Financial Planning Days start in October, kicking off a series of events all around the country designed to get Americans focused on their long-term financial security.
If you’ve ever wanted to talk to a financial expert about how to improve your financial circumstances, but were worried that it might cost too much, you now have a chance to get free money help from October into early November.
Just go online to FinancialPlanningDays.org. You’ll find a local event in your area where you can talk one-on-one to a financial planner, with no pressure to buy anything or make any commitments.
In fact, all the professionals taking part in local Financial Planning Day events are Certified Financial Planners, who have agreed to volunteer their expertise for the day, not sell any products or services, and not even hand out their business cards or take names.
Instead, they’ll simply provide personalized counseling and advice to individuals who want it, as well as offer financial education to people who attend group financial workshops.
Money topics range from investments, college financing and estate planning to insurance, debt management and dealing with special circumstances, like preparing for divorce, job loss or foreclosure.
Where to Find a Local Financial Planning Day Event
The Financial Planning Days initiative was created by four national non-profit organizations: the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.®, the Financial Planning Association®, the Foundation for Financial Planning, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
These groups combined the collective resources of the financial planning community and city governments nationwide for two purposes: to help the public get quality answers to immediate, pressing financial questions; and to educate Americans about how to achieve their short, medium and long-term financial goals.
According to the Financial Planning Days website, the following U.S. cities and districts will host a Financial Planning Day that is free and open to the public:
- Akron, OH
- Atlanta, GA
- Baltimore, MD
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Huntington Beach, CA
- Indianapolis, IN
- Los Angeles, CA
- Lubbock, TX
- Martinez, CA
- Milwaukee, WI
- Oakland, CA
- Orlando, FL
- Pasadena, CA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Sacramento, CA
- San Antonio, TX
- San Francisco, CA
- San Mateo, CA
- Louis, MO
- Paul, MN
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Washington, D.C.
Over time, I would expect this list of cities to grow tremendously, especially since so many studies and indicators point to the dire economic straits that many Americans face.
Debt and Lack of Savings Hinder Long-Term Financial Planning
For example, 62% of adults in the United States have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, according to a study from GoBankingRates.com. Meanwhile, 29% of adults in America have no emergency savings at all, a separate survey from BankRate.com found.
Additionally, 43 million people nationwide owe student loan debt, which now totals a massive $1.2 trillion, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Unfortunately, nearly 1 in 5 borrowers are severely delinquent in repaying federal college debt, the Department of Education reports. And despite what many people mistakenly think, the student loan crisis isn’t just a young person’s issue, or a problem afflicting 20-something Millennials. In reality, people who are age 30 and older owe two-thirds of student loan balances.
Obviously, anyone who is struggling to repay big debts like student loans, or who can’t manage to sock away short-term savings, is going to find it even tougher to amass money for longer-term goals, like funding a secure retirement.
So it’s little wonder that the retirement savings picture also isn’t good for most people.
The latest figures from the Employee Benefit Research Institute show that 40% of Americans with a retirement plan have less than $25,000 in savings. The outlook is ever more bleak for those without a retirement account, such as an IRA, 401(k) or 403(b) plan. Among individuals with no retirement plan, 90% of them have less than $25,000 in savings.
A Call to Action
All these statistics aren’t meant to scare you or to make you feel bad about where you stand financially. On the contrary, you’d be wise to use this information as motivation to take action now – because no matter what your age, income or current dilemma, you don’t have to wind up as a sad financial statistic.
I know we’re all busy, but don’t procrastinate. Mark you calendar, add this one crucial item to your “To Do” list, and make a point to go and take part in a Financial Planning Day event in your area.
Getting free personalized financial advice, and tackling your fiscal challenges head on, could be a positive first step toward making your financial dreams and goals come true.