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Financial Coach, Financial Planner, Financial Advisor: What's the Difference?

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

For many people, finances are a complex topic, and they can be challenging to understand without making mistakes. When you find yourself in this situation, a solid financial professional in your corner can be your saving grace, depending on where you are on your financial freedom journey.

There are various financial professionals specializing in different areas and aspects of finances, which means there's one for every person and different stages of life!

Let's look at each type in more detail to see how they can help you optimize your financial health.

1. Financial Coach:

Hiring a financial coach is where most people start on their financial journeys. A financial coach can help you with a comprehensive money management plan beginning with the basics of budgeting. They assist their clients in achieving personal financial goals by incorporating behavioral finance strategies and techniques into your life and routine.

Having a Financial Coach enables you to experience improved mental, emotional, relational, and physical health as you pursue greater monetary wellness. In addition, coaching helps individuals identify how money relates to their life purpose, values, vision, and goals.

A Financial Coach can help with areas such as:

  • Creating a comprehensive financial plan based on your financial needs - including prioritizing your money, maximizing savings for emergencies, implementing a debt repayment plan, establishing a credit improvement strategy, etc.

  • Helping you understand how finances work and where the money you make is going.

  • Spending your money in a way that aligns with your values, future goals, and life purpose to ensure long-term happiness and satisfaction.

Most financial coaches meet with you at least once a month to ensure sticking to your money management plans and achieving the goals you set for yourself.

2. Financial Advisor:

When it comes to a Financial Advisor, think more future-forward. A Financial Advisor can help you figure out where to put your money to accomplish your financial goals. The key difference with a Financial Advisor is that they focus more on your future plans than your current budgeting needs. They offer guidance around saving for retirement or investments and even planning for your children's college.

They may meet with you quarterly to provide an update on your portfolio and answer a question or two about other financial topics throughout the year; however, your relationship with them is focused on your investment portfolio, specifically, the assets they manage.

There are a range of different Financial Advisors that can help with specific financial needs, so it's essential to find the one who fits your finances best!

Some examples include:

  • Certified Public Accountants (CPA) – helps you manage finances by offering financial advice around taxes, insurance, or legal services for businesses.

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) - specializes in investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to help optimize finances

3. Financial Planners:

A Financial Planner is a bit of a mix between both worlds. Financial Planners can have a wide range of expertise, from investment advising to retirement planning. In general, if you're looking for guidance on finances in the form of projections and recommendations with an eye towards your future finances or investments, you may need a Financial Planner.

When you work with a CFP (Certified Financial Planner), you'll begin with a review of where you stand. Topics you may go over are:

  • Your goals: What are your short- and long-term financial priorities?

  • Your current financial picture: How much money comes in and goes out? What do you own, and what do you owe?

  • Your risk tolerance: This series of questions about how queasy stock market gyrations make you inform how much of your portfolio should be in stocks versus other investments like bonds.

So when is the best time to start working with a financial professional?

In short, the sooner, the better. You don't want to barely get by using Google and praying you are doing things right. Girlfriend's, Budget has made working with a financial coach easy through our financial coaching services. We meet you where you are and give you the framework to get your finances organized.

Ready to get started? Schedule a complimentary session to see how we can help you!

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