If you’ve already taken steps to create a budget, and proven you can stick with it, you may feel ready to take your financial education a step further and work one-on-one with an expert who can provide personalized advice and tailor a customized plan.
But in this era of life coaches, nutrition coaches, sleep coaches and more, how can you tell if a financial coach is credible and right for you? How do you find someone to help you navigate any financial barriers and coach you on how to make changes to improve your financial situation?
Here are four things you might want to look for:
They’re Well Versed and Well Respected. Do a little research on any coach you are considering. Ask for their background and how they became an expert in this field — they may have an educational degree in finance, completed a training program specifically for financial coaching or learned from their own personal story of financial success. To better gauge their expertise, check their website and other work such as books they’ve published, articles they’ve written or television appearances. Ideally, you are looking for someone who has successfully helped others in similar situations.
They Have a Proven (and Relevant) Track Record. Ask your friends if they have a financial coach they’d recommend, or search local websites for recommendations from neighbors. Then ask the experts you’re considering for testimonials from clients and look for any reviews online. Make sure to find out a little about the clients they’ve worked with in the past. If you’re trying to get out of debt, you don’t want a coach who specializes in stock market investment strategies (and vice versa).
They Offer the Services You Need. Although financial coaches may have similar goals, they may work very differently. Some may focus on answering questions and giving you a starting point while others are poised to hold your hand for the long term. A coach may meet with clients in person or through phone calls or video conferences. They may prefer to meet every week or just once a month or a quarter. Have a sense of what you need to really make changes. Remember to ask about fees because different types of services may have different pricing schedules.
They Motivate You. Think back to other types of personal trainers you may have encountered over the years. Everyone has their own way of motivating their students — some yell and blow the whistle a lot, while others rely on praise and pep talks. Financial coaches can be the same. You need to feel comfortable with your financial coach because you will be sharing some of the most personal details of your life with them. Remember, they can’t help you if you hide anything from them.
Financial coaches can be a good resource for anyone who wants help in creating a personalized plan and staying with it. The four tips above will help you find the right coach for you!
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- Danielle Klimashousky, What Is a Financial Coach?, Smartassets.com, September 5, 2018.
- Roger Ma, Financial Coach, Financial Advisor, Or Financial Planner: Which Should You Use?, Forbes.com, September 27, 2016.
- Roger Ma, 5 Things To Look For When Picking A Financial Advisor, Forbes.com, January 4, 2017.