The "problem" with professional help
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
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
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.
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.
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