We’ve probably all had a coach at some point in our life, one that made us work harder, get stronger, or faster. And although we may not have enjoyed the drills and the hard work he or she pushed us to do, we were grateful for their help because it was a benefit to us. In the same sense, a financial coach can be a tremendous benefit to you and your financial well-being.
Three types of Financial Professionals
1. Financial Coach or Counselor - A financial coach or counselor typically focuses on fundamental financial issues or habits. "A financial coach works with a client to change behaviors around money," They do not sell products and cannot specifically advise you on investments.
2. Financial Advisor - provide services that are purely transactional or product-focused. They manage your investments for a fee plus typically commissions on product sales.
All financial advisors are not the same. Some only focus on investments that they are familiar with or those that are associated with their firms. Therefore, they have a limited number of options they will recommend, which may be good or not.
Today, anyone can purchase any investments they choose from brokerage firms such as Vanguard, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, without a financial broker or advisor.
Unless the advisor offers a lot of education with his services, it’s probably not worth hiring him/her.
3. Financial Planners - a financial planner generally analyzes a client's entire financial life across cash and debt management, insurance, investments, tax, and estate planning. They help you navigate through the life changes that have a significant impact on your finances (marriage, divorce, children, education, retirement, and investing.) They generally charge fees based on a percentage of assets under management or a fixed fee and in some cases, could receive commissions from product sales as well.
There are at least 100 financial designations and many are just empty titles that don’t mean much. The credentials you want to look for when searching for a financial planner are:
CFP (certified financial planner.)
PFS (personal financial specialist.)
CFA (chartered financial analyst.)
If you’ve been living on a budget, which includes tracking every expense, and have created margin - an amount above what you need to live on and meet short and mid-term needs, you may benefit from a financial advisor or planner.
They could help you choose the right investments to reach your financial goals and structure your finances in a way that will provide you with the most benefit long term.
If you don’t have a budget and you have no margin or surplus beyond what you need to live on, you could benefit from a financial coach or counselor.
Reasons to hire a financial coach
You’re ready to stop talking about it and get a plan in place.
You don’t know where to start and would like a step-by-step blueprint so that you can reach your desired financial goals.
You want to stop worrying about money, have enough to live on and make sure you can retire someday.
You want the support and insights necessary to overcome the inevitable roadblocks that stop you from making progress
You want the accountability to maintain focus on your financial goals so that all the distractions in life, fighting for your attention, no longer derail your plans to achieve financial well-being.
What a financial coach can do for you
Teach you how to manage your money through a proven system.
Provides feedback on progress so you can improve, make changes, and reach your goals.
Makes the journey to achieving your goal faster - less trial and error of doing it yourself.
Motivate you to achieve your full potential.
Help you process through difficult decisions in different seasons of life.
The biggest benefits a coach can provide is accountability and expertise. Financial mistakes can set us back, sometimes for years. The accountability a financial coach provides can help you avoid these big mistakes by keeping you focused on your goals.