If your personal finances aren't in the best shape, there's no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed. The truth is, most Americans aren't where they want to be financially. Although some people have their money together, there are many who haven't started planning for retirement, and there are those who struggle with high debt and low income. Plenty more live paycheck to paycheck. If money concerns you, you're not alone.
But even if your situation looks bleak today, there are ways to get on the right path. Most of us didn't get Personal Finance 101 in high school or in college. And much of what we know about money management developed over the years through trial and error. But you don't have to tackle this area alone. There are plenty of professionals who know personal finance topics inside and out, and these individuals are more than happy to assist and provide the advice you need.
However, to get this information, you have to ask. On that note, here?s a look at four professionals who can get your money on track.
1. Financial planner
You might feel that a financial planner is out of your league; however, these professionals aren't only for the super rich. In fact, there are financial planners who work with people of all income levels. Whether you're planning for retirement or looking for a way to improve your budget, a financial planner can take a look at your income and make suggestions based on your goals.
And the best part, working with a financial planner is affordable. Some planners charge a fee, whereas others earn a commission depending on the type of service they provide.
2. Life insurance agent
Most people don't want to think about death, but unless you're planning to live an eternity, this is a reality you need to deal with. If you're looking to protect your family long-term, you need to start thinking about life insurance.
This is probably one of the most important policies you could ever buy. The death benefit can cover the cost of your funeral and burial, plus your family can use this money for other purposes, such as paying off the mortgage loan, paying off auto loans and covering a child's future expenses.
A life insurance agent can answer your questions and discuss options available to you, such as a term life policy or a whole life policy which never expires. The rules regarding how much coverage to obtain varies. However, some experts recommend a policy that?s 8 to 10 times your annual salary if you have a family. If you're single with no dependents, you can probably get by on less.
3. Bankruptcy attorney
Understandably, hiring a bankruptcy attorney does not apply to everyone. However, if you owe a mountain of debt with no resources to repay your creditors, a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer might be the ticket to getting your finances on track. After your consultation, the lawyer will offer advice on the best way to proceed. And if you're eligible for bankruptcy, filing paperwork can stop creditor phone calls and lawsuits, eliminate your outstanding balances, and give you a fresh start.
A new beginning can restore peace of mind and empower you to rebuild your credit history.
4. Mortgage lender
Even if you're not ready to submit a mortgage loan application, there's no harm in consulting with a lender to learn your options early. The more you know about the process, the easier it'll be to qualify for financing when you're ready. For example, a mortgage lender can go over the requirements for getting financing, such as the minimum credit score, the minimum down payment, and documentation needed to prove your income.
Additionally, you can ask about various home loan programs, including low-down payment mortgage loans which are suitable for first-time homebuyers.
Since you're not a financial expert, you're not expected to know everything about personal finance. But if you work alongside the right professionals, your knowledge will increase, which gives you the chance to make smart financial choices in the future.