The recent financial crisis introduced phrases like "housing bubble" and "Ponzi scheme" to the lexicons of millions of millennials.
It's not surprising, then, that many in Gen-Y are cautious about where they seek financial advice. In fact, many millennials may be reluctant to reach out for assistance at all: nearly one in four people born between 1980 and 1989 said they trust "no one" for money advice, according to a recent study by Fidelity Investments. The survey also reveals that almost 40% of respondents regularly worry about their finances.
To help lower that second figure, here's a look at three trustworthy and cost-effective options for advice young people have when facing tough decisions about their hard-earned money.
Turn to family
They raised you, fed you and put clothes on your back. Believe it or not, your parents can also dish out helpful tips on how to manage your money. Whether it was overspending on a credit card or not saving enough cash for retirement, chances are good that your parents made some mistakes in their day. Learning from their experiences - both positive and negative - can help you make better decisions down the road.
"Talking openly about finances can be awkward, but getting over it and having candid conversations with the people you trust most is extremely important," says Bill Hendricks, CEO and co-founder of Common Form, a tax software company.
"My father and brother are two of my most trusted financial advisors and I am one of theirs," Hendricks adds. "My brother and I are partners in a number of investments."
You don't have to tackle the stock market with your next of kin, but initiating a conversation about smart money habits with the people who you know have your best interests at heart can make you a savvier consumer.
Enlist the help of a financial expert
For more complex issues, it may be best to contact a certified financial expert. These experts can help you identify your savings goals, re-evaluate your current spending habits and serve as a second set of eyes on your finances.
The thought of spending the very money that you so desperately want to save on a financial planner may send you running for the hills. Fortunately, you don't always have to break the bank to hear what the experts have to say.
On NerdWallet's Ask an Advisor platform, a team of over 1,000 financial advisors is ready to answer your most pressing money-related questions. Users can typically expect at least one response within 24 hours, free of charge. You can also search past inquiries, which can answer your questions and show that you're not the only one reaching out for help.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the largest nonprofit financial counseling organization in the country, is another valuable resource. From budget worksheets to in-depth guides detailing the steps to becoming a homeowner, the NFCC's resources are as wide-ranging as they are informative.
"For advice and solutions to personal finance concerns, close to 2 million people reach out to an NFCC member agency each year," says Gail Cunningham, chief spokeswoman for the NFCC. "Services our agencies provide include counseling around budget, debt, bankruptcy, housing and student loans."
Visit your credit union's online education center
Because credit unions are nonprofit organizations, any money they make off of their financial products is reinvested into their institutions. This helps them provide more affordable fees on loans and mortgages. It's in every credit union's best interest, therefore, to have members who are knowledgeable about their finances and who don't, for example, default on loans. As a result, many credit unions offer excellent online education centers featuring free tools and loan calculators for members and non-members alike.
Though practicing a certain amount of vigilance can protect your money from fraudsters, there's no need to assume that everyone is out to get you. What's more, trying to tackle every financial problem on your own can just make matters worse. Whether it's perplexing bank fees or tax forms that can turn your hair gray, navigating the occasionally choppy waters of personal finance often requires a bit of help. Fortunately, parents, financial experts and credit unions can provide you with affordable and accessible assistance to help you get back on firm financial footing.