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Managing your finances can be tough. It’s like managing your weight, which sure isn’t easy. It takes work, persistence, and a level of knowledge. Even then, it’s an uphill battle that many people fail at.
That’s when you throw in the towel, right? Nope! You get a fitness coach who will help educate and push you in the right direction.
What Is a Money Coach?
A money coach is someone that helps educate clients on the fundamentals of finance. Through a better understanding of money, they help people develop better money management habits. In addition to financial literacy, these coaches help their clients with creating budgets, saving money, reducing debt, and planning for expenses.
Think about your own financial knowledge. Where did you learn what you know? It probably wasn’t in high school which is unfortunate. I think the only class I took that related to finances was consumer management.
If you went to college, you most likely took economics which is helpful but more global.
Financial knowledge tends to come from real-world experience or is self-taught by reading articles, books, and blogs like this.
Your favorite sports team has a coach for a reason. The coach’s role is to improve a team’s performance and each athletes’ abilities. They do this by understanding players’ weaknesses and areas that need improvement and creating practice drills to develop and master those skills. A personal finance coach does exactly that for the game of finance.
Money Coach vs Financial Advisor
Simply put, financial advisors tend to be more experienced individuals that help clients manage and grow existing wealth. They are often licensed (series 6, 7, 63, 65, 66) which gives them the ability to advise and sell investments. They may also hold certifications, such as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) or CPWA (Certified Private Wealth Advisor).
Money coaches are great for those looking to learn more about the basics of finances. These coaches will most likely not have the extensive training their financial advisor counterparts have, although there are online training courses out there. Financial coaching is an unregulated space, opening the door for plenty of people who may not be very qualified to talk money.
A money coach will help you with financial fundamentals, create a structure and plan, and will give you a plan to keep yourself accountable. After that, it’s up to you to be committed and successful.
Are They Qualified?
Money coaches may or may not have formal education or training. There is no requirement or regulation enforcing it and anyone can become a money coach.
There are online courses for money coaches. The most reputable I’d say is the Dave Ramsey financial coach training. It comprises 14 online lessons, live coaching calls, ongoing quizzes, and assignments. Once completed, the graduate is given a designation that can be promoted. The money coach training costs $2,000 so I would say it at least weeds out those who really aren’t committed to providing decent service.
Try and do your due diligence when choosing your money coach. Look for reputable reviews and testimonials. Check their LinkedIn page for experience and education and if you can’t find it, simply ask them about it.
Want a question to ask to test their knowledge? Ask them what the difference is between the interest rate and APY on your savings. They should be able to answer if they have some financial knowledge and experience (APY or annual percentage yield includes compounding of interest and is what you should earn annually).
What Does a Money Coach Do?
A money coach can assist their clients with any number of these services:
Understands Their Clients
First and foremost, a wealth coach should and has to understand their client’s needs. They should be listening to their clients and focused on asking as many questions as possible, especially during the first few meetings.
Once they understand their client’s needs, they help create a financial plan for success. It takes more than just putting numbers on paper, however, so changing their client’s mindset on money is important.
Financial literacy isn’t just understanding the basics of finance, but how to effectively use those skills. A wealth coach should be well versed and able to break down and easily explain all the complexities of the finance world.
Budgeting is the first step for anyone looking to start a financial plan. Money coaches can help construct and collect what’s needed to start an effective budget.
A money coach will help construct a plan to ensure you have adequate savings in different ‘buckets’. They’ll start by making sure you have a fully-funded emergency savings. Next, the priority will be a plan to stock away money each month for retirement. Finally, the goal will be to save for other discretionary items such as education or vacations.
This is probably the most common reason to hire a money coach. The behavioral change that is required to really attack your debt is where your money coach can really shine. A debt reduction strategy will incorporate most of the services mentioned, freeing up all available cash flow to reduce your debt.
Understanding how to use credit and planning for larger credit purchases can be a coaching service. In addition, credit reporting should be something they are well versed in. They can provide ways to increase your credit score, which can help lower your lending rates.
If your coach helps you construct a well laid out financial plan, the long term goal should be to accumulate wealth. Retirement assets will most likely be a larger percentage of that wealth, but some non-retirement savings should be part of your goal.
Financial Counseling for Couples
In my house, there’s a saying. What’s my wife’s is hers and what’s mine is my wife’s. Money is tough and sharing it can be harder. Especially if you and your significant other disagree on savings versus spending. A money coach can be your marriage counselor for money.
What Does a Financial Coach Cost?
It depends on experience and demand. For someone who’s newer to coaching, they may charge $50-$100. More experienced coaches charge several hundred dollars, some in excess of $600.
So what does $50-$600+ get you?
- A 1-hour phone call focused on understanding your situation and time to construct a financial plan
- Snapshot sent post call of your financial picture
- Follow up emails with further plan details and to do’s
- Templates related to creating and monitoring your financial plan
- Possible e-book
- Possible future check-in calls/emails to keep clients driven
Is a Money Coach Worth It?
The choice to hire a money coach is entirely dependent on your situation. I can’t make that determination, but I can share some questions to ask yourself to help determine if a money coach could help.
- Do you get overwhelmed thinking about your personal finances?
- Are you having trouble starting or sticking to a budget?
- Do you live paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings?
- Is debt taking over your life?
- Are you making required payments on your debt but it doesn’t seem to be moving?
- Is your credit score low and you can’t figure out why?
- Are you worried about retirement?
- Do you just need help organizing your money management? Think of different accounts (checking/savings) for different uses (emergency savings/kids savings/vacations).
- Would some positive reinforcement and help building a better mindset and confidence be beneficial?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, a money coach may be helpful. Another great way to think of them is as your personal money mindset coach. Their focus won’t only be on the numbers and plan, but on ways to modify your attitude towards money. It’s often a person’s mindset that is their biggest roadblock to financial success.
Searching for a “Money Coach Near Me”?
Finding a financial advisor is somewhat simple. You can call your local bank or online broker. Finding a money coach is a bit more challenging. It takes research and some digging around.
There are sites like Dave Ramsey or Financial Educators Council that provide training and introductions to money coaches. These arent regulated companies but do have some track record and organization. You’ll most likely pay higher prices for the ‘branding’ but you know they went through at least some training program.
When you search, look for sites that give suggestions or the “top 10” money coaches. Hopefully, these are compiled by verified reviews.
Next, I would look for experience. It’s important that they have a more formal education, like a bachelors degree. It should be somewhat related to finance but that’s not a deal killer.
Finally, I would want to have a conversation with the person before signing up. Even though you’ll most likely be working via video chat or a phone call, you can get a pretty good idea if they sound confident in their business. Know exactly what to expect from their service. What you’ll get during or post call. Is there follow up? Free items like a budget or debt reduction template?
So Do You Really Need a Money Coach?
While I spend a lot of time writing articles to help my readers, my finance blog is one of what seems like billions out there. Any financial topic you can think of has been written about, probably hundreds of times. Maybe even thousands or millions.
What am I getting at? If you’re motivated and want to make a change in your financial picture, there’s plenty of free information to help you do so.
So why is there a market for money coaches?
Because most people aren’t motivated enough to force themselves to make the change. They are either overwhelmed or possibly just lazy and don’t want to take the time to figure things out.
Trust me, that’s fine and it’s not like I haven’t been there before. Finances are tough and if it’s not a passion, it’s probably a burden.
If you lack the self-motivation to learn and make changes for yourself, a money coach might be the answer.