Financial Organisations Helplines and Websites that can help you
Shown below is a useful list of financial organisations that exist to help those in need and with money problems.
This advice service provides basic information on a wide range of financial topics. There are free guides and calculators and a helpline open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm. It is run by the Consumer Financial Education Body, a Government agency charged with improving financial knowledge.
However, the service does not give regulated advice - for example, advisers can answer general questions about pensions but would not say whether a Standard Life plan was more suitable for you than a Legal & General pension.
Call 0300 500 5000 or visit http://www.moneymadeclear.org.uk/clear.org.uk
2. My Lost Account
Aiming to reunite savers with lost or dormant bank accounts, it can also be used by relatives trying to trace accounts after someone has died.
Visit http://www.mylostaccount.org.uk/ or ask for a search leaflet in your local bank or building society branch.
3. Pensions Tracing Service
Free help to track down pensions that you once paid into. It can be invaluable in helping to reunite workers with old company pensions where their employer has been taken over or changed name.
Call 0845 600 2537 or visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/ and search for 'pension tracing'.
4. Pensions Advisory Service
Help and information for employees and small firms on pensions and related legislation. It gives guidance on issues such as investing pension money, the pros and cons of contracting out of the State pension and how to convert a pension into an income.
Call 0845 601 2923 or visit http://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/
5. State Pension Forecast
Part of the Department for Work and Pensions, this service will produce a projection of your State pension, including any Serps or State Second Pension, based on your work history and National Insurance contributions record.
Call 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday on 0845 300 0168 or visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/ and search for 'pension forecast'.
6. National Debt line
A charity offering debt advice. It can help with budget planning, advise on negotiation with creditors and talk you through the pros and cons of debt management plans, individual voluntary arrangements and formal bankruptcies.
There is tailored help for those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the law differs.
Call 0808 808 4000 or visit http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/
7. Find a Broker helpline
This helpline matches customers who have unusual or complex insurance needs with a broker who can arrange specialist cover. The service, run by the British Insurance Brokers' Association, is free.
Call 0870 950 1790. There is a limited broker search online at http://www.biba.org.uk/
8. Leasehold Advisory Service
Funded by the Government, this independent body can help landlords and leaseholders understand their rights and duties under residential leasehold law in England and Wales. The organisation produces guides and runs a mediation service for leasehold disputes.
Call 020 7383 9800 or visit http://www.lease-advice.org.uk/
9. FSA Register
This definitive list of financial companies and individuals is regulated by the Financial Services Authority. It shows basic information for each firm, including the activities each business is permitted to carry out. And it allows you to double-check registered individuals, such as financial advisers, insurance brokers or mortgage advisers, to see if they are legitimate.
The best way to access this is online via www.fsa.gov.uk/register - but you can also call the FSA consumer helpline on 0845 606 1234.
This website started life as IFA Promotion, helping consumers find a shortlist of local independent advisers they might want to work with. It has since changed its name and expanded, offering introductions to mortgage advisers and solicitors as well as IFAs.
The search is free, but any advice you ultimately take from the professional you choose has to be paid for.
The service is available only via http://www.unbiased.co.uk/