When You Need a Financial Expert and When You Don’t

Should you DIY?

financial planning

When I started the Certified Financial Planner training program, I believed a reasonably intelligent woman could handle her own finances without hiring help.

By the end of the program, I'd hired a tax pro and an insurance agent. Within a few years, I added an estate planning attorney to the mix. Most recently, I hired a fee-only CFP to help whip our investment portfolio into shape. In short, the more I know, the more I realize I don't know.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford financial advice. But in many cases, hiring help can be a smart investment. Here's a guide to when you should find a pro, and when you can do-it-yourself.

Credit repair: DIY

Credit repair scams are a continual headache for the Federal Trade Commission, which warns people not to pay any firm upfront or engage any company that promises to create a new identity for you (that's fraud, btw). Legitimate credit repair companies exist, but they can't do anything for you that you can't do for yourself.

The FTC has good information on its site about how to do your own credit repair. If you're having problems managing your money or dealing with debt, consider contacting a reputable credit counselor. You can visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or check out the U.S. Department of Justice's list of approved counselors.

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Tagged in: Liz Weston