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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…

Howard Dvorkin on how to get out of debt fastObviously, 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 and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a CPA, chairman of, 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.

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Meet the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

CPA and Chairman

Dvorkin is the author of Credit Hell and Power Up and Chairman of

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