How to Find the Perfect Financial Coach for You
If you’re reading this you’ve probably found yourself like many others – excited to improve your finances but unsure how to find the perfect Financial Coach for you to work with.
The internet is filled with information about what a Financial Coach is – But how do you find an actual Financial Coach and how do you know if they will be a good fit?
As an up and coming sector in finance, most people haven’t worked with (much less interviewed) a Financial Coach before. That makes it difficult to know where to start and what to look for in a good one. But taking the time to find the Financial Coach that is the perfect fit for you, is incredibly important!
Our goal in writing this is to help you find the right professional to help you reach your specific financial goals. Whether that is us or someone else doesn’t matter.
We just want you to succeed!
Not all Financial Coaches are the Same
On that note we’ll start by stating not all Financial Coaches are the same. Financial Coaching is quickly becoming a booming part of the finance industry and financial wellness movement.
Within this space there are a myriad of professionals with different programs and approaches. There are even coaches who specialize in serving different communities such as Veterans, Women going through divorce, Parents looking to adopt a child, the list goes on. These financial coaches can help you navigate specific benefits or circumstances that are unique to your life journey.
To find the right Financial Coach for you, there are a lot of things you need to consider. There are also a few questions you need to ask each of the professionals you talk to. This will ensure that you work with someone who can actually help you reach your goals.
We’ll share how to interview Financial Coaches a little bit later.
What does a Financial Coach do?
Before we dig too far into how to find the right Financial Coach we want to first talk about what they do. There is a lot of confusion about what exactly these professionals do and how they help their clients.
For the most part Financial Coaches are focused on your money management. This includes how you budget, spend and save your money – as well as how you manage debt.
Financial Coaches will teach you how to budget, or help you improve your current budget. They will help you make improvements to how you spend money and help you shift to healthy spending habits that align with your goals and values.
Financial Coaches clients increase their net wealth by paying off expensive debt, saving more money and contributing more to their retirement accounts.
Essentially a Financial Coach is someone who can teach you about personal finance, increasing your financial literacy and helping you understand how to make better financial decisions.
Here’s more information about what services Financial Coaches provide.
What is the difference between a Financial Coach and a Financial Advisor?
Unlike a Financial Advisor, a Financial Coach does not manage or have access to their clients retirement accounts.
Financial Coaches can educate their clients about retirement accounts and help them understand the importance and impact of investing more. But they cannot tell their clients what to invest in or advise in that manner.
The focus on retirement from a Financial Coaches expertise is entirely educational in nature. A professional Financial Coach will always encourage you to do your own research and in relation to retirement planning, talk to the right professional.
Read more about the specific differences between a Financial Coach and a Financial Advisor here.
What makes a Good Financial Coach?
A good Financial Coach is someone who puts your best interests first.
So what does that look like? Here’s what we think makes a good Financial Coach.
Highly Knowledgeable in Personal Finance
There are a lot of things that make a good financial coach. But let’s face it, nothing is as important as their actual knowledge of personal finance. This is obvious, yes. But how do you determine if a financial coach really knows what they are talking about? Keep reading to find out.
Good Listening Skills
That looks like a coach who listens as much, if not more, than they speak. Someone who truly hears what you’re saying. They work to ensure they understand you before throwing out a recommendation. It’s someone who doesn’t just tell you what they would do or what they think you should do.
A Teacher at Heart
A good Financial Coach is a professional who can help you understand what you need to do and why. Who can help walk you through your options and ensures you yourself can articulate any associated trade offs.
You don’t just want someone who will tell you what to do. You want someone who will teach you how to fish – so to speak. Someone who wants you to learn and grow in your confidence as a decision maker in relation to your money.
Help you Align your Actions with your Goals
In addition, a good Financial Coach can help you see the way your daily actions impact your future. Not just in terms of your money, but in how it will impact your future lifestyle. In so doing, they help you stay on track, limiting distractions and hold you accountable to your actions.
Empathetic and Non-judgemental
The best Financial Coaches are ones that help you feel like you can be open and honest about your concerns free from judgment. They understand that we all come from different backgrounds and have different lived experiences. So they create an environment where you feel safe asking questions, sharing deeply about your finances and being vulnerable. Because money touches everything, it can lead to some very deep and wonderful conversations!
Holds you Accountable
You’re working with coaches – not cheerleaders. A good coach will hold you accountable and when you say you will take action, they expect you to take action. But if you don’t, they help you figure out what is in your way and how to overcome that challenge. It’s not about guilt or shame, it’s about figuring out what is holding you back and then breaking down that barrier.
Not a Fin-Fluencer
Finally, it is our belief that a good Financial Coach is focused on helping you find the best solutions for you. Not just solutions where they have an affiliate deal.
There are a lot of these people out there and in our opinion it’s insincere. This is why we’ve mostly avoided affiliate programs. We want to remain unbiased and do not want to suggest things unless we honestly believe them to be the best option for you. We definitely do not recommend affiliate options any more than any other unless it’s far and above a superior option.
Is a Financial Coach worth it?
We’re going to try and be as unbiased as we can here.
A Financial Coach is absolutely worth it – but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
We have been able to help people from all walks of life. Helping our clients increase their net wealth by far more than what they spend on hiring us. So the ROI (return on investment) isn’t a problem – at least with us. But that still doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for everyone.
To determine if a Financial Coach is worth it you need to take a good hard look not only at the quality of the coach, but dig deep and decide if you’re truly ready. If you’re not ready to change the way you use your money for the better, that’s perfectly fine! But you’re not going to get as much out of the process.
Other than that, the return on the investment is pretty remarkable. Especially if a coach has the heart of a teacher and wants to educate you on how to make good financial decisions. That is a skill you will have for the rest of your life! It is also a skill that can be the difference between struggling financially, and financial success far into your future.
Still trying to decide if you should work with a Financial Coach? Read this!
How to Find the Perfect Financial Coach!
STEP 1: Finding Financial Coaches to Interview
Talk to your Network
Start by talking to the people in your social network. Everyone can benefit from talking about money with their friends, family, or even co-workers more often. If you’re not sure how to bring up the conversation – that’s OK. Just don’t overthink it. It can be as easy as saying you want to get serious about your financial future. That you’re curious if they have considered working with a Financial Coach, or know of someone you could work with.
Conduct an Online Search
Since Financial Coaching is pretty new, it can be difficult to find a local Financial Coach. But the good news is you can find excellent professionals through a simple Google search. This will help you find Financial Coaches that are well established and take their business seriously.
Of course as part of your due diligence, be sure to read Google reviews. Client testimonials and reviews will help you learn about the type of clients each particular coach helps. It will also tell you what kind of results their clients get which can help you determine if they can help you too!
What if they don’t have any reviews?
Reviews or testimonials from previous clients are extremely important and helpful as you work to make your decision. But what if they don’t have any?
Financial Coaches who are new to the profession might not have reviews yet – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a chance.
An alternative to a client testimonial is their personal financial success. Did they personally pay off a lot of debt and reach Financial Freedom? Have they personally reached financial goals that are similar to yours? Ask them about their journey and learn about their expertise. This is an excellent gauge of the depth of their knowledge in personal finance.
What else should I look for before interviewing coaches?
In addition to talking to your network, reading reviews from previous clients or a personal success story – you will want to check out their Website and Social Media. This is a great way to gather information about their knowledge, values, beliefs, personality and approach. All of which will help you decide if you want to learn more about them and their services.
If they have a blog be sure to read through it. What they write about in their blog demonstrates the extent of the financial coaches experience and knowledge. It also goes deeper into their beliefs and values – which are important to consider when you’re taking advice from someone! But in addition to all of that, this step has an added bonus that it will help you start to increase your financial IQ.
Now hopefully, you’ve found a few Financial Coaches you’re interested in working with. Now it’s time to get to know them more and find out more about their program.
STEP 2: Schedule Consultations/Discovery Calls
You want to find someone you can trust and build a strong relationship with. That is why we suggest talking to 2-3 Financial Coaches before you make your final decision.
Before investing in a program with a Financial Coach, we suggest scheduling a time to learn more about the person you might hire. You especially want to learn more about their program. How it works, what the structure is like, time commitment and potential outcomes.
We cannot stress enough how invaluable it is to have a real conversation with your future coach. This will help you see if you get along with and feel comfortable talking to them or not.
You might be asking yourself why this is so important? Isn’t money just numbers?
If you don’t actually enjoy talking to your coach your progress will suffer. You want to find someone you can get along with and open up to. While this is still a professional relationship you need to actually like your coach. If you don’t you’ll dread upcoming sessions and probably not show up as your best self.
Not only that, but as you know, money is incredibly emotional. In a Financial Coaching session it is not uncommon to bring up a lot of personal topics, values and beliefs. So you have to trust your Financial Coach. You should feel comfortable asking questions and being vulnerable without feeling judged.
You need someone who will listen to your needs and meet you where you’re at without talking down to you, making generalizations, or giving cookie cutter advice.
STEP 3: Know What You’re Looking For
As we mentioned earlier there are a few key characteristics to look for in an excellent financial coach, such as:
- Highly Knowledgeable in Personal Finance
- A Good Listener
- Heart of a Teacher – can educate and explain complex concepts
- Empathetic and Non-judgemental
But in our experience, there are a few additional characteristics you should consider looking for in a Financial Coach.
Ideally, you want to work with a professional who can help you balance a budget – but is also knowledgeable in behavior modification. A professional who can effectively help you make the changes you need in your day-to-day life. This is necessary to reach your goals.
However, you should also take a personal inventory of what you believe is important.
Are you looking for someone who has experience with a specific client population like Military Veterans, Doctors, or Entrepreneurs? Do you want someone who shares the same interests or religious beliefs as you?
Take some time to think about what you want is important to you. We promise you will be happy you took this step!
STEP 4: Mentally Prepare
This is where the work begins.
Before you get on a call with a Financial Coach it will be important to understand your personal circumstances, challenges, needs and goals. While this isn’t absolutely necessary – it will help you identify who is best suited to help you overcome your challenges and achieve your goals.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What would happen if I did nothing and continued on my current path?
- What would success look like after working with a Financial Coach?
- Am I ready and dedicated to make lifestyle changes?
- Why or why not? What is holding me back?
If you can answer these questions and reflect on them honestly, you’re ready!
In the next step, you can even talk to the Financial Coaches you interview about what you uncovered.
STEP 5: Interview Financial Coaches
Question 1: What problems have you helped your clients solve?
Does this financial coach have expertise solving the problems you need help with?
It is common for a Financial Coach to help exclusively with a specific problem, say budgeting. While others will be quite vague and focus on your “money mindset”. While having the right mindset is incredibly important, it’s hard to measure. So how can you tell if you will actually get the results you want?
By comparison, we take a very holistic approach meaning we help clients with their full financial picture. Including their budget, cash flow, debt, investing and income – as well as their mindset, beliefs, habits and behaviors with money.
Either approach can be effective. It’s just a matter of knowing what you need and how (or if) they can help.
Question 2: How does your program work / how often will we meet?
Financial Coaches structure their programs in many different ways. Again, there is no one right way of doing it. But it is important to know if it will fit into your schedule and or meet your personal needs.
Some Financial Coaches only offer single sessions. Others offer programs that run through a set curriculum over a few weeks or months.
It is also worth knowing that some programs are more “high touch” than others. Meaning they meet more frequently. This works well for some people, again depending on their goals and needs. If you are struggling with extremely high anxiety or excessive shopping, a high touch program may be for you.
But after years of doing this, we found that it takes more time than say 6-weeks. You get paid once or twice a month and then need time to take action. So we space things out. We have found that weekly meetings in the first month, followed by monthly sessions after that, get the best results for our clients. Helping them both stay on track and make sustainable habit changes.
Question 3: What are some of your beliefs about money?
This is a big question – but any Financial Coach should be able to answer it. After all, if we didn’t have strong beliefs about money and the importance of Financial Freedom we would probably have a different profession!
Before you take advice from anyone it’s a good idea to get a sense of their beliefs and values to see how well they align with your own. Of course varying opinions and different points of view are important for personal growth. But there are times when it’s simply not a good match.
For instance if you’re more of an analytical person looking to learn how to increase your income at work or want to learn how to start a side hustle – you may not enjoy working with someone who takes more of a manifesting approach – and vice versa.
Question 4: Why did you become a Financial Coach?
Given the option, you probably want to work with someone who is truly passionate about the way they serve their clients vs. someone who isn’t personally invested, right?
Well a great way to find out if someone is passionate or purpose driven, is to ask them why they are a Financial Coach.
For us it was personal. After achieving Financial Freedom, we saw how many people felt the way we had. Hopeless and stuck. Always waiting for their next paycheck.
It’s scary to think how close most people are to extreme financial hardship. We wanted to help solve that problem in our communities and local economies. We wanted to see more people enjoy their lives the same way we do, which is really only possible when you’re Financially Free!
Empowering individuals to take control of their lives. Helping them break free from the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and get on track to build real wealth. It’s the best job in the world!
STEP 6: Make a Decision and Take Action!
This step is all you, so don’t hesitate. It’s time to take control of your life!
After you’ve interviewed a few Financial Coaches it’s time to make a decision and take action. Review your notes and determine who you think is best suited to help you reach your financial goals.
Reflect on the advice we’ve shared here. Think about how much you enjoyed talking to each person. Choose someone who you would look forward to talking to regularly! Prioritize working with someone who has demonstrated their knowledge and their overall passion for coaching and serving others.
We laid out a lot of things to look for in your coach. But there are also other things to consider like personality, confidence and just an overall vibe.
Once you have made your decision, do not delay! Don’t let yourself back out. Sign up to work with the Financial Coach you choose and get on their calendar as soon as possible.
If you wait – the only thing you’re delaying is your progress!