Where to Find Free Professional Financial Advice – Forbes | Vette Leader

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When you find yourself in financial distress, the last thing you want to worry about is paying for the help. Whether you’re looking for advice on how to manage your current financial situation or want financial insight for the future, there are resources available to help you find free professional financial advice.

Use your existing financial resources

If you have existing accounts with a financial institution, they likely have free tools and resources to help you learn more about finance.

Available tools may include free apps that help with money management, like budgeting or automated bill payment, or online education centers. There may also be instructional videos that break down complicated financial topics or games to help you understand financial concepts.

You can find these free tools through your bank, online brokerage account, 401(k) provider, or your employer’s human resources department. All of these institutions understand the value of financial education and how it impacts the well-being of customers and employees.

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Contact financial services associations

Those who need free, personalized financial advice to help them through a difficult financial situation can turn to these resources for help:

Credit Advisory Services

If you are struggling with money problems, e.g. B. with a high debt burden, credit counseling services are available to help you. Credit counseling can help you create a debt management plan, develop a plan to pay off your student loans, check your credit report for errors, educate you about home buying, and even help you avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy.

It’s important to realize that there are a variety of credit counseling companies, including not-for-profit, free, and for-profit companies. If you are interested in working with a credit counseling agency, ideally you should work with one that is certified and affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). These organizations also have databases to help you find a credit counselor in your area.

Pro bono financial advisor

There are financial advisors out there that work on a pro bono basis, meaning they offer their services for free. Typically, professionals who volunteer do so to give back to their communities.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) provides free financial planning to underserved communities through volunteer consultants across the country. In 2020, the FPA offered free financial advice to nearly 12,000 consumers, including low-income individuals and families, survivors of domestic violence, and people affected by natural disasters or major medical crises.

The FPA has a tool to help you find a chapter near you. You can contact each chapter individually to learn more about how to get free financial advice.

The Financial Planning Foundation (FFP) also offers free financial planning services to consumers in need. The organization has a wider reach than the FPA; In 2021, FFP served nearly 84,000 people in need through financial skills workshops and webinars and provided one-on-one financial planning sessions to over 8,000 people.

Get involved with free online resources

Free online courses on personal finance

Structured learning approaches in the form of a course can be helpful to really dive into financial concepts and retain what you have learned. There are a variety of free personal finance courses online, including:

  • MoneySmart. This is a free online personal finance course created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). You’ll learn about everyday finance topics, including the basics of credit, how to create a spending and savings plan, and how to protect your identity. The course includes learning material with games to keep users active and engaged. This course is also available in Spanish.
  • GreenPath Learning Lab. GreenPath is a free financial wellness platform that provides resources like worksheets, guides, and debt calculators to help consumers manage their finances. The Learning Lab is an online portal with various free courses and games that educate users about finance topics, including using a car loan, rethinking your financial habits, and more.

Related: Find a financial advisor in 3 minutes

Free worksheets

Worksheets are great tools that can help you visualize your current financial situation and how you think it will be in the future. Examples of helpful worksheets are:

By printing and completing these worksheets, you’ll be actively thinking about what small changes or goals you need to make now to achieve your big goals in the near future.

Free workbooks

Worksheets provide a snapshot of one aspect of your financial plan, but a full workbook can help you walk through the different steps toward a specific goal or help you visualize your overall financial picture.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a financial empowerment toolkit (available in English, Spanish, and Chinese) that includes worksheets for setting goals, tracking income, choosing financial products, protecting your money, and more. Printed copies of the toolkit are available free of charge.

The FFP also offers a free workbook called Navigating Your Financial Roadmap. The workbook guides you through the concepts of financial planning and provides worksheets to help you create a current and future spending plan, offers tips for restoring your credit, and offers help in creating a debt management plan.

bottom line

Financial advice does not always have to be paid for. There are various free professional financial resources to assist you in your financial journey. These free resources include free financial advisors, online courses, worksheets, workbooks, and more.

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