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Citizens Advice reveals advice gap of 23m people

Citizens Advice reveals advice gap of 23m people

A new report from Citizens Advice has revealed that almost half of the adult population - over 23 million people - would have taken financial advice at different key moments of their lives if they had been offered it.

The report, which follows the government and regulator’s Financial Advice Market Review call for information, highlighted the number of people who would accept advice if it had been available at key life stages.

More than a third of people would accept financial advice when they start working or change jobs, and over one in four when buying a home.

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When going through a divorce or separation 37 per cent would seek advice, along with 44 per cent when seriously ill.

The study draws on evidence from across the Citizens Advice service and a YouGov poll of 2,041 British adults.

Citizens Advice said that advice must to respond to the realities of people’s lives, warning that currently there are multiple gaps where the help or guidance is not accessible or available for people to plan their finances.

One of these is what it calls the affordable advice gap, which consists of consumers who are willing to pay for money advice but not at current prices for the services on offer, with the report suggests 5.4m people would consider paying for money advice if it cost less.

Another gap is around awareness and referral, made up of people who are unaware money advice exists, the different services available or how to access it.

More than three million people said they needed free money advice in the last two years and failed to get it because they did not know it existed or where to find it.

There is also a free advice gap, which is made up of people who would benefit from money advice but are unable to pay for it. Many households are not in the position to pay for advice ,with 49 per cent of households having a net financial wealth of less than £5,000.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, commented: “As it stands too many people aren’t getting the money advice, support and guidance they need at key moments in their life such as when they buy a house or have a baby.

“The Financial Advice Market Review offers a real opportunity to ensure the money advice landscape is able to deliver this but to be successful the review needs to start and end with consumers’ needs.”

Earlier this week, in an exclusive comment piece for FTAdviser, Ms Guy said while the Retail Distribution Review brought positive changes in terms of increased transparency and greater protections for consumers, it also exerted upwards pressure on the costs of advice, exacerbating the price gap problem.