Research from Just Group has found that the majority of over-45s approaching a local council to arrange their own or a loved one’s care needs would find it helpful to be referred to a professional financial adviser to help them plan their finances to meet care costs.
The findings from the Just Group Care Report 2020 – the eighth in a research series dating back to 2012 – revealed that 55% of over-45s would find a referral from their local council to an independent financial adviser helpful when planning finances for care in later life.
35% said that they would then meet an adviser in person with a further 26% likely to make contact by phone or online.
“The evidence shows people want help understanding their options on paying for care,” said Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group. “Organising care is an onerous undertaking.
“Of those who have already co-ordinated care for an elderly relative, nearly eight in ten (78%) thought the system was too complex to navigate, and over three-quarters (77%) found the whole process of finding care stressful.”
He said that advisers with the professional qualifications, knowledge and experience of the care market have a clear business opportunity to provide financial planning to those organising immediate care for relatives or future care for themselves.
“There is currently a large gap between the high number who would welcome a referral to a financial adviser from their council and a much smaller number who would think about contacting an adviser unprompted,” said Lowe.
“Advice firms may see the opportunity but are perhaps wary of the complexity given the interaction of both regulated financial advice and non-regulated areas such as State benefits, treatment of the home in the means test and deliberate deprivation rules.
“There is support available from providers such as Just Group through our care and vulnerability training and also organisations such as SOLLA (The Society of Later Life Advisers) to help advisers understand the regulatory and practical issues of moving into this market.”
Advisers are not front of mind when people are asked where they might seek support. 12% over-45s said they would go to a professional adviser, whereas 51% said they would contact Age UK/Age Concern, 39% their local council/social worker, 33% Citizens ~Advice and 20% family and friends.
“Care is in the spotlight, due to the impact of Covid-19 but also because government proposals to reform care funding are due any time now,” said Lowe.
“These could be an important catalyst to encourage more people to think more carefully about their future care plans.
“Advisers who develop close ties with their local authorities and other care providers in their areas have an opportunity to become the ‘go to’ experts in what is likely to be a growing business area in the years to come.”