When I was trying to pay off my student loans in three years, I looked for financial advice in every avenue I could think of. I posted on Reddit forums, asked my parents and talked to my friends.
I really wanted to talk to a professional financial advisor, but I couldn’t justify spending a few hundred dollars on advice. I was trying to be frugal and limit my discretionary spending, and that included financial planning.
Thankfully, I was able to find a lot of free and affordable help. Even now when I have a financial question, I turn to my trusty resources before I pay for someone’s help. Read below to see my favorite picks for free financial resources.
Financial Planning Days
When I was paying off my student loans and struggling to save for retirement, I found help at Financial Planning Days, an annual event that connects financial planners and the general public.
Located in more than a dozen cities around the country, Financial Planning Days recruits planners who volunteer their time for free. They also offer themed lectures, such as “20 Keys to Being a Smarter Investor” and “Planning for the Costs of Higher Education.”
Unfortunately, this event isn’t available in every city. If your town does offer it, make sure to register in advance and bring a list of your specific questions.
One of the primary goals of United Way is to empower people financially by working with volunteer experts who can offer tips or classes on financial wellness, career training or job hunting in the communities they serve. Many local United Way chapters teach financial education, credit counseling and more. These centers often have resources in both English and Spanish and are low-cost or free.
One of the best places to find free financial resources is the library. Most libraries are stocked with personal finance books written by industry professionals ranging from Dave Ramsey to Farnoosh Torabi. If your library doesn’t have the title you’re looking for, put a request in.
These books can give you a basic financial education and answer everything from how to create a budget to how to pay off debt. You can also find books on complex subjects like how to buy a rental property and how to start investing for your retirement.
Libraries also often have free workshops and seminars. For example, my local branch at the Denver Public Library hosts a Financial Resilience Workshop to discuss Social Security benefits. Many libraries also offer free tax help in the spring.
Personal Finance Blogs
If you’re reading this article, you’ve already discovered one way to improve your financial literacy: reading blogs. There are tons of financial blogs out there that talk about side hustles, starting a business, paying off debt and more. Some cater to particular audiences such as Christian families or single women.
Here are some great resources to find the personal finance blog that’s right for you:
- Rockstar Finance Blog Directory
- Modest Money Top Finance Blogs
- Wise Bread’s 100 Top Personal Finance Blogs
Whether you want to pass time during your daily commute or just prefer listening instead of reading advice, financial podcasts tend to pack a lot of value into their segments with stories and interviews that personalize money matters. The Zing Blog has compiled a list of financial podcasts that are worth your time for general advice and information on how evolving technology is improving the finance industry.
What to Know
Most of these resources won’t be able to tell you which investments to choose or how to retire in 10 years. If you truly want your specific questions answered, a financial advisor or coach might be your best resource. But if you’re like me and looking to see what other people are saying, then you should check out what we’ve listed here.
I learned how to budget, pay off my loans and start saving for retirement by utilizing some of the services listed above. Yes, a financial advisor can help you, but if you’re looking for free help, it’s out there, too.
What are your affordable go-to resources when it comes to your finances? Let us know in the comments below!
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