Having a financial advisor can be helpful for managing your money and planning for retirement or paying for college tuition. However, financial advisors can also come at a high cost, and you may not be sure if the costs outweigh the benefits. Luckily, there are many different sources of cheap or free financial advice available to you. No matter what kind of advice you are looking for, you will find multiple options for your financial needs in this article.
Use Resources from Financial Institutions
Many free resources are available to you, waiting to be tapped into. Look into these three options first for cheap or free advice financial advice:
If you have not sat down with a banker at your personal bank, that is likely the best place to start. A banker can give you the same advice that you would receive from a financial advisor. The bank wants to keep its customers happy and keep money flowing into your account. Let a banker know what your financial goals are, and they will be able to provide advice on how much to save and provide some investing advice for where you can put your money.
If you are growing your family, looking to buy a house, or just trying to save more money, a banker is an easy, free resource to tap into. They will give you an idea of how much to save for your situation and how much money you would need in order to apply for a mortgage or a loan.
If you have a retirement plan with your employer, there are likely many tools you can use to fully understand your investments and how to manage them. Look for a financial well-being program from your employer and tools to help determine what your 401(k) will look like down the road depending on different contribution amounts.
If you already have money in a brokerage account, there are likely many different resources at your disposal beyond whoever manages the account. Some brokerages, such as TD Ameritrade, offer free online courses to further educate yourself on financial matters and how you can put your money to work for you. If you are interested in seeing what they offer, click here for more information.
Use a Pro Bono Advisor
If you are facing challenging times with your finances, you may have multiple options available to help you for free. Check the Foundation for Financial Planning. There, you can find many resources, such as links to nonprofits that can provide credit counseling and other services for free.
A great nonprofit resource you should definitely take a look at is the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. At NFCC.org, you can find a wide variety of helpful resources and can talk to people for free for financial advice.
Use a Robo-Advisor
It may not sound like the best option to work with an advisor that is based on artificial intelligence, but the majority of the trades on the modern stock market are done with AI-based computer models. A robo-advisor is not free, but it can also be a less expensive option that is easier to manage and more hands-on than a typical financial advisor.
A robo-advisor is more than just a program. It is a full-service digital platform that allows you to adjust your financial goals and risk tolerance by providing a variety of options for customization.
Here are some of the best robo-advisors to work with:
- M1 Finance
- Personal Capital
- Interactive Advisors
While the term “robo-advisor” may give the impression that there is no human contact, that is not always the case. When you want to discuss specific questions or options with a real human, most of these services will have a specific person assigned to your account to provide support.
Many of the options above also offer free apps for tracking your money and managing your finances. Here is a list of the five best free money-management apps. These apps can help you do all of the following:
- Track your credit score
- See your spending by category
- Easily create savings goals
- Automate your savings
- Track your cash flow
- Track your net worth
Listen to Personal Finance Podcasts
Podcasts can be an incredible source of knowledge, and financial podcasts are no different. One of the best parts about learning from podcasts, other than being free, is the convenience of consumption. You can throw on a podcast on your daily commute, while you make a meal, or while you are taking a shower. Find a podcast you enjoy, and it can become your daily financial planning session.
If you want to be sure that the podcaster can provide professional advice, look out for their certifications in their bio. A CFP is a certified financial professional, while a CPA is a certified public accountant. Here’s a list of some of the more popular podcasts for finances:
- The Dave Ramsey Show
- So Money
- Staking Benjamins
- Planet Money
- Money for the Rest of Us
Free Online Advice
The internet is dripping with free financial advice. Look no further than this website! While the internet can’t tell you what stock to buy and when to sell it, most of your financial questions can be answered by a simple search online.
Even Facebook can be a free resource for financial advice. While the opinions on Facebook groups are not professional, they can still provide useful life experiences and advice. One group, the Dave Ramsey Budgeting group, has over 160,000 members. The AARP also has a page full of resources and tips on their Financial Freedom Website.