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Seeking Financial Help? Consider these 5 Steps before making a decision.

, by Tom Quinn

Managing your personal finances can be a challenging undertaking for some people.  Lack of time, not being comfortable with money and getting confused by unfamiliar terms and concepts are several reasons why some people avoid making important financial decisions.

If you find yourself in this camp, you are not alone and you may want to consider seeking assistance to help you out.  A wide array and deep set of "self-help" financial management information and tools can be found on the internet or at your local bookstore or public library.  In addition, many organizations (such as churches, local community centers or local bank or credit union branches) periodically offer seminars and programs designed to help people with their financial health questions and objectives. There are also personal coaches who offer fee-based services designed to help people manage their finances.

Each person needs to evaluate their own situation and determine what resources will help them the most.  Whatever option you decide to pursue, take the time to thoroughly research the entity before sharing any personal information about yourself (SSN, address, etc.) or your personal finances (balances in your savings and checking accounts, your assets, etc.).

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has recently come out with guidelines called Five Steps for Making Financial Decisions that may be helpful if you find yourself in this situation.

  1. Stop for a mental break before making a decision.

  2. Ask questions about cost and risk.

  3. Verify and check what you are told.

  4. Estimate your costs.

  5. Decide whether the costs and value are worthwhile for you.

You can learn more about making financial decisions on our Achieving My Goals page.

Tom Quinn

Tom Quinn is the Vice President of Business Development for myFICO and has over 25 years of experience working with consumers, regulators, and lenders regarding credit related questions and initiatives.