10 stupid money mistakes

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A reader thinks her husband is crazy to pay for someone to advise them when they have no money.

Question: All of a sudden, my husband wants us to go to a financial adviser. I think he saw a TV commercial or something — he’s the kind of guy who wants to buy kitchen knives after seeing an infomercial.

I said no, I don’t want to pay someone to tell us how to invest our money. And besides, we don’t HAVE any money. We got $7,500 spread out on six credit cards. He’s insisting, and we agreed we’d follow whatever advice you give us, Howard. So who’s right?

— Summer in Pennsylvania

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

Howard Dvorkin on how to get out of debt fastYou’re right, Summer, but not for the best reasons.

Like any other profession, there are good and bad financial advisers. More than that, however, there are right and wrong circumstances for engaging one.

In your case, you don’t need a financial adviser. You need a credit counselor. The former can instruct you on how to invest your money, while the latter can help you get out of debt so you can save money to invest. So you see, it’s about taking the right steps at the right time.

Right now, you need to get out of debt. You’re actually spending money on those high credit-card interest rates that you could be investing in retirement savings or an emergency fund.

Even better, while financial advisers can either charge you directly or make a commission off the investments they point you to, credit counseling is free. You can call’s certified counselors right now at  1-888-472-0365 and receive a free debt analysis. You’ll receive an objective financial snapshot and all the options available to you, whether it’s debt management, debt consolidation, or debt settlement.

Those terms sound alike and can get confusing, so I urge you to click on those links and read up on those options. While this isn’t the most fun you’ll ever have, I can guarantee you this: If you choose the right plan and stick with it, you’ll have a lot more money and fun later.

Then you can decide what to do about financial advising. I’ll even make you a promise, Summer: Get out of the red and into the black, and I’ll tell you all you need to know about finding the perfect investment advice for your situation. Deal?


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

credit counseling, debt management program, financial literacy

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