Note that the government has paused all repayment on federally held student loans through the end of 2022, with no interest to be charged during that period and no loans to be held delinquent or in default.
* * *
After you’ve determined that you need to enlist the help of a certified financial professional, you could get lost in a sea of expensive options. It can be difficult to know where to find free financial help.
A good way to find free financial consulting services is to look for nonprofit agencies. They’re funded by grants and tend to provide resources for no or lower fees, unlike for-profit groups.
There are also some ways to get free financial services with the help of your community.
Here are four such resources, online and off.
If you’re looking for in-person and free financial planning assistance near you, research Financial Planning Day programs. Some certified financial planners volunteer their time and services through speeches and one-on-one counseling on issues such as:
- Creating and maintaining a budget
- Managing credit and debt
The counselors cover a host of other topics, as well. The event isn’t held on one day only, but on many days throughout the year that best fit the local community.
Find an event near you by visiting the World Financial Planning Day website or contacting your regional financial planners association.
|What would be included in free financial planning assistance? Check out…|
|Real-Life Advice Financial Planners Give Their Clients About Student Debt|
The Financial Planning Day initiative is growing but isn’t available in every state yet. But there are plenty of national agencies that may provide free financial services near you.
- The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) offers assistance on a variety of issues from credit and mortgages to creating a debt management plan. The NFCC is the largest financial counseling organization in the country, operating nationally, and has specialists providing help specifically for your needs.
- The American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) offers free counseling, debt management programs or assistance in paying off credit cards. The agency helps everyone from young adults trying to pay for college to retirees trying to navigate health care issues and independent living. The ACCC operates nationwide, but depending on where you live, there might be different services available.
- The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) provides financial assistance free of charge for people in need. The organization pairs you up with volunteer financial planners to offer help based on your situation. The group provides grants to communities across the country to reach underserved families. It has provided grants in 38 states, and you can check if your state has a recipient of its grants. The FFP also has national programs targeted to help military members and people with cancer.
- Credit.org offers financial education and housing assistance. Some services, like credit and debt counseling, are free. But debt management plans could cost money.
|Struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy?|
|Some fee-based financial advisor groups, such as the XY Planning Network, are offering free financial planning services. You can also explore our COVID-19 information page for more resources.|
Sometimes, national organizations work with local groups to offer free financial planning and counseling.
Try seeking local community help from your…
- Bank or credit union
- Online brokerage or robo-advisor
- College or university campus
- Military base
- Faith-based organization
Just remember that if you seek financial advice as a customer, the advice you receive isn’t 100% objective. At your local financial institution, for example, a banker might tailor their advice to products, nudging you to open a new account or card.
Once you find a worthwhile source of free financial help, ask specific questions, including:
- What services are offered?
- Can you help me make a financial plan?
- Will there be any fees down the road?
Try to find a certified financial advisor or financial planner or certified credit counselors, and ask to see their accreditations before working with them.
Reading about personal finance isn’t the most exciting online pastime, but there’s a wealth of helpful information about handling money – and it’s typically free.
As you’re searching for free financial help online, be wary of websites that aren’t transparent about their sources of information and expertise.
If you’re reading this, you’ve already found the Student Loan Hero blog, led by certified student loan counselors. Search above and to the right for personal finance topics that are troublesome for you, and check out our guides.
For more free financial help, check out our picks for…
- Free personal finance courses
- Best personal finance podcasts
- Most helpful personal finance books (free via your local library)
- Top personal finance accounts on Instagram
If you’re struggling to make ends meet and can’t find a way to get on track on your own, there is help available from a variety of sources.
Financial advisors can help you make important money choices. If you’re behind on bills, you might want to look for a credit counseling or debt management service to get you on track.
While some agencies charge money, others might offer free or discounted services.
And if you’re seeking help specific to higher education costs, consider these resources:
- 5 People to Ask for Free Advice on Paying for College
- 6 People to Ask for Advice on Student Loan Repayment
- Free Student Loan Help For 5 Major Predicaments
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2022!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|7.99% – 23.43%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|4.37% – 35.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|7.46% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $50,000|
|99.00% – 199.00%2||$500 - $4,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%3||$5,000 - $40,000|
|7.99% – 20.88%4||$5,000 - $50,000|
|7.99% – 35.99%5||$2,000 - $36,500|
|10.68% – 35.89%6||$1,000 - $40,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%7||$2,000 - $35,000|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.
Direct Deposit required for payroll.
Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.
3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Happy Money.
Happy Money Disclosures
4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
Applications submitted on this website may be funded by one of several lenders, including: FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered bank, Member FDIC; Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC; Midland States Bank, Member FDIC; and LendingPoint, a licensed lender in certain states. Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 7% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. Loans are offered from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from 7.99% to 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 72 months. Minimum loan amounts apply in Georgia, $3,500; Colorado, $3,001; and Hawaii, $1,500. For a well-qualified customer, a $10,000 loan for a period of 48 months with an APR of 24.34% and origination fee of 7% will have a payment of $327.89 per month. (Actual terms and rate depend on credit history, income, and other factors.) The $15,575.04 total amount due under the loan terms provided as an example in this disclaimer includes the origination fee financed in addition to the loan amount. Customers may have the option to deduct the origination fee from the disbursed loan amount if desired. If the origination fee is added to the financed amount, interest is charged on the full principal amount. The total amount due is the total amount of the loan you will have paid after you have made all payments as scheduled.
6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.
7 Important Disclosures for Avant.
*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.
**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.
Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 – August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.46%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s bank partners. Information on Upgrade’s bank partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/bank-partners/ .