WHEN times are good and confidence is high, most financial advisers should be able to help generate at least reasonable returns most of the time.

However, at times such as these we are currently experiencing, it’s imperative that you have the reassurance of a ‘trusted helper’ you can rely upon to guide, support and advise you.

Engage with an adviser you can trust: First and foremost, does your financial adviser really know and understand you, your objectives, exactly what you are trying to achieve, and your attitude to what risk, if any, you are prepared to take to help achieve your aims and objectives? Understanding how much risk you are prepared to take, or indeed are currently taking on an existing investment or pension portfolio, is crucial. This is very personal to you and can change over time, depending on your objectives, your experiences and current circumstances.

Timing and diversification: We are in volatile times and it may seem daunting. A good financial adviser will help you understand the principles of investing and the techniques available for managing risk effectively, through diversification of assets. No financial adviser, however, can claim to be able to predict the peaks and troughs of financial markets, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to time exactly when the best days to invest will be. However, ‘time in’ the markets, not ‘timing” the markets, is generally the most effective approach over the medium to long term.

Don’t go it alone: Most importantly, now is not the time to try and go it alone – even if you think you have the knowledge and experience. Regrettably, we have seen many people where self-select investing, whilst on the face of it may save costs, has been a very expensive experiment!

Protection: The potential impact of this health crisis does not change some of the other fundamentals of good financial planning, such as whether you are protected against the unexpected happening, for both individuals and businesses, in terms of life insurance, critical illness cover or income protection. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life that can definitely be planned for with good advice, both before and after whatever happens with the current crisis.

If you’d like clear, honest advice from an independent financial adviser, call on 0791 703 5691 or email kerry.chaloner@armstrongwatson.co.uk.