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How to do your own financial research
Published 11 July 2013 by Helen Gradwell
Do you know what's involved in researching financial products and services? Do you know where to look if you need guidance or advice? If you don't, you're not alone. thinkmoney explains what's usually involved in financial research.
23% of people in the UK may not be making the most of their money because they never do any research into financial products and services - according to recent research for thinkmoney.
The research, carried out by OnePoll, looked into how people in the UK find and choose financial products and services. Although around 77% of people do look around and do some research when looking for a financial product, nearly a quarter don't.
The people that don't do any research may be missing out on deals that could make their money go further. In fact, not doing your research can be harmful - as you may end up with a product that is totally inappropriate, or even fall for a scam. That's why thinkmoney has put together this short guide to financial research to help you.
A beginner's guide to financial research
You might think that financial research is boring, time consuming and difficult - but this doesn't have to be the case. The internet has made financial research easier than ever. Often, all it takes is a few minutes put aside to compare products and deals. We've separated it into a few easy steps.
Find out what the product does
First, you'll need to find out which products are available and what they do. Find a site you find easy to use, with clear information you know you can trust. We like the one-minute guides on Let's Save Some Money. Good if you've got a short attention span.
The Money Advice Service provides simple, authoritative information to get you started. Try the Health Check Tool to see which financial products might benefit you.
It's also worth asking your family and friends for their views. However, make sure you check what they say against a reputable source, so you know it's correct.
Find a deal that suits you
Once you know which products you need, you'll want to go a bit deeper - and look at which individual deal is right for you. The easiest way to do this is through a comparison website like uSwitch. Just enter your details and it'll search for products that match what you're looking for.
Read the small-print
Once you find a deal you like the look of, it's then worth looking at the provider's website. So, for example, if you find an insurance deal from Aviva on a comparison website, you should visit Aviva's website and have a look at the appropriate policy documents. This will tell you more about your chosen product and what is and isn't included. These policy documents are usually written in a way that makes them easy to understand - however, if you have any questions. it's well worth getting in touch with the company.
See what other people think
Remember - the opinions of real people matter too. Take some time to enter '[product name] reviews' into a search engine, to see whether other people have had positive or negative experiences with that product.
For example, if you look at the Feefo reviews for thinkmoney, you can see that 95% of our customers are happy with our service.
But remember - if you're interested in the thinkmoney Managed Current Account, it won't hurt to do your own research too.