Where to find free professional financial advice – Forbes Advisor

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

Tap into your existing financial resources

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

Tools available may include free apps to help with money management, such as budgeting or automated bill paying, or online education centers. There may also be educational videos that break down complex 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 employer HR resources. All of these institutions understand the value of financial education and its connection to the well-being of customers and employees.

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 counseling services

If you are struggling with money problems, such as a heavy debt burden, credit counseling services are available to help you. Credit counselors can help you create a debt management plan, develop a student loan repayment plan, review your credit report for errors, educate you about buying a house and even avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy.

It is important to know that there are a variety of credit counseling service companies, including not-for-profit, free, and for-profit companies. If you are interested in working with a credit counseling service, ideally you should work with a service that is certified and affiliated with the National Credit Counseling Foundation or with 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 advisors

There are financial advisors who work on a pro bono basis, which means they will offer their services for free. Usually, professionals who engage in pro bono service do so as a way to give back to their communities.

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

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

The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) also offers pro bono financial planning services to consumers in need. The organization has a broader scope than the FPA; in 2021, FFP helped nearly 84,000 people in need through financial capability workshops and webinars and provided individual financial planning sessions to more than 8,000 people.

Engage with free online resources

Free Online Personal Finance Courses

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

  • MoneySmart. This is a free online personal finance course created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). You’ll learn about everyday financial topics, including credit basics, how to create a spending and saving plan, and protecting your identity. The course integrates learning materials with games to keep users active and engaged. This course is also available in Spanish.
  • Learning Lab by GreenPath. 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 on financial topics, including using an auto loan, rethinking your financial habits and more.

Free Worksheets

Worksheets are great tools that can help you visualize your current financial situation and what you hope it will look like in the future. Here are some examples of useful worksheets:

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

Free Workbooks

Worksheets provide an overview of one aspect of your financial plan, but a comprehensive workbook can help you walk through the steps of 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) which includes worksheets on setting goals, tracking income, choosing financial products, protecting your money and more. Printed copies of the toolkit are available for free.

The FFP also offers a free workbook entitled “Navigate your financial roadmap.” The manual guides you through the concepts of financial planning and provides worksheets to help you establish a current and future spending plan, offers advice on how to restore your credit and helps you develop a management plan. debt.

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Conclusion

You don’t always have to pay for financial advice. There are various free professional financial resources to help you along your financial journey. These free resources include pro bono financial advisors, online courses, worksheets, workbooks and more.