisers with investments, but they can offer help and advice on a much wider range of areas. Everyone should be checking that their life protection needs, pension arrangement, investments and wills are up to date and in the best possible place.
"In addition, at N&P we offer all customers a free, no obligation, initial appointment, so the cost shouldn't be a reason for people not to at least check-in with one of our independent financial advisers to see if their finances are in good order.
"It is good to see that people understand the benefit of seeing an IFA over a tied adviser, however. When looking at your finances it really is important to get as wide a view as possible on the options available. We get huge satisfaction out of helping people to make the most of their financial resources. No matter what your circumstances may be, the chances are that you'll have something to gain by talking to us."
The Society is currently running a ‘Beat the crunch' campaign in its branches, encouraging customers to visit one of its experienced IFAs to check that their finances are as prepared as possible to ride out this current unsettling time. Anyone wanting to book a free, no obligation appointment should visit their local branch, call 0845 300 2511, or visit www.npbs.co.uk/financial-advice.