Do you need a little help managing your money? We all do at some point.
Just look at the stats… According to a recent study by Bankrate.com, only 38% of survey takers can comfortably pay for an unexpected expense like an emergency room visit or $500 car repair. Not good.
So, who can you turn to for help getting your financial house in order?
A financial coach is one solution to overhauling your finances. They can support you to reach money goals like paying off debt, increasing your savings or improving your credit score.
Don’t confuse a financial coach with a financial planner.
Financial planners give specific advice on investments, retirement funds, insurance portfolios or taxes. They take control of their client’s money and manage it for them. These types of financial advisers are required to obtain certification in order to handle your assets.
On the other hand, coaches are teachers rather than money managers. Of course they’re knowledge in investments, retirement, insurance and taxes, but they give you the tools to make your own decisions. Often coaches teach from their own experience repaying debt, rebuilding credit, budgeting or paying for college and they provide you support in your own financial journey.
Financial coaches aren’t required to obtain certification, so it’s important to interview your coaches to find out if they’re credible and have the right skills to help you. We’ll talk about that later in this post.
What to Expect From a Coach
First, a coach typically gives you a consultation to find out about your financial situation. From there they’ll outline the help they can provide you. Then once hired, a coach will meet with you one-on-one to provide counseling, encourage you and serve as your accountability partner.
Hands down, the best benefit of hiring a coach is the feeling that you’re not alone. Doesn’t it feel like an uphill battle when you’re managing money by yourself? Plus the learning curve is reduced when someone coaches you that’s been there, done that. This can save you a ton of time.
Do You Need a Financial Coach?
Okay, so now you know what a financial coach does… Here are some signs that it may be time to reach out to one for help:
- You’re living paycheck to paycheck
- You don’t have enough in savings to cover any type of emergency
- You don’t keep a budget and you can’t control your spending
- You have a mountain of credit card debt and you need a debt repayment plan
- You have a bunch of different student loans to repay and you’re feeling overwhelmed
- You want guidance on how to save for a home purchase
- You need help managing money due to a change of family status like marriage, divorce or having children
- Your credit is destroyed and you have no idea how to fix it
Do any of these sound familiar? No worries, ask for help. Admitting and reaching out for assistance is the first step to making a change.
Steps For Finding a Financial Coach
Don’t choose just anyone. After all, a financial coach knows the ins and outs of your private business. Take the time to vet the person before letting them into your world.
Step #1: Get Recommendations
First, ask your network to see if they have anyone to recommend. Recommendations are great because you know firsthand that a coach is good when someone you trust vouches for their work. You can also find coaches online (like Carrie here at Carrie Pink). Do a Google search for financial coaches, click through the results and see what services they offer. When you find a few people who have services in line with your needs write them down and request a quote.
Step #2: Look for Experience
When you’ve got a few financial coach options on your short list, weigh the experience of each candidate.
How long have they been coaching? What’s their background in managing money? Do they have any personal money experiences that you can identify with? A personal connection is very important. You won’t get answers to these questions unless you ask. Don’t be afraid.
Step #3: Get Testimonials
Ask the financial coach for testimonials from some of their other clients. This is proof straight from the horse’s mouth that their coaching works. Most coaches will have a few testimonials on their website. If not, reach out to them for customer feedback or ask to speak directly with someone they’ve helped.