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 every one.
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.
Have a debt question?
Email your question to email@example.com and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a CPA, chairman of Debt.com, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.