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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 2, 2007 / 18 Menachem-Av, 5767

Advice is free, if you look

By Vicki Lee Parker


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Would you like some free financial planning advice?

Call your credit union, insurer or bank.

Many of these businesses have financial specialists who help customers set retirement goals, manage assets, consolidate debt and understand basic financial matters - all for free. And it's not just a one-time deal. Some companies will provide free consultation for as long as you like.

"We will work with you anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 years," said Doug E. Robertson, agency owner of Allstate Insurance in Raleigh, N.C.

As competition among financial institutions and insurance companies intensifies, more companies are trying to attract customers by offering free one-on-one financial counseling.

The problem is that few people know these services are available, or they worry that there will be a catch.

"Most people are hesitant to ask for help," said Kirby Parrish, senior vice president at the North Carolina State Employee Credit Union in Raleigh. "They think everyone has got an angle."

Of course, they usually do. Financial institutions want your business - and your money.

If you're the type of person who will feel pressured to buy something or invest money simply because you got some free advice, these consultations probably aren't for you.

Even savvy consumers should be ready to fend off the hard sell. You don't want to get pressured into moving your money into an account or buying an annuity before you have a chance to research it.

If the salesperson turns up the heat, just say you need time to think it over. If you have a hard time telling someone "no" face to face, ask whether a phone consultation is possible.

But if you go in with the right mind-set, the advice can be valuable. You can learn more about financial terms and products, find out about new options and compare information from different companies to determine what's best for you.

Parrish said the State Employee Credit Union, which has about 1.3 million members, has been offering free financial counseling for about two years. In April, it expanded its program to include brokerage services. And the State Employee Credit Union is a nonprofit organization: Its employees are paid the same, no matter what the customer does.

In some cases, you don't have to be a customer to meet with an adviser.

Christine Shaw, a spokeswoman for Wachovia, said people looking for a new bank are encouraged to meet with its financial expert.

On Tuesday, I met for more than an hour with a financial specialist at Robertson's Allstate office. Sure, she told me about products the company offers, but the majority of the conversation dealt with my financial planning needs. I got some great tips, and she gave me other contacts to help me with financial needs that are outside her area of expertise.

To get the most out of these meetings, it's best to go in armed with questions. Chances are you'll find that people are just as serious about helping you improve your finances as they are about selling you something.

"It's obvious that someone would like for you to buy their services," said Janet Fox-Kreielsheimer, a financial consultant and broker with ACH Investment Group of Raleigh, who doesn't charge for an initial consultation.

Fox-Kreielsheimer recommends that people take advantage of as many of these free consultations as possible. "If someone does not indicate that they offer the initial consultation at no charge, you probably don't want to work with them," she said.

To get the most out of your free sessions:

  • Be honest about your financial situation. That's the only way to get honest feedback.

  • Don't hold back. Ask as many questions as they will let you. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience.

  • Interview the adviser. Ask how long the company has been in business, how advisers are paid, whether they sell their own products and other questions.

  • Avoid on-the-spot decisions. If you feel pressured to buy something, walk out.

And remember that sometimes, the best things in life are indeed free.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Vicki Lee Parker is a columnist for The News & Observer. Comment by clicking here.

Previously:

Hire a cleaner who won't clean you out
Teach children smart money tips that will keep them busy all summer long
Warning: Don't trust the ATM
Reasons to beware of ‘We Buy Homes’
Too wise to fall for a scam
Untethering cell phone from carrier
Re-check your credit card rewards
Treasure might be buried in medical bills
Tax-time saving tip: Free filing is available
College money is waiting; don't procrastinate
Extended warranties rarely worthwhile
Too busy for tax planning? It'll cost you


© 2007, The News & Observer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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