Talking about money issues can be hard enough with a partner or spouse, let alone a professional with as much tact and sympathy as Judge Judy.
That's why a free service offered by LSS Financial Counseling in Minnesota is a good, non-judgmental financial gut check. The first step is an online self assessment tool to help financial awareness in borrowing, budgeting, savings, home expenses and retirement.
It takes about 15 minutes. Users gets an immediate look at how they're doing in each area. If a person gets a "green" light for savings, for example, it means continue along the same path. A "yellow" light means proceed with caution and a "red" light means ignore your surroundings and play with your smartphone.
Okay, maybe the red light means something a little more dire like stop and make a change. But no matter the color, there are helpful links to minimize the need to call in a financial judge.
Should you decide to swallow hard and consider talking to a financial counselor, it's still free with one excpeption. If you enter a debt management program, the fee is 9 percent of your monthly payment or $50, whichever is less, said LSS financial counselor Jennifer Kaufmann.
To start the financial self assessment, called MyMoneyCheckup, go to SharpenToday. If you're considering a meeting with a financial counselor, call LSS at 1-888-577-2227. For more info, go to ConquerYourDebt.
Those who take the assessment and meet with a financial counselor are eligible to win a $100 Visa gift card. Weekly drawings will be held in November.