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Kip Tips

When to Outsource Your Life

As the CFO and COO of your household, the day may come when you'll need to borrow a few tricks from your super-size counterparts on Wall Street -- if you haven't already.

Outsourcing lets you keep important tasks moving forward without tying you down. Let's take a look at the options suggested by Kiplinger's editors:

Hiring a Pro

How to find a pro near you who can lighten your workload.

  • Financial Adviser: A financial planner can help ease the burden of saving for retirement or college, or managing investments. Choose an adviser who is paid a set fee or who works on commission. Cost: $100 to $300 per hour (fee-only). National Association of Personal Finance Advisors, (847-483-5400)
  • Tax Preparer: If you have a simple return but don't want to do it yourself, try  HR Block preparer (800-472-5625) or another commercial preparer. Need more guidance throughout the year or have a complicated tax situation? Consider a CPA. Cost: HR Block patrons pay an average of $170; a CPA could charge from $150 to $500, depending on your situation.
  • Travel Agent: An agent provides one-stop shopping for your next escape and can be especially valuable if you are venturing to a faraway destination. Cost: about $30 per person for a domestic trip, or $60 if you're heading overseas or have an intricate itinerary (there may be no fee to book a cruise). Contact: American Society of Travel Agents
  • Medical Bills: A claims assistant can review your medical bills and organize paperwork as well as file, track and challenge your insurance claims. Cost: $60 to $120 per hour. Contact: Manager Alliance of Claims Assistant Professionals, (888-394-5163)
  • Elderly Caregiver: When you can't be there, a caregiver can assist with daily tasks and errands, monitor medications and medical care, and provide companionship. Cost: $16 to $20 per hour. Contact:Home Instead Senior Care, (888-484-5759)
  • Independent Insurance Agent: These brokers sell insurance from multiple carriers, so they can shop for the best policy. And they will help when you need to file a claim. Commissions on policies are typically the same as when you buy directly from the company. Contact:Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America,(800-221-7917)
  • College Admissions Consultant: A consultant can identify schools tailored to your student's interests, enforce deadlines, and supervise (but not write) applications and essays. Cost: $175 per hour on average, or about $3,800 for a two-year coaching program. Contact: Independent Educational Consultants Association, (703-591-4850)
  • Professional Organizer: This pro can tame your pack-rat tendencies, maximize closet space, help prepare boxes for a move or set up a system for filing paperwork. Cost: $40 to $200 per hour, or by flat fee per project. Contact:National Association of Professional Organizers, (856-380-6828)

Simplify Your Life
When to Hire a Tax Pro
Getting the Best Financial Advice