How to Find a Financial Advisor

“Finding your next financial advisor is as easy as counting from one to five.  You just need to know where to look and what to ask.”

The information in this article is provided by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and was developed to help people find a financial advisor.  Specific suggestions include

  1. Before beginning a search for a financial advisor, have a conversation with your loved ones to determine what is important, what you value, and what you want to accomplish.
  2. To develop a list of potential advisors, talk to friends and relatives and visit websites like http://www.napfa.org.
  3. Narrow your list to the top three contenders then do your homework. Visit company websites and read each advisors biographical sketch, check information available on the SEC website (www.sec.gov), and develop a list of questions that you want to ask when you meet each advisor.
  4. Request a meeting with each potential advisor. Ask questions to help assess your comfort level with each advisor.  For help, visit the NAPFA website (www.napfa.org) and click on “Tips and Tools.”
  5. Often the key to building a relationship with a financial advisor is communication. Review your relationship with a financial advisor over time.  Don’t just look at investment results, but also determine if the advisor (and her or his firm) is helping you achieve your important goals.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Remind students that it is better to start financial planning earlier rather than later in life.
  • Stress that even beginning investors or investors with little money can still use a financial advisor.
  • Encourage students to visit the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors website (www.napfa.org). There is a great deal of quality information available with a click of a mouse.

Discussion Questions

  1. Often, the first step when choosing a financial advisor begins before you actually meet a potential advisor. How can determining your goals and what you value help you start financial planning?
  2. While many investors think that financial advisors are only for the rich, beginning investing or investors with little money can benefit from professional help. What steps can you take to find the right financial advisor to help you obtain your goals?

Paying for College

It’s more important than ever for students and former students to make smart decisions about financing their college education.  Whether you are attending college soon, are a current student, or already have student loans, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has put together some tools and resources to help you make the best decisions for you.

If you are considering student loans to help pay for school, you not alone—many students need loans to cover their full cost of attendance.  If you have to take out student loans, comparing your options can help you find the student loan best suited for your needs.

Consumer financial Protection Bureau has prepared student financial guides, financial aid shopping sheet adopted by more than 500 colleges and universities, and other helpful information on its website.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog and the original sources to

  • Help students appreciate that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau overseas private lenders, debt collectors, and loan services that manage borrowers’ payments and billings.
  • Describe why one-in-four student loan borrowers are past due or in default on a student loan.

Discussion Questions

  1. When borrowers default on a student loan, what might be some adverse consequences on their credit?
  2. Do you believe the student loan market lacks consistent standards that cover the servicing of all private and federal student loans?
  3. What can the federal and state governments to protect consumers in this market?

Beware of Illegal Student Debt Relief Schemes

In March 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requested a federal court to shut down a student debt relief company that charged borrowers millions of dollars in illegal upfront fees and for federal student loan services.  The court order would also require the company, Student Loan Processing.US, to pay refunds to thousands of harmed consumers and civil money penalty.  If the proposed judgement is entered by the court, the company must:

  • Shut down illegal operations: Student Loan Processing.US must shut down all operations within 45 days of the entry of the court’s judgement.
  • Cancel all contracts with consumers and stop charging them.
  • Pay consumer refunds.
  • Stop participating in the debt relief and student loan industries.
  • Ensure student loan borrowers do not miss important repayment benefits.
  • Pay a civil penalty.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

Discussion Questions

  1. How can you protect yourself from companies engaged in deceptive marketing practices, or otherwise violate federal consumer protection laws?
  2. Is it possible for government agencies to permanently shut down companies that defraud consumers?

Attention College Students: Student Loans, Debit and Prepaid Cards

College students often make financial decisions that can have consequences for years.  Getting a student loan or credit cards can influence long-term financial success.  Here are the ways to strengthen your decision-making skills:

  1. Do your research before applying for a student loan. If you have to borrow to pay for some or all of a college education, review the different types of student loans.  Choose one that’s low-cost and has a flexible repayment terms, which will generally be a federal student loan.
  2. Understand the pros, cons and costs of debit and prepaid cards. Debit cards enable you to withdraw money from your checking accounts for purchases or cash.  Prepaid cards are used to access money that has been loaded (added) onto the card, which is not connected to a bank account.
  3. Use credit cards responsibly: While credit cards are a convenient way to establish a credit history, they can make it easier to spend money. Purchases that cannot be paid in full by the due date will incur interest

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they have an outstanding student loan. Was the process of financing an education daunting and time consuming?
  • Ask students to visit the College Affordability and Transparency Center website (collegecost.ed.gov) for choosing the financial aid package that best suits their needs.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important that you find the most affordable education that fits your budget, future career, and long-term financial goals?
  2. What might be the benefits of understanding the pros, cons, and costs of debit and prepaid cards?
  3. Are school-affiliated cards the best deal for all students? Why or why not?

Get Help to Make Informed Financial Decisions About How to Pay For College

It’s more important than ever for students and former students to make smart decisions about financing their college education.  Whether you are attending college soon, are a current student, or already have student loans, here are some tools and resources to help you make the best decisions for you.

For many people, how to pay for a college education is one of the first major financial decisions they’ll make.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published excellent guides on paying for college. These guides cover some of the big decisions you’ll face and will help you understand your options for financing your college education.

If you’re considering student loans to help pay for school, you’re not alone—many students need loans to cover their full cost of attendance.  If you have to take out a student loans, comparing your options can help you find the student loan best suited for your needs.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they applied for a student loan. What steps did they take to successfully obtain a loan?
  • Ask students to prepare a list of several federal and state sources of student loans for college.
  • Ask students if they had any problems in filling the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. How was the problem resolved?

Discussion Questions

  1. If a student is eligible for a federal loan, why is it important to take subsidized loans first?
  2. If you have to borrow money for school, what are your options?
  3. What should you consider when shopping for a private loan?

The New Grad’s Guide to Student Loan Debt

“Finishing college is surely cause to celebrate—but it is also time for some hard realities to hit.” 

This article provides information about what happens after graduation and you have to start paying back student loans.  Specific information includes:

  1. When you will start making payments
  2. How much you will pay and which repayment option to consider
  3. How to make your payments
  4. What happens if you want to change your repayment plan
  5. The importance of making a budget that includes your loan payments.

Note:  There are also links to a “very informative” video and additional articles at the bottom of this article that provide even more information about student loans and what happens if you don’t make payments.  Definitely worth a click.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Help students understand that student loans are one way to finance their education, but loans should not be considered free money that doesn’t have to be repaid.
  • Illustrate what can happen if student loans are not paid back.

Discussion Questions

  1. Many students obtain student loans to help pay for their college education. Are there other options that can be used to pay for college?
  2. Assuming that you decide a student loan is the best way to obtain the money you need to pay for college, what steps can you take to understand the conditions of the loan agreement that you will sign in order to obtain the loan money?
  3. What happens when someone finishes college, but doesn’t make the student loan payments that are required?