Free Financial Counseling at Brooklyn Public Library
Do you need help with creating a budget, paying off debt, improving your credit rating, or other aspects of financial planning? The Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library, offers free one-on-one financial counseling sessions at the Central Library. Please call the BSRC at 718.636.6994 for more information and to schedule a meeting.
Creating a Savings Plan
Your first goal in saving should be to create a savings plan, with a specific goal (such as saving money for retirement or college tuition) in mind. The best way to do this is to create a budget, working from your monthly expenses. Determine how much money you are spending on food, rent and other goods and services each month. Decide how much money you would like to save each month, for a 401K, savings account, or IRA, and how much interest that money will grow over time, through interest. Think about which expenses you can reduce or eliminate to live within your means, and how much money you can save from this for your retirement goals.
There are many books, websites and apps (free or not) that can help you draw up a monthly budget. The federal government offers a free budgeting program on their consumer.gov website. Search in our online catalog with the keyword or title "budgeting" to find books in our collection on the subject, which you can borrow with yourt BPL card. The Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a local non-profit organization, offers a free financial counseling session in the Central Library where you can get assistance in creating a budget for your income and expenses. Contact BSRC at 718.636.6994 to make an appointment.
Where to Look for a Financial Advisor
If you want to hire a financial planner to help you create and meet financial goals for your future, make sure that your financial planner is a CFP (certified financial professional), meaning that they have passed the rigorous exam administered by the Certified Planning Board of Standards. The CFP Board's website offers a nationwide database you can use to find a licensed financial planner in your neighborhood (see link to your right).
If you want to hire a financial advisor who can buy and sell financial investments (such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds) for you, or create an individual retirement account for you, be aware that FINRA (The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) offers a nifty database called BrokerCheck. Use BrokerCheck to not only see if your financial advisor or investment firm is registered with the SEC but also to check on their educational background, experience and whether they have any regulatory complaints or disciplinary actions filed against them.