What is a financial health check tool?
When it comes to money, it can be hard to know how you are doing financially and whether you are comfortably set up for everything that life throws at you.
Where do you start when it comes to making sense of your finances and in what order should you tackle things? If you bank with one of the main high street banks then you may be offered a 'free financial health check' with one of their financial advisers, but it will often require a time consuming face-to-face meeting, with the end result likely to be heavily focused on selling you additional products offered by the bank.
You can, however, complete a free financial health check from the comfort of your own home. Not only is it more convenient to do so, the results can be provided in order of priority, rather than what will earn someone the most commission. That being said, there are relatively few financial health check tools around, so we reveal which is the best free financial health check tool on the market and then also review the other best tools we could find.
Which is the best free financial health check tool?
While it is good to see that businesses are taking personal finance seriously and taking it upon themselves to develop free tools, there is clearly some work still to do. That is why we at Money to the Masses have developed our own free financial health check tool - Damien's Money MOT - which in just a few minutes will give you a personalised breakdown of how your finances shape up. By answering just a few simple, anonymous questions, you'll receive a bespoke assessment of your finances, receiving a Money MOT grade from A to E. You'll then be provided with a detailed breakdown of the areas of your finances that may need attention (without having to register or provide any paperwork) and you'll even be able to see how you compare to the thousands of others that have completed the health check. Check out our full review below.
Damien’s Money MOT
Damien's Money MOT is a financial health checker tool that is totally free, tailored to each individual, and offers an action plan that actually helps you to move forward and improve your financial situation. The idea of the tailored plan is to praise you for the good work that you have already accomplished and then hold your hand as you accomplish each additional step, improving your score along the way.
Damien, founder of Money to the Masses, created Damien's Money MOT with the aim of helping people make sense of their financial situation and giving them the knowledge and resources to try and do something about it. When coming up with the concept, Damien said "I wanted everyone, irrespective of age or wealth, to be given free access to information and tools that can help them take control of their financial decisions".
Damien asked himself:
- How could we help everyone understand and improve their finances in the time it takes for an ad break on the TV?
- How could we give people an accurate and bespoke assessment of their finances - anonymously and benchmarked against their peers?
- How could we then help them to take concrete steps to improve their finances (i.e. start the journey of improvement)?
The tool starts by asking you some personal questions about age, employment and living situation. This is so that Damien's Money MOT can personally tailor the results to your unique circumstances. It also ensures that information that is irrelevant to your financial situation is stripped out and does not negatively affect your score. Once you have answered a short series of questions (grouped into 12 categories), you'll receive a star rating for each, ranging from 0 - 3 stars.
You also receive an overall grade; the highest being A+ and the lowest being E, which allows you to see how you compare to the thousands that have already completed Damien's Money MOT. If you would like to see a full breakdown of your scores, you can sign up for free to receive Damien's Action Plan, in which you can opt to receive either daily or weekly emails that are tailored to you (in order of priority) to help you improve your score. However, this is not obligatory, and you can skip this step entirely if you prefer.
Overall, Damien's Money MOT gives you a comprehensive summary of your financial health, tailored in a way that tackles the important issues first, and then offers practical (and manageable) solutions to help you improve and stay on top of your finances.
HSBC Financial Fitness Score
HSBC offers a free Financial Fitness Score tool which aims to help you calculate "how healthy your finances are" and "can help you work out what steps you need to take to achieve your goals".
It generates a "fitness score" out of 100 for either your own or your household's finances and all you have to do is answer some straightforward questions. The questions range from how secure you feel in your financial situation to estimates of your rental/mortgage payments, household bills, transport costs, and other monthly outgoings. Once you've completed the questions, you get your score out of 100 and a detailed breakdown of your performance - and room to improve - on areas such as spending, saving and borrowing. These are supplemented with tips and guidance on how you can change your money habits to get a better score next time.
Taking about 10 minutes from start to finish, it's a great way to get a quick bird's eye view of your financial health, and it doesn't affect your credit score in any way. However, the advice that HSBC offers to improve your finances is rather generic, so while it may be a good starting point to assess your financial situation, you may have to look elsewhere for a more detailed evaluation of your circumstances and what you can personally do to improve them.
Standard Life Financial Health Check Tool
Standard Life offers a free Financial Health Check Tool with the aim to give you "personalised smart ideas to shape up your money" just by answering a short series of questions. You are then given a financial health scor between 1 and 5 stars.
To begin with, the Financial Health Check Tool asks for your name and age, but this is then followed by diving straight into the deep end, asking if you hold any savings or investment accounts. It then wants to know what your rough annual income is and how you would rate your finances out of 5 stars - with 1 being "poor" and 5 being "great". The following questions are broken down into 4 categories - "Everyday Money", "Savings & Investments", "Retirement", and "Protection". As you complete each section, you earn ideas for your report at the end. Once you've completed the questions, you're given a score out of 5 as well as some tips on which areas you could improve in - and how to do so - but once again the advice is generic and less detailed than what Damien's Money MOT or HSBC offer.
Though Standard Life's tool takes into account a wide range of factors to analyse your financial health - across everything from spending habits to whether you have a will - it ultimately provides minimal advice, so you may feel that you need to use an alternative tool or do further research on your own to improve your finances.
Unbiased offer - Claim your FREE financial review
If you would prefer to speak to someone to see how your finances are getting on, you can speak to a qualified financial adviser and receive a free financial review* plus £50 towards any additional advice with Unbiased.
Unbiased* allows you to search a number of financial professionals including local financial advisers, mortgage brokers and accountants and finds qualified professionals based on the service you require or your location. Unbiased has over 10 million users plus a database of 27,000 qualified professionals. Every financial adviser sourced through Unbiased is FCA regulated and there is no obligation to have financial advice once you have had a free financial review.
For more information on how Unbiased works, read our 'Unbiased review' and for additional information on financial advisers and how to find one, check out our article '10 tips on how to find a good financial adviser'.
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