While most Americans aged 55 and up have better control over their finances and have more manageable levels of debt than a Millennial, they are also in their peak earning years and likely have most of their mortgage paid off, said Charles Sizemore, a portfolio manager on Covestor, the online marketplace for investing with offices in Boston and London.
"By age 55, you have already made most of life's expensive, debt-financed purchases," he said. "That same baby boomer that has his or her act together today was probably a fiscal mess 30 years ago when they had just started their careers and made very little money."
Financial planners provide objective advice for many people, but parents can also give valuable advice, Sizemore said.
"Age comes experience," he said. "There is no substituting the advice of a good financial planner, but a parent who has diligently saved for retirement and "knows the ropes" of which savings vehicles to use such as IRAs and Roth IRAs can be an excellent source of information."
In a recent survey conducted by Discover, women said the top three things their mothers taught them to do was pay their bills on time, spending within your means and saving for a rainy day.
Combining advice from several sources may be your best option, said Mike Chadwick, CEO of Chadwick Financial Advisors in Unionville, Conn.
"I think it is beneficial to tap into all of one's sources, such as a friend, parent, teacher, advisor and the web," he said. "I do this all the time to either confirm information or find potential contradictions which can put to bed any possible misinformation."
Receiving information from another perspective is helpful since your financial situation could vary greatly from your parents or may not be aware of newer tax laws.
"Parents have a great foundation for helping younger people, but may not be up to speed with today's society, technology and options available," Chadwick said. "They may still view your house as your best investment and they likely grew up in a situation where pensions were very stable. They had less need to develop the tools needed by today's youth. Parents may not be fully up to speed on today's opportunity costs, tax deductions or cash flows."
Consumers who chose to seek advice from a business or organization should do some research before they make a decision such as checking with the Better Business Bureau and the state Attorney General's office, the NFCC said. Another option is to ask your friends or the human resources department at work for recommendations. If you want additional advice, a non-profit NFCC member agency can offer free information.
Some banks such as TD Bank offer free advice even if you are not a customer. TD Bank specialists provide answers ranging from finding the right checking account to more complicated questions like finding ways to reduce debt or buying your first home through TD Helps, an online social forum.
"Consumers' personal finance and banking needs vary widely and it's important to them that their questions are addressed in a timely and accurate manner," said Nandita Bakhshi, head of retail banking at TD Bank, which is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. "TD Helps is an excellent online resource for consumers to ask questions about banking and finances and to receive personalized guidance from knowledgeable specialists within 24 hours."
Many banks provide free advice about budgeting or getting your first mortgage on their websites.
"Money doesn't come with instructions," said John Rosenfeld, head of everyday banking for RBS Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I. "Since banks offer a wide spectrum of products and services from savings to investing to borrowing they are ideally suited to help customers as they seek advice throughout their financial lives."
--Written by Ellen Chang for MainStreet