6 ways to get free help with finances.

The "problem" with professional help with finances.
April 26, 2011 Certified Financial Planners are financial professionals who have undergone rigorous training and testing in order to qualify for their professional CFP designations. These people help their clients invest, manage financial risks, and protect their assets. They are there to walk you through the tougher financial problems that are thrown your way. They are specialists with money issues just like a doctor is with your health and a mechanic is with your car. There is just one problem. Most CFPs who work on a fee basis charge between $150.00 and $250.00 per hour for their advice.

A good CFP is well worth the investment as you will most likely save much more than the fee you pay. However, if the fee is out of your reach, there are several other ways to get free help with your finances. Here are a few.

1. Your Human Resources Manager.
Your Human Resource Manager is someone who most likely is well versed in benefits that affect your personal finances, such as medical insurance, retirement investing and plans, payroll taxes, and employee/workplace rights. Even if talking to your Human Resources Manager doesn't provide an answer to your particular problem she may be able to recommend an expert that can provide free help with your financial question.

2. Your insurance agent.
Insurance agents are required to pass certain licensing tests in order to demonstrate their knowledge in key insurance areas. However, in addition to those requirements, many agents are also CFPs or Chartered Financial Planners. That means they have also demonstrated a professional level of knowledge in financial planning and investing. Perhaps the agent through whom you purchase your car or home owners insurance has one of these designations. As one of their insurance clients don't hesitate to ask them for free help with your other financial concerns.

3. Seminars conducted by your bank or credit union.
Many banks and credit unions will host seminars that offer free help with finances as a service to their customers and the community. These free seminars will typically be conducted by a banking or finance professional and cover topics such as investing, retirement, mortgages, etc. These is a great opportunity to both increase your own knowledge in a particular area of finance as well as meet an expert and ask for advice regarding your own related questions. Similarly, it doesn't hurt to ask your bank if there is someone you can talk to at the bank's office.

4. Colleges.
Some colleges that train students majoring in finance related fields will use volunteers in their programs. These volunteers work with the finance students and instructor and allow them to use their own personal circumstances as a case study. The students gain valuable experience by working with a real life case and the volunteer gains access to college level resources that can
offer much advice then found among one's own resources.

5. Talk radio and TV.
Dave Ramsey on radio and Suze Orman on television are perhaps the most well known personal finance advice personalities that offer free help with finances. Many people who call in to their shows will receive excellent advice regarding their particular issue. Local media can also provide help. In Pittsburgh for example, KDKA radio hosts "Your Money And You" Sundays from 9 AM to 11 AM which features Hefren-Tillotson, an investment advisory and financial planning firm, giving free, professional advice to callers.

6. Webinars.
You can find webinars on any number of topics, including personal finance. Many CFPs and other financial experts conduct webinars in order to connect with new customers. Most webinars are a marketing tool for the person or company conducting them, so there is usually no fee. A simple Google search will generally help you find a variety of webinar topics to choose from. If you "attend" the live webinar you will most likely have an opportunity to email or ask your particular question and get an answer from an expert.

What other ways have you discovered to get professional personal finance help for free?

 
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