Last Updated December 26, 2019
If you need help getting your finances in order or learning the basics of budgeting, you might need the help of a financial wellness coach. A financial coach is different from other financial professionals. Not sure what kind of help you need? In this article, I explain the difference between a financial coach and other financial professionals. I will also help you decide when it’s best to hire a financial coach or not.
What Is A Financial Wellness Coach?
A financial wellness coach helps their clients with the basics of money management. They work with clients who may have a hard time making a budget or managing their finances well. Financial coaches provide basic financial literacy to make understanding money easier for their clients.
Financial coaches usually meet with their clients over a period of several months. They work with their clients to set financial goals and create a plan to get there. The coach then checks in regularly with their client to provide advice, act as an accountability partner, and check on progress.
At the end of the contracted period, the client should have improved their financial literacy and be well equipped to continue on their path to financial freedom and achieve their financial goals on their own.
What Is A Financial Planner?
Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is an expert in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement. A CFP has to take exams, and then continue ongoing education to keep their certification.
Financial planners usually give advice on investments that they believe to be the best choice for their clients, and might even sell investment products. They are licensed and regulated by the government.
What Is The Difference Between A Financial Coach And Financial Planner?
Financial planners generally analyze a client’s entire financial life across cash and debt management, insurance, investments, tax, and estate planning. CFPs are licensed to sell investment products, can give stock advice as well as provide financial coaching services.
You would normally hire a financial planner to manage your investments and give you other financial advice related to insurance, taxes, and estate planning. In other words, you give them control of your assets and they manage the money you already have. They focus on your portfolio and provides specific advice for your investments.
With a financial planner, it’s important to understand that they will be making most of the decisions about your portfolio for you, with your permission of course. They will discuss the options available to you and do their best to help you understand what your choices are.
But if you don’t already have a good understanding of your financial options, you may start depending on a financial planner too much and not understand how your money is being invested.
These professionals 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. This can sometimes cause a conflict of interest.
You can avoid some problems by using a fee-only advisor, rather than someone whose income increases from selling you specific products and services that might not be appropriate for your situation.
A financial wellness coach does not manage your investments for you or sell investment products such as mutual funds, stocks, retirement accounts etc. Financial coaches are also not supposed to give specific investing advice – such as buy this stock or that one, as they are not licensed to do so.
Instead, financial coaches educate clients on how investing works, investing terminology and the best time to incorporate it into their financial planning. In other words, they focus on increasing your financial literacy so that you can build the skills you need to manage your own money.
You always remain in control of your money, but you learn how to make better financial decisions and manage your money in a way that works for you. Financial coaches usually charge a fixed fee for their services, therefore they are not biased with their financial advice.
When Should I Hire A Financial Coach vs. A Financial Planner?
You should hire a financial coach when you have maxed out the free resources on your own and realized you need additional help. You may have tried to budget but couldn’t stick with it, or read financial blogs and books but don’t know how to put the plans to action.
Most of the information in these books are general in nature and you want someone to work with you and your specific situation.
You should hire a financial wellness coach if any of the following apply to you:
- You need an accountability partner.
- You’re not motivated or disciplined enough to handle your finances on your own.
- You have financial goals you want to reach, but not quite sure what’s the best way to get there.
- You want an expert in the industry who has successfully worked with other people in similar financial situations as you.
- You’ve tried EVERYTHING on your own and nothing works.
- You want to save money and avoid mistakes you may make by trying to do things on your own.
- You want a tailored financial plan for your specific situation.
- You’re ready to do the work and change your financial situation.
- You want to accomplish your goals faster.
Remember that a coach does not do the work for you (like a financial planner). Coaches help you outline a plan, share their expertise, and help you reach your goals by giving you strategies based on your individual circumstances. Though they are your accountability partner, you are responsible for execution, while being coached along the way.
You should hire a financial planner when you have a solid foundation of financial literacy and are ready to invest or discuss estate planning. A financial planner is great if you have disposable income at the end of each month and you are ready to make it grow.
Traditionally, financial planners usually have a minimum asset requirement to begin working with a client; hence, they target clients who have a higher net worth.
Need Help With Your Money?
If you need one-on-one help with your money, you can hire me as your financial wellness coach in a private setting. For questions about how I work with my clients, you can sign up for a free 15-minute consultation with me.
Who Am I To Help You With Your Money?
I’m a lawyer and personal finance expert. Today I’m financially free. I don’t have to stress about money, and I only work because I want to. I’ve been able to help dozens of people meet their financial goals through one-on-one coaching and classes.
But things weren’t always this way for me. I also know what it’s like to struggle with money. I had 6-figures worth of (non-mortgage) debt when I started my financial journey. My chronic illness made it hard to stay healthy and earn money. Not to mention all the medical bills that were piling up.
I didn’t know where to turn, and knew NOTHING about money. I wasn’t good with money and I also had a shopping problem. So, I would go shopping to try and make myself feel better.
I felt overwhelmed when I started my financial journey. In June 2008, I decided I wanted to make a change in my life. Over the years, I was able to turn my 6-figures worth of debt into 6-figures worth of income.
If you’re like me when I started, you have no idea where or how to get started. Maybe you tried other programs, but NOTHING worked. You’re motivated and willing to do the work, but you want to avoid mistakes you may make by trying to do things on your own. You just want to know the best and fastest ways to achieve your financial goals.
I can help you with that.
What Can I Expect With One-On-One Coaching?
By the end of my coaching program, my clients will have the following outcomes:
- Set clear personal financial goals you will like to achieve (short-term; mid-term; and long-term).
- Make a plan that will build your savings.
- Create a WORKING budget.
- Make a plan to pay off all high-interest debt (this will also help turbocharge your savings rate).
- Make an investment plan to increase wealth and net worth.
You will be able to save more money faster because you will have a customized plan from someone who knows exactly what you need to do to succeed. You will also have a higher chance of success because there is someone there to motivate you and hold you accountable. Finally, you’re getting financial knowledge from an expert who can answer your specific money questions.
How Does It Work?
We can work together in two ways:
Per Session Basis
With the per session basis, we have one 60-minute session via phone or video conference. During this one-on-one session, I will help you identify your financial goals and help you create a plan. I will assess your financial situation and give you an action plan for you to implement after our meeting.
This option is perfect for someone who is motivated and disciplined enough to follow my action plan, but they just need to get pointed in the right direction.
The other option is to work together on a monthly basis. I recommend this option because it has a higher rate of success for most of my clients. With the monthly sessions, we meet twice a month via phone or video conference for three months minimum.
In the first month, we will meet three times. The first session is a 60-minute call or video conference where I asses your financial situation and help you identify your financial goals. We will then create an action plan for you. Every week you will have an assignment that I want you to complete.
Our second session is a 30-minute call or video conference that will be one week after our first session. During that call or video conference, we will discuss your assignments and see how you’re progressing. We will continue to have 30-minute sessions every other week for the next 3 months. During those 30-minute sessions, you will have a personalized recap where we discuss your assignments and it will end with an action guide for you to take away.
You will have seven sessions in total (one 60-minute session and six 30-minute sessions). So our meeting schedule will look something like this:
- Month 1:
- One 60-minute session (first session)
- Two 30-minute sessions (meet every other week)
- Month 2:
- Two 30-minute sessions (meet every other week)
- Month 3:
- Two 30-minute sessions (meet every other week)
This option is perfect for you if you’re looking to make REAL change to your financial situation. You will have someone to help you along on your journey who can answer your specific money questions. Finally, you will have someone there for support, motivation, and accountability.
Why You Need A Financial Wellness Coach
You need a financial coach if you’ve been stuck in the same financial position (or have gotten worse) over the past few years. You’ve tried all the free resources and read the blogs/books, but you’re not seeing any results. Maybe you’ve even tried to budget, but you have a hard time sticking with it.
What My Personal Trainer Taught Me About Money
I want to share a story with you…
In the beginning of the year (like most) one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to lose 5 pounds by Valentine’s Day and continue to exercise regularly at least 3 times/week. This goal was totally doable and nothing too unrealistic!
By June, not only did I NOT lose the 5 pounds, but I GAINED 8 more pounds! I couldn’t even fit into some of my suits for work.
During those six months (January – June) I tried going to the gym on my own (I have a gym IN MY BUILDING). However, I just couldn’t seem to get motivated enough. So then I tried streaming workout videos straight to my TV…so I didn’t even have to leave my apartment. That was also an EPIC FAIL—and a waste of $40!
This made me realize that trying to lose weight is something I can’t do on my own and I need professional help!
I’ve always been averse to hiring a personal trainer because I felt like they’re too expensive and it’s something I can just do on my own. But looking back on my progress so far for the year, I realized that I was NOT getting any results trying to do this on my own—I was actually getting worse!
I was saving money, but I was moving further away from my goal! So I decided to hire a personal trainer. I cut back on buying things I didn’t need so I could afford to squeeze this expense into my budget.
Since hiring my personal trainer, I’ve been able to lose some weight, and I’m now making progress towards my goal and not away from it.
I know the simple formula to lose weight is to just burn more calories than you consume. But I needed additional help and support. I could work out on my own, but having a personal trainer forces me to be held accountable and it motivates me.
When I don’t feel like going to the gym, I still have to go, because I know someone is there waiting to meet with me. When I feel like eating french fries, I call him so he can talk me out of it.
I say all that to say, a financial coach is a lot like a personal trainer—it’s just for your money. You probably set some financial goals for the New Year. Have you seen any progress? Or are you like me with my weight, and things have actually gotten worse?
Your money journey is probably a lot like me with my fitness journey. You know the simple formula to build wealth is to just spend less than you earn, but you need additional support.
You need help staying motivated and being held accountable. Even when you don’t feel like doing the work, you will be more inclined to do it because you know we will have our money meeting. And if you feel like shopping or doing something else to move you away from your financial goals, you can call me so I can talk you out of it.
If you see you’re not making progress, or have gotten worse, you need to hire a personal finance coach. Don’t be like me where I wasted time, energy, and money trying to do it on my own…only to be FURTHER AWAY from my goals.
What If I Can’t Afford A Financial Coach?
You may think it’s counterproductive to hire a financial wellness coach—because after all, you’re trying to save money. If you’re buried in debt and think you just can’t afford it, you honestly can’t afford NOT to! What you’re doing right now is NOT working for you.
I’ve been able to save my clients $200-$400 after only ONE MONTH of working together. So my clients usually see a return on their investment after just one month. If you went to an ATM machine and put in $200 one time knowing it will give you back $200 every month, you would certainly find the money to get that kind of return on your initial $200 investment.
I currently have one client that’s saving over $1,500/month on a teacher’s salary. I have another client that was able to put an extra $1,000 towards debt every month (also on a teacher’s salary). So it is definitely worth it if you’re struggling financially.
I recommend you cut back on eating out for the month, or sell some of your stuff you’re not using to help you afford to hire a money coach.
What If It Doesn’t Work For Me?
Like anything else in life, financial coaching won’t work if you don’t put in the time and energy. But if you devote at least 30 days to working with me, did ALL the work and assignments, and still don’t see any changes in your finances, I will refund your money. Simply email me showing that you completed my assignments and how it didn’t work for you, and I’ll give you 100% of your money back.
You don’t even need to make up your mind right now. Just go ahead and sign up for coaching today, and try it out. Take 30 days and if, you’re not 100% satisfied with my service – and honestly if it hasn’t paid for itself many times over – then simply let me know for a full refund. All I ask is you show me your completed assignments and let me know how it hasn’t worked for you. At that point, you will get a rapid, no hassle, 100% refund.
If you’re looking for someone to help you change your financial situation, it’s time to hire a financial wellness coach. A financial coach will help you get your finances in order and make a tailored financial plan specifically for you. If you want to work with a professional to help you reach your financial goals, and show you the best way to get there, hire me as your financial coach.
You can read more about my coaching services HERE.
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