How To Optimize Your Personal Finances

I set up my business in 2013 following a successful career as a fund manager after realising that unwitting customers were being taken advantage of by large commercial enterprises. Initially, I was surprised at the wide differential between the cheapest and most expensive energy and phone tariffs. It also struck me that people were spending more money than they needed to on many other types of services. Not only did it seem to me that elderly and vulnerable members of society were paying over the odds as a result of opaque pricing methods, indecipherable bills, and sophisticated marketing, but it was apparent that people leading busy lives, and who did not have the time to shop around for more competitive deals, were also being overcharged. The sums of money involved may only be £500 here or there, but over time the cumulative amounts being wasted soon become more meaningful, whatever one’s earnings capacity.

It is not just in relation to basic household expenditure where I aim to add value, but also when it comes to more complex and sensitive matters. For example, if someone is getting divorced, is faced with having to apply for probate, wants a Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up, or needs help completing a tax return, they might enlist the services of a solicitor or an accountant who charges more by the hour than I charge by the day. Divorce lawyers often charge over £400 an hour even for simple administrative tasks, such as those associated with completing a Form E, which I can do much more cheaply and just as effectively. Completing a tax return is often a lot easier than people assume, particularly once all the requisite documents are to hand. With my help collecting and collating the relevant information, you may gain sufficient confidence to submit the tax return yourself without recourse to an accountant.

If you require more specialist input than I am in a position to provide, I would normally be able to recommend a reputable practitioner; my network of contacts ranging from solicitors, tax advisers and insurance brokers to IT specialists, furniture restorers and art dealers is exceptional in this regard, and it is worth my pointing out that I do not accept introductory commission from third parties. Also, given my background in finance, and although I am not FCA registered and therefore not permitted to give investment advice, I can provide valuable input in respect of any pensions or investments which you may have, and help you to weigh up your options.

Martin Lewis, who founded, has done a tremendous job empowering people to manage their household budgets and personal finances more effectively. However, it still requires a lot of time and effort for people to keep abreast of the most competitive deals, which invariably change from one day to the next. Switching energy providers may save you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds, but a lot of people do not bother because they do not have the time to do so, are perhaps worried about something going awry, may be unsure from which of around 60 providers to choose, or because they are undecided as to whether they should opt for a fixed or variable rate deal.

I would oversee the process, ensuring that you are able to switch without a hitch, giving you peace of mind that everything goes smoothly and is set up correctly. You will not currently find a cheaper energy deal than the one which the majority of my clients are on. The same logic applies to your phone, both mobile and landline, broadband and TV contracts. If you are paying more than £20 per month for a SIM-only mobile phone deal, then you are probably paying too much. You may also discover that you are paying over the odds for your home and car insurance, particularly if the policy in question is on auto-renewal. I am familiar with a lot of the common tactics adopted by businesses, in order to inflate the amount of money which you end up paying, and can help you obtain more competitive deals tailored to your needs.

In short, my business may be characterised as a bespoke version of Martin Lewis’ product offering and, whilst it comes at a cost, albeit a modest one, the fees are guaranteed to be lower than the savings and benefits which accrue, thereby making the service free to the user. Whilst there is no shortage of free information online, it will not necessarily facilitate the implementation process, which is where my input is instrumental.

Finally, my car finding service is also worth my highlighting. It specialises in sourcing cars which are under two years’ old at a significant discount to brand new equivalent models; since inception, the average car which we have sourced would have cost £38,000 new, but we have managed to obtain a 15-month old equivalent with 8,000 miles on the clock for just £22,500, i.e. at a 40% discount, whilst minimising the amount of effort involved on the part of the client in relation to the search.

In summary, if you are looking for a service which will not cost you anything and which will potentially generate significant financial and non-financial benefits, and would like to have someone trustworthy, efficient and reliable to research, negotiate and implement a wide range of commercial deals on your behalf, then please get in touch. On the basis of a quick phone call, it is normally apparent to both parties whether I can be of assistance. Testimonials, as well as further background information, are available on the website.

I look forward to hearing from you via the Almost Essential portal.


Andrew Brettell