When seeking financial tips and other pieces of advice regarding business or personal life, it often helps to seek the assistance of someone with experience in similar situations, but individuals who want to consult with a knowledgeable person should take care in deeming him or her a qualified advisor on the subject.

In-person advice is the only advice
How should a long-term financial plan be structured, and what are the best financial tips to follow while starting a business? These are just two of the questions families and business owners ponder every day, but too often they rely on themselves to figure out solutions without the help of people they know or available professionals in the field, according to Raul Valdes-Perez, author of Advice Is for Winners: How to Get Advice for Better Decisions in Life and Work.

In his blog for the Huffington Post, the personal consultation expert pointed out that the current trend of honoring the philosophies of scholars like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau is creating a means for widespread personal failure. Valdes-Perez said that many people across the country are falling into bad self-reliant habits more so today than ever before thanks to the availability of online advice columns, social media musings and self-help books that dominate best-seller lists. He noted that the most important reason people must start directly speaking with professional experts and experienced individuals is that in doing so, they are able to get personal rather than generalized guidance.

When people trying to resolve difficult problems stay in their own heads, Valdes-Perez claimed, they keep themselves blind to certain solutions they do not have the ability to think of on their own. Dependence on the internet and books is hurtful to individual progress, he noted, because content that is deemed advice in these outlets is far from Valdes-Perez's definition of the word that comes from one-on-one interaction: Reading materials often offer guidelines and provide uplifting entertainment for those who indulge in them, but they fall short of providing personalized suggestions that a person can use to move forward in a specific situation.

Checking sources is vital
Going directly to another person or group of people for guidance is a big step in the right direction based on Valdes-Perez's findings, but an Inc Magazine op-ed by Matthew Swyers, of trademark law firm The Trademark Company, believes some advice given by others should be avoided or taken with a large grain of salt.

Asking a credit union employee what the best type of financial services would be to take care of a company's business banking needs is one example for which the context of solicited advice is crucial to understanding potential bias. In this scenario, it is highly likely that the consulted individual would suggest a community bank and, more likely, his or her own place of employment if it offers the resources the organization needs.

In addition to paying attention to an advisor's potential gain or loss in leading a person a certain way, people looking to resolve problems of any kind should be wary of taking advice from an individual who does not have the basic merits to help. Being able to provide concrete information on the subject and having gone through related scenarios previously are two major points to keep in mind, according to Swyers' Inc editorial.

If a person looking to resolve an issue is able to find someone qualified to advise on the subject at hand, and that potential problem-solver does not have a reputation of pushing wisdom to anyone who will listen, both Swyers and Valdes-Perez support moving forward and deem the scenario ideal.