MoneyLife

Where Can I Get Free Financial Advice? (That Can Actually Work!)

By Jacinta Sherris

Is there such a thing as free financial advice? You may think that quality financial advice is only available for a premium fee, but this isn’t true anymore. The digital world has unleashed a ton of resources for little to no cost. 

Some paid services might provide more personalized and individualized advice, however, you might be surprised by how in-depth and helpful free resources can be. Here’s our guide on ways to get quality financial guidance – especially free financial advice. 

How much does an in-person financial advisor typically charge?

Most people think they need to sit down with a professional financial advisor in order to get sound advice. It’s true that in-person financial advisors can be incredibly helpful in pinpointing your goals and developing an investment plan. However, their services are not free and may not make sense for everyone’s budget. Financial advisors are usually paid in one or more of the following ways. 

Flat fee

Some financial advisors may charge you a one-off flat fee to help you create a financial plan. This will evaluate your cash flow, your debt obligations, current savings, savings goals, investments, and more. The range a financial advisor can charge anywhere can range greatly but an average can from $1,000 and upwards of $3,000 (or more!) per year depending on their practice. 

Commission

Some advisors receive a commission when you buy the investment products they recommend. This can range anywhere from 2% to 6% of the price of the investments. Some investors frown upon advisors that charge commissions because they’re not always seen as having their clients’ best interests at heart. 

Hourly rate

Instead of a flat fee, some advisors will charge an hourly rate for offering advice and drawing up a financial plan. This can be anywhere from $100 to $400 an hour. Depending on how much personalized expertise you need, your total cost can reach thousands of dollars.

AUM fee

Many advisors charge an assets under management (AUM) fee . This is an annual fee based on a percentage of the total value of your investments. Generally, the greater valued investments you have, the lower your AUM fee will be. Most AUM fees range from 0.25% to 1% a year. Usually, this fee includes ongoing portfolio management and may or may not include help with financial planning

Tap into your existing bank or credit union

Some banks and credit unions offer free financial advice for customers. This can be online courses, blog posts, classes, or even one-on-one personalized sessions. Get in touch with your bank or credit union to ask about the services they offer. 

Government financial services 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers free financial advice through its website. If you’re a government employee or military personal, you may be able to access additional resources through your employer.

COVID pro-bono financial advisors

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on millions of people’s finances – and not always for the better. The good news is that a host of financial resources, many of which are low-cost, have come about as a result of the pandemic. Here are our top favorites:

XYplanningnetwork 

XY Planning Network helps you find a financial advisor on your terms. You can search advisors by specialties, location, and more. 

The National Association of Personal Finance Advisors

The National Association of Personal Finance Advisors is a great place to search for financial advisors. Their website also offers plenty of free financial advice and consumer resources. Make sure to check out their blog, FiGuide, where top advisors regularly contribute. 

Financial Planning Association

The FPA is offering financial advice to individuals and families on a pro-bono basis. They have plenty of advisors in their database ready to offer guidance and personalized help during this time. 

Foundation for Financial Planning

The Foundation for Financial Planning is pairing up Americans with financial advisors on a pro-bono basis. The organization also offers emergency grants and maintains an online resource center with free financial advice. 

Credit counseling services 

If you’re struggling with credit card debt, credit counseling services can negotiate and settle your debt on your behalf and even help you create a debt repayment plan. They also offer personalized, free financial advice to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt. 

However, these services are only available to people with credit card debt and may come with certain restrictions. In some cases, you may have “settled” marks appear on your credit report. 

Robo advisor 

Robo-advisors can combine the best of human financial advisor expertise with technology. Robo-advisors offer financial advice and personalized recommendations based on data and mathematical formulas. The fees associated with robo-advisors can range dramatically. Some may charge as little as $1/month or as much as 1% of your total investments a year. 

Meet your financial planning goals with MoneyLion

MoneyLion offers fully managed portfolios and a host of free financial advice resources. Our investment account is similar to a robo-advisor – minus the pricey fees. There’s a monthly administration fee but no minimum investment requirement and no management fees. 

Financial planning resources 

MoneyLion maintains a blog full of free financial planning resources and advice. You can get

help on everything from budgeting, investing, banking tips, and more. It’s updated regularly so you can be in the know on the latest financial happenings. 

Financial Heartbeat

Financial Heartbeat® is the state-of-the-art financial tracking tool available in the MoneyLion app. It tracks the 4 most important areas of financial health – your savings, spending habits, insurance needs, and credit score. 

Expert investing advice

For only $1/month you can access MoneyLion’s fully managed investment portfolios built in accordance with expert advice from Wilshire Associates. You can choose and customize your investment portfolio based on your risk level, financial goals, and different themes. 

Credit building tools

With a Credit Builder Loan from MoneyLion, you’ll be able to access a low-cost loan without a hard credit check.1 As you pay back your loan, you can watch your credit score take a boost!2 Learn more about MoneyLion’s credit building tools here

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