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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