A reader is skeptical of financial experts — and he has a point.

Question: I got a question I bet you won’t answer. How do I know you and all these other “money experts” are for real? What if you’re just trying to rip me off?

Last year, I asked a question to the Get Out of Debt Guy, and he never got back to me, even though he always says he wants questions. If he never got back to me, I don’t think you will, either. I bet you aren’t even an “expert.”

— Sean Paul in New York

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

Obviously, I am answering your question, but not because you dared me. I’m answering it because, quite honestly, it’s a good question.

I encourage anyone seeking expert help with their money to be wary. One way to verify if a financial counselor is legitimate: See if other credible sources quote him. So for instance, last year I was interviewed by US News and NBC News.

Have they published any well-reviewed books? I have two for sale, Credit Hell and Power Up. Finally, how long have they been a financial expert? I’ve been doing this for more than two decades.

As for my friend Steve Rhode, a.k.a. the Get Out of Debt Guy, I can tell you this: He’s only one man, and he’s incredibly thorough. So when he chooses a question to answer, he spends a lot of time on it. That’s why he can’t get to everyone.

In fact, I asked Steve to explain how he researches the questions he gets. Here’s what he had to say…

The last thing I can tell you, Sean Paul, is to trust your gut. If you read columns and Q&As from the likes of Steve Rhode and myself, do they sound like experts wrote them?

In other words: Do they promise the world, or do they spell out a plan? Do they explain the complex in plain English, or do they simply say, “Trust me?” Don’t trust, Sean Paul. Verify.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC