New website to help you plan your money with a ‘money health check' (as seen on BBC)

publication date: Jun 10, 2011
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

New Website to help you Plan your Money with a ‘Money Health Check' (as seen on BBC)

It's always a good idea when consumers can have access to extra information on personal finances, which have become so complicated now that many people just ‘don't bother'. We do already though have many sites to help people understand finances including Money Made Clear which is written and produced by the Financial Services Authority. However, a new site called ‘the Money Advice Service' has been launched, which has been funded by companies in the financial services industry.

Kate Faulkner, MD of independent property advice website Designs on Property took a look at the site to see whether it was worth you checking it out.

Kate says the site itself is nice and easy to read and relatively easy to follow. "I love tools such as ‘money health checks' but I was surprised at how benign the advice was and the questions weren't probing at all, so very easy to just use it, not necessarily tell the whole truth and then think ‘oh I'm OK then'. Of course you'd only be cheating yourself, but what is the point of producing something in today's amazing internet world that does very little to help. When I checked out the healthcheck, the advice on my ‘action plan' even though I said I planned things, came back with ‘you should look at it again' and no real advice for what I should look for, no warnings, for example about the current problem about ‘with profits'. From a property investor perspective it's pretty useless as you can only comment on how you funded one property! If you then wanted to navigate back to the original site you couldn't. Clicking on the ‘logo' at the top left hand side of the page doesn't take you anywhere when it should be."

The biggest surprise about the site though was how out of date it was. "I looked at the property section and found they were talking about HIPs - that's a year out of date. Yes we still comment on them, but only because there are some properties still around which have them."

Kate's verdict on the money advice service? "Not really worth the time and effort to be honest, the only thing that was useful was the information about what to do if you were getting divorced etc. but even this was scant. If this is the best the financial industry can do to help people with their finances, then they are still out of touch with the reality of how consumers learn about and take in information about financial matters".


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