When you think about 80s hard rock bands what behavior comes to mind?
Do you picture wild parties with various forms of intoxicants, destroyed
hotel rooms, and police visits, or do you picture quiet and thoughtful
review of financial statements and investing strategies? In the case of
Duff McKagan from Guns'n'Roses, and later Velvet Revolver, it was both.
Duff McKagan did his share of partying. In fact it was his partying that
eventually led to his interest in financial planning. In the early 1990s
McKagan's partying ways were out of control. In their article "Duff
McKagan, Guns N’ Capital", Bloomberg Businessweek writes that McKagan was
drinking a gallon of vodka a day and using cocaine so that he could
continue to drink even more. Eventually his pancreas gave out. McKagan
explained that he was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis and that it
caused third-degree burns on his other internal organs.
Once released from the hospital McKagan spent his time sobering up. During
that time he determined to make positive changes in his life and one of
those changes was taking an interest in reviewing the bands financial records.
His interest grew and he studied financial planning. Along with two
partners, he even started his own investment firm catering directly to
musicians. When asked why his firm would cater to musicians McKagan said
“Some [musicians] don't want to know—but others are kept in the dark, or
are too self-conscious to ask simple questions.”
Just like the musicians McKagan mentioned, asking for help with your
finances can be intimidating to some of us. Sometimes we don't seek help
because we are afraid of the potential cost or even of what people will
think of us. There are many people and resources you can turn to for help
before you run into problems. Here are a few places that can offer free
help with your finances.
1. Your Human Resources Manager.
Your Human Resource Manager is someone who most likely is well versed in
benefits that affect your personal finances, such as medical insurance,
retirement investing and plans, payroll taxes, and employee/workplace
rights. Even if talking to your Human Resources Manager doesn't provide an
answer to your particular problem she may be able to recommend an expert
that can provide free help with your financial question.
2. Your insurance agent.
Insurance agents are required to pass certain licensing tests in order to
demonstrate their knowledge in key insurance areas. However, in addition
to those requirements, many agents are also CFPs or Chartered Financial
Planners. That means they have also demonstrated a professional level of
knowledge in financial planning and investing. Perhaps the agent through
whom you purchase your car or home owners insurance has one of these
designations. As one of their insurance clients don't hesitate to ask them
for free help with your other financial concerns.
3. Seminars conducted by your bank or credit union.
Many banks and credit unions will host seminars that offer free help with
finances as a service to their customers and the community. These free
seminars will typically be conducted by a banking or finance professional
and cover topics such as investing, retirement, mortgages, etc. These is a
great opportunity to both increase your own knowledge in a particular area
of finance as well as meet an expert and ask for advice regarding your own
related questions. Similarly, it doesn't hurt to ask your bank if there is
someone you can talk to at the bank's office.