If you have money questions — and who among us doesn’t right now? — there are plenty of people willing to offer advice: friends, relatives and random strangers on the internet.
Finding someone who knows what they’re talking about, and who isn’t trying to take advantage of you, can be tougher. Fortunately, several groups of credentialed, trustworthy financial advisers are stepping up to offer free help.
Groups such as the Financial Planning Association, the XY Planning Network, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling are among the organizations offering free consultations to help people navigate the pandemic’s economic fallout. You can find links to the programs by either navigating to the organizations’ sites or searching for their names and the phrase “pro bono coronavirus.” (Pro bono means free.)
“There are so many different pieces of information and misinformation,” says Rebecca Wiggins, executive director of the AFCPE, which grants credentials to financial counselors and coaches. “If you’re not working with somebody who really understands the full picture, you could make really bad decisions.”
A HUGE AND GROWING NEED FOR HELP
Nine out of 10 U.S. adults said the coronavirus pandemic had caused them financial stress in an early April survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education. Tens of millions are unemployed, furloughed or struggling with pay cuts, and those numbers are expected to rise. A volatile stock market is hammering retirement funds and other investments.