Hello, I’m a freelance writer working on an article for a consumer-focused newsletter for State Farm which will go to a nationwide audience of 250,000+ people. We are doing some articles on financial advice, and I’d love to hear from CFPs, CPAs, financial advisors, financial coaches or credit counselors, as long as they have no specific banking or insurance affiliations. (Sorry, we cannot include quotes from State Farm competitors.) I’m working on a couple of articles about “Financial Basics You Might Have Missed” and “Big Questions” affecting your career and financial decisions. We want this to be fun, light-hearted (but still informative) – good, consumer-focused financial advice that is conversational and approachable, kind of like Suze Orman or the financial advice you’d see in “Real Simple” magazine – that kind of overall tone. Here are the questions I’d like to cover in these two different articles – please reply in writing via email, and we can follow up by phone if needed! Financial Basics: 1. What is the right way to check your credit score? (I’m going to mention AnnualCreditReport.com, the free government-run annual credit report site) How can you understand the difference between a credit score and a credit report? 2. How can people avoid overdrafts? (For example, set up account alerts with their bank? Use apps to track spending and account balances? Which apps do you recommend?) 3. How can people avoid paying interest on credit cards/minimize their interest payments? This could be a two-part answer – how can you avoid paying interest by paying bills on time, etc. and also how can you minimize total interest charges if you’re trying to pay off credit card debt – by using balance transfers, etc.? 4. How can people make sure they pay their bills on time? (Again – any tools or bill pay apps that you recommend for this?) 5. How to write a check? This is a simple question but just in case…do you have any colorful examples/advice/ideas about “why we write checks” or reasons why checks have to be written the way they are written? In the age of online bill pay, is check-writing becoming a lost art? Advice for Big Questions: We need fun “lifestyle”-oriented financial advice on the following questions…these are big Life Decisions that people might be weighing, and we want to give them some insights to help shape their decision making to make a good choice: 1. Should I go back to school? (Maybe talk about concerns of how much more student loan debt do you want to take on vs. how much future earning power you might have in the new career? How do people weigh this choice from a financial perspective?) 2. Should I buy a house? (Talk about overall concerns re: renting vs. buying – how do you decide when the time is right to buy a house? What is the typical timeframe/”minimum” years where it’s a good idea to buy if you expect to stay put for a certain amount of time?) 3. Should I switch jobs? (How do people decide whether a new career is a “good move,” aside from the immediate difference in salary and benefits?) 4. Should I save a few extra dollars or put it toward debt? 5. Should I take that opportunity for a trip and have fun? For questions 4 and 5, I want to answer these in the style of Suze Orman’s show feature where people ask her for permission to buy something, I think it’s called “Can I afford it?” We could frame the discussion in terms of, “can you afford to take a trip, and how do you know?” Like, is your overall financial plan on track, are you out of credit card debt, are you saving for retirement, etc.? Thanks for reading! I think this will hopefully be a fun topic and I look forward to everyone’s replies. Thanks! Ben Gran Requirements: U.S.-based CPAs, CFPs, financial advisors, financial coaches, consumer credit counselors – anyone who helps people with financial advice who is NOT affiliated with a specific bank or insurance company My deadline is Tuesday, March 6 – need to get all the quotes done by mid-day Tuesday.