If you’re just getting started with financial planning and investing, you may not have the funds to hire a professional to help you. But there are ways you can get great financial advice for free.
There is one important factor to keep in mind with free advice though, it’s often times not based on your personal information. The free advice you get is based on generals so you will need to figure out what works best for you. But that doesn’t make the advice any less valuable for your purposes. It’s always good to learn something new; you never know where it might lead.
If you’re looking for free advice and you’re willing to weed out what you need based on the general information you receive, here are a few good places to start:
Meet with a Financial Planner
Some financial planners offer a free consultation if they think you’re in the market for hiring someone. Keep in mind, their advice will be very general because they’ll want you to hire them to do the work.
Many also offer complimentary group classes. They do this as an introductory to their services to try and get at least a few new clients out of each class. Again, the information is general, but there is usually some very good advice offered. Check with a few financial planning firms in your area to see if they have any upcoming classes.
Lastly, the CFP hosts a “financial planning day” where anyone can come and meet with a financial planner for free. The event usually takes place in the fall. Go to Financial Planning Days to find out when and where one will be offered near you.
Visit your retirement plan or brokerage website for financial information. Many, including TD Ameritrade, offer online courses for their customers to learn important financial planning information. If you’re investing through a brokerage firm, take a look at the account management tools they offer on their site. Another great site for free financial planning courses is Udemy.
Sign Up with a Robo-Advisor
Many online financial planning tools offer a variety of financial advice. In many cases, that advise is free. (Sometimes there is a fee so be sure to read the fine print.) You can receive guidance on managing your portfolio, the best investments to reach your goals, and retirement planning.
Read Reputable Financial Sources
Even if you decide to hire a financial advisor, it’s always a good idea to do your own research and keep up with the financial world. You should never put all your faith in someone else to manage your finances. There are a few good sites for keeping up with financial news:
Local Financial Services Programs
Community-based programs are nationwide and offer free financial advice. Search your local area for organizations that offer free programs and check your local community centers and libraries. There are other resources specifically for survivors of domestic violence, active military and veterans, and people who are considered low-income.
If you’re dealing with a significant amount of debt, you may want to consider credit counseling. Visit NFCC to learn about their free counseling programs.
Not being able to afford a financial advisor is no excuse for not getting your finances in order. With so many free resources available, you can at least get started reducing your debt and increasing your income so that you can move towards a better financial future.