Where to Find Free Professional Financial Advice – Forbes Advisor

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When you’re in financial need, the last thing you want to worry about is how you’ll pay for help. Whether you’re looking for advice on how to navigate your current financial situation or want to become financially literate 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, it likely will have free tools and resources to help you learn more about finances.

Available tools may include free apps to help with money management, like budgeting or automated bill pay, or online educational hubs. There may also be educational videos that break down complicated financial topics or games to help you grasp financial concepts.

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

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Reach Out to Financial Services Associations

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

Credit Counseling Services

If you’re struggling with money issues, such as a large debt burden, credit counseling services are available to help. Credit counseling can help you create a debt management plan, develop a plan to pay off your student loans, help you review your credit report for errors, educate you on purchasing a home and even help you avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy.

It’s important to know that there are a variety of credit counseling service companies, including nonprofit, free and for-profit companies. If you’re interested in working with a credit counseling service, ideally you should work with one that’s certified and affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling 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 out there that work on a pro bono basis, meaning they will offer their services free of charge. Usually, professionals that engage in pro bono service do it as a way to give back to their communities.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) offers pro bono financial planning to underserved communities through volunteer advisors across the country. In 2020, the FPA provided free financial advice to nearly 12,000 consumers, including low-income individuals and families, domestic violence survivors and people 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 learn 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 reach than the FPA; In 2021, FFP helped nearly 84,000 people in need through financial capability workshops and webinars and provided one-on-one financial planning sessions to over 8,000 individuals.

Engage With Free Online Resources

Free Online Personal Finance Courses

Structured learning approaches in the form of a course can be helpful for really diving into financial concepts and helping you retain what you’ve learned. There’s 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 the basics of credit, how to create a spending and saving plan, and protecting your identity. The course incorporates learning material 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 such as 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.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 Minutes

Free Worksheets

Worksheets are great tools that can help you visualize your current financial situation and what you hope for it to look like in the future. Examples of helpful worksheets include:

By printing out these worksheets and filling them in, you’ll actively think about what small changes or goals you need to make now to meet 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 various 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) that 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 titled “Navigating Your Financial Roadmap.” The workbook walks you through the concepts of financial planning and provides worksheets to help you make a current and future spending plan, offers tips on how to restore your credit and provides help with making a debt management plan.

bottom line

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

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