There comes a time in all of our lives where we need a little guidance – and as difficult as it may be to ask for help, I’m so thankful for the abundance of resources that I have when it comes to all things finance.
Resource: Parents and Family Members
When responsibility is important to you, and you believe that big decisions should only be shared with people you absolutely trust – you go to people you trust the most.
Recent studies have found that 49% of Millennials turn to their parents for financial advice. It’s not hard to see why—family members have a trust factor that just can’t be rivaled by any financial institution. They’ve known you literally forever and they truly have your best interests at heart. They’re familiar and accessible and, since they’ve guided you through most aspects of life, it makes sense that they guide you through your finances too.
Resource: Financial Advisor or Financial Planner
When you value expertise in decision-making, and you’re not afraid to ask for help from a professional – you seek out the experts.
Whether you consult with an advisor at your financial institution or hire an advisor independently, it’s hard to top the results you get from working with a dedicated professional. Having an expert assess your financial situation and design a plan for you is an extremely powerful tool because they can recommend products, services and strategies that you might never have come across on your own.
Many adults shy away from this advice source because as helpful as a financial advisor can be, reaching out to one can be intimidating if you’re used to your finances being a very private matter. Using some other resources on this list to gather information before meeting with a planner can help you feel in control and better prepared.
Resource: Personal Finance Blogs/Online Forums
If you value privacy when it comes to your finances, and you know that research is critical before making any important decisions – you start your research online.
It’s fast, it’s specific and it’s private—the Internet is great for financial guidance. Some helpful online resources include your credit union’s website, personal finance blogs geared toward your life stage, personal finance sections on news sites, and FAQ sections or forums on popular financial websites.
When you use the Internet as your go-to information source, it’s up to you to sift through all the sites and articles to find the content that’s most relevant to you. Getting a second opinion (or better yet, a professional opinion) on a topic you’ve been researching is a great way to get more comprehensive advice.
Resource: Friends and Peers
Friends and other peers can be a good place to get financial advice—they’re typically in the same age range, they may be facing some of the same financial challenges or situations as you, and they might be easier to talk to than your family. They’re believable role models and can serve as good examples of what certain products, services or financial habits look like in practice.
Apps can be valuable for efficiency and help you improve and upgrade daily tasks.
Personal finance apps are wonderful resources because they’re often better at slotting into our busy schedules than some of the more traditional approaches to learning about personal finance. Why bother researching different budgeting systems when a comprehensive budgeting app is just a 99-cent-download away? Convenient and well-designed apps that fill a real need can actually lead you to pay more attention to how you manage your money.
Also consider how your credit union can help you further your financial knowledge. If you were to draw a diagram of your financial advice sources, your credit union would sit quite comfortably in the middle. It may not be related to you, but your credit union does have your best interests in mind as a member-owner. Your credit union can also provide you with current, professional advice and can give you access to all sorts of additional resources—both online and in person. It’s worth checking out!