Are you at a point in your life where you are in need of financial stability? Maybe you’re going through a major life event or maybe you just want to start planning for a better future. We can’t all be experts in everything, and that’s why there are financial advisers. However, getting a financial adviser isn’t exactly a cheap affair. While it is true that it would be a worthwhile investment to get help in putting the rest of your money to good use, not all of us can afford to both get a financial adviser and have extra money at the same time.
But that doesn’t mean you’re on your own in the dark. There are a number of different ways you can still get financial advice from those who know what they’re talking about; you just need to know the right places to look for it.
If you’re looking to get better at financial skills such as money management, investment, retirement planning, etc. but aren’t ready to splurge on the pros, here are some ways to get financial advice without spending loads of money:
Use a Personal Finance App
If you’ve just started to take stock of your money habits, your first step would be to start budgeting. This is an important financial milestone because it helps you take in the whole picture. This helps you evaluate your relationship with money, create realistic money goals, and identify habits that need to be avoided in the future.
A personal finance app or budgeting app is an invaluable tool that you can do to help you get through this task as pain-free as possible. Not only can such software calculate your income and expenditure automatically when linked to bank accounts, some of them even give you recommendations based on your spending habits and financial goals. Plus, you can access them with a tap of a thumb, helping you keep track of your finances at any time.
Follow Personal Finance Influencers
The internet has made a lot of things more accessible to us ordinary folk, and the same can be said about financial knowledge. Just like their lifestyle influencers, fashion influencers, food bloggers, and more, you can find a number of financial influencers on any of your preferred social media sites.
These influencers share their financial journeys and valuable knowledge that can help you become money-savvy. The best part is that since it’s mostly on social media, topics are often broken down into smaller, more interesting, and easily digestible snippets. Plus, it’s motivating to see these influencers, most of the regular people like you and me, take control of their finances and be successful.
Work With a Credit Counselor
A credit counselor is certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and is a person you can depend on to get sound advice on matters regarding debt. Most credit counselors offer to counsel over the phone or in-person and charge very minimal fees or nothing at all for their services.
They will ask you a number of questions to get an idea about your financial situation, mostly centered around your personal debt. They will then draw up a potential financial plan to help you reduce debt and prevent getting further into the future.
Attend a Community Class
Check your local community center, senior center, or local library to see if there are any upcoming workshops regarding personal finance. Since these places work to better the community, such events are commonly held and ticket prices are typically very low or even free.
The Financial Clinic is one such organization that offers financial coaching through community partners in a number of states including California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
If you need urgent financial help, your local community center or church may even be able to arrange personal counseling. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Seek Financial Counseling
The Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE) consists of a group of accredited financial counselors who can help guide you through various aspects of money management and other financial decisions. It is one of the most respected certifications for “financial counseling, coaching, and education” according to their website, so you know that the advice you get is reliable.
Charges for counseling through the AFCPE start at about $75 an hour. You can browse through the member counselors’ websites and charges through the AFCPE directory and find one that is in your vicinity. You can also check whether counselors in your locality are conducting classes or workshops for the public.
Attend a Financial Planning Day Event
The World Financial Planning Day is designated to be October 6th of every year. This is an initiative of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and has completed its fifth consecutive year in 2021.
If the date is somewhat nearby, you can look forward to gaining a plethora of financial knowledge from the pros on this day as certified financial planners hold volunteer workshops and one-on-one counseling sessions across the country. You don’t have to worry about being misled either because financial planners who participate in this event aren’t allowed to sell you anything or even give you their business cards!
You can go through the Financial Planning Day website to find out more information about the event, find local venues, and register ahead of time. They also have a list of affiliated members of the Financial Planning Standards Board from around the world where you can find a directory of certified local financial planners.
Pay for a la Carte Services
Just like any other service, there are a number of different ways to hire a financial planner. Having a financial adviser “on retainer” can be a costly affair, but that doesn’t mean you have to go for the all-or-nothing approach. While researching local finance professionals, make sure to ask about the specialty of a la carte services. If there is a certain aspect of your finances that you want to get help with, you can certainly pay a certified financial planner on an hourly or per-package basis.
“I always tell younger consumers that it’s never too early to start engaging with an adviser,” says Geof Brown, CEO of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. “There’s someone out there who has services and a fee structure that will meet your needs.”