Chapter 22. Getting the Help You Need

Throughout this book we've talked about professional help as being part of the change process, and not the catalyst for change itself. Even if you spend as much as two hours a week with a counselor or therapist, you're still on your own for the remaining 166 hours!

People tend to spend even less time with financial planners—maybe just a few hours a year. That's why it's so important to empower yourself with knowledge about your finances. It's up to you to execute the financial plan—you will be responsible for your actions.

The good news is that it has never been easier to get financial information. There are 24-hour news channels devoted to business and money. Business and personal finance reports have taken on a bigger role in local and national news—particularly since the stock market boom dominated the headlines in the late 1990s. Web sites like SmartMoney.com, MarketWatch.com, and Kiplinger.com keep you updated on the latest financial news, allow you to track your investments, and offer extensive personal financial advice for free.

Still, managing money has become a complicated business. I urge you to get professional financial checkups at least once a year, to help you keep your plan on track. As we've seen, however, there are a lot of forces at work when it comes to your financial behavior. That means you now have to consider the following two factors in your search for professional help with your finances:

  1. The professional's financial background. ...

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