4 Ways Retirees Can Get Free or Low-cost Financial Advice
Not every retiree can hire a financial planner, nor is every person in retirement savvy about managing their finances and investments. This can be troublesome in an era where people live longer and have to make their income last. But it turns out there are a lot of free and low-cost ways seniors can get help. From banks to libraries and even on the internet, here’s a look at four ways retirees can get financial advice without spending a lot of money. (For more, see:Financial Planning: It’s About More Than Money .)
Some Banks Have No Fee Financial Advisors
Take your local bank for starters. A lot of financial institutions will provide their customers with financial advisors that don’t charge you anything. These individuals make money from the commissions they get for selling you products, but they also go over your current and past financial situation, taking into account your goals for the future. Sure, they may try to steer you into specific products, but you don’t have to purchase them. What’s more, they usually have your best interests in mind since they make money off of you growing your nest egg. (For related reading, see:Do You Need a Financial Advisor? )
AARP Provides Free Tax Preparation for Seniors
Managing money in retirement also means retirees have to be mindful of the tax consequences of their investments and drawdowns, making preparing taxes each year a bit more complicated. A tax preparer well versed in retirement issues may cost a lot, but AARP has a free service for anyone 50 and older who can’t afford to pay someone to do their taxes. Called the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, AARP sets up in more than 5,000 locations in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers. Through this service retirees get their taxes done for free and don’t have to worry about a sales pitch in the process. (For more, see also:Top Tax Tips for Retirees .)
Library Seminars and Events Can Help Seniors With Finances
For many seniors, particularly ones on a budget, the local library, senior center or community center can be a treasure trove of free financial advice. Many libraries around the country host
seminars for seniors focused on financial topics, whether it’s retirement planning or tax preparation. Those events are often free or low-cost events, providing seniors with tips and advice to manage their finances. Take the New York Public Library for one example. In partnership with the Financial Planning Association of NY, seniors can sign up for a free session with a financial counselor who will answer questions about personal money matters. The sessions are 30 minutes long, and people are encouraged to bring any financial documents that are relevant to their question or questions. Meanwhile, the Chicago Public Library last year hosted its 14th Annual Money Smart Week, which included free financial literacy seminars and workshops.
Websites Offer Low-Cost Advice
The internet has changed the way we do pretty much everything, and that is also true of financial advice. Thanks to robo-advisors and low-cost online financial advisors, seniors can get access to customized retirement plans, investment strategies and advice without paying a lot for it. Take LearnVest, the New York-based online financial planner for example. It charges a one-time setup fee of $299 and then $19 a month. In return, seniors get a dedicated financial planner available 24/7, a customized financial plan and online tools and classes to help customers with their financial questions. (For more, see also:Are You Getting the Best Retirement Advice? )
Betterment, also out of New York, is another online financial advisor that charges cut-throat prices for advice. For example, seniors with account balances of $10,000 or less pay 0.35% a month with a minimum $100 deposit each month and $3 a month without the deposit. The fee decrease to 0.25% for account balances between $10,000 and $100,000 and 0.15% for balances over $100,000. Meanwhile, Investopedia has its new Advisor Insights platform, which is a network of financial advisors who answers questions from the online community for free.
The Bottom Line
Investing can seem overwhelming and scary, especially for people in retirement. And while financial planners have long been reserved for the wealthy that is no longer the case. There is a lot of free and low-cost help retirees can tap whether they prefer to receive it in-person or online.