SF Financial Planning Day: Free Financial Advice to the Public – Saturday, Oct. 19

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On Saturday, October 19th, Bay Area residents will have access to free personal consultations from dozens of financial professionals as part of the annual San Francisco Financial Planning Day. The event will be held from 9am-4pm at UC Hastings College of the Law, Snodgrass Hall.

Last year’s event saw over 100 Certified Financial Planners give free financial guidance to a variety of individuals. The free event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association, the Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. For further details on the City of San Francisco’s involvement and interest in this event, we spoke with San Francisco City Treasurer Jose Cisneros.

Financial Planning Day offers local residents one-on-one consultations with financial planners and classroom-style workshops. “We’re trying to encourage smart learning, education and awareness in the public, and events such as this Financial Planning Day are great for that,” said Treasurer Cisneros. “It’s a wonderful event that lets people get help for free on a one-on-one basis to dive in and learn a lot.”

Free Financial Advice (Really!)

Not only is the event free, but attendees also won’t need to worry about a “catch” sneaking up on their wallets. The financial planners volunteering at the event are not allowed to market their own products or services. Instead, the event is designed strictly to help increase financial awareness among San Francisco locals. The workshops will cover a variety of topics ranging from budgeting and investing basics to retirement and home planning.

Although SF Financial Planning Day occurs only once a year, the City of San Francisco has recently introduced several initiatives aimed at promoting financial education in the community during the other 364 days of the year. The San Francisco Smart Money Network is a service that offers many financial resources and services like credit counseling, budgeting, homebuyer programs and more.

Financial Tips for All Ages

In recent years, the City of San Francisco has implemented various programs to focus specifically on increasing youth financial awareness. The Mission SF Financial Community Center focuses on providing greater financial education to youth through resources like a community development credit union, savings accounts for children and various other products for youth. “Financial education for youth is so critically important,” said Cisneros. “It’s important to teach the value of money to youth and show them how to save because who even remembers how to save anymore? There’s a great deal of information on how to spend but not much about how to save.”

Local families are also encouraged to attend Financial Planning Day together to take advantage of the great access to professional resources. Couples or parents can speak with the on-site financial planners about any questions they have, including financial planning inquiries about their children. Cisneros described another city-sponsored program created to foster financial awareness in families and youth: “The City also created another initiative called the “Kindergarten to College” program in the San Francisco Public School District, which helps families create a savings account for their children and get a head start on saving for college tuition. We’re also trying to increase grade level appropriate financial education curriculum to increase awareness in all ages.”

Bringing The “Personal” Back to Finance

Cisneros also remarked on the relationship between personal responsibility and regulatory obligations when it comes to fiscal awareness: “Personal responsibility plays a big role and it’s important to be mindful of the “buyer beware” philosophy. There are many ways to be irresponsible with money, and to come full circle it comes down to education. It falls on us to make sure the education is available to everyone.”

In a world with increasingly complex finances, it’s important to make use of any available resources that can help us make smarter decisions with our money. Financial Planning Day offers a great opportunity for people to enjoy some of these resources, no matter their financial background or situation.

Financial Advisor image via Shutterstock