DEAR HARRIETTE: I spent Sunday afternoon talking to a friend who started her life on welfare and who is wealthy now. I was so inspired by her, but I was also sad. I have not saved money well and am essentially broke. I’m in my mid-50s, and I really don’t think that I can get out of this hole. Meeting this friend and hearing about her life made me think there may be a chance that I can turn a corner and not remain impoverished until my dying day. I am so ashamed that I don’t know what to do. Is it too late to talk to a financial adviser about turning my finances around? -- Too Late, Queens, New York
DEAR TOO LATE: It is never too late to make the choice to improve your life, including your finances. You are asking the right questions, too. Since you are not an expert on money, it is essential that you get help. You may want to start with your bank to see what you can do with the money you have. The government also offers free financial advice. In New York, visit www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/consumers/get-free-financial-counseling.page for information. Each state has this service. Don’t give up on yourself. Instead, get educated and empowered. You can improve your circumstances, step by step.