Picture this: You’re sick and tired of feeling stressed about your money. You’ve tried doing it on your own, but the wheels are spinning in the mud. You decide to get some help, so you decide to hire a financial coach. But how?
Choosing the right coach to fit your needs can be overwhelming. Today we’ll discuss the process of finding a financial coach to make this search a little easier.
Hold on, what’s a financial coach?
Financial coaching is a service where a client (that’s you) meets with a financial coach to discuss your financial goals and how to achieve them. Like a personal trainer for your money, they give you strategies to overcome your roadblocks and help keep you accountable to your day-to-day money management goals.
This is notably different from a financial advisor, who primarily helps you with investments.
Financial coaches are a better fit than advisors if you’re looking for someone to support you in building a financial routine to help you pay bills on time, break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, and take control of your money.
Step 1. Understand your goals.
A great coach for one person can be horrible for the next, depending on what each person needs. Take a moment to reflect on your needs to ensure you find a good fit.
- What goals are you hoping to achieve? Maybe you want to pay off your debt, organize your business finances, or simply make a budget so that you gain some clarity with your money. Maybe you’re hoping to prepare for an aging parent or your own retirement. Either way, knowing what your goals are will help you and your coach determine whether or not they can help you.
- What kind of support do you need to be successful? Maybe accountability is really important to you, so you want to have regular meetings until your goals are reached. Perhaps you just need a session or two to get things set up and address some very specific technical questions, and you’re happy to take it from there. Maybe you’re sick of having Zoom calls and you’d really prefer to meet someone in person. Some clients I’ve worked with get easily overwhelmed and discouraged when they looked at their finances, and it was very important to them to know that I provide a judgment-free, kind and joyful space. Knowing the type of support you’re looking for will provide valuable filters to find the right coaching services for you.
- What’s your budget? Give yourself a general range of what you’d be willing to pay for financial support. Financial coaches can charge anywhere from zero to thousands per hour, and many coaches offer specific packages to fit the needs of their clients. Knowing what your budget is can help you quickly filter out coaches so you preserve your energy. Many great financial coaches will also talk to you about your budget before working together if that’s a concern for you.
Step two: Come up with your qualifying questions
Now that you understand what your goals are and the type of support you’re looking for, let’s use these insights to create questions to help you find the right coach for you. Here are a few example questions to keep in mind as you explore your coaching websites or hop onto calls with prospective coaches?
- What services do you offer?
- What is your coaching philosophy?
- How do you support your clients?
- What does a typical client journey look like?
- How long have you been coaching/what is your experience with coaching?
- How much do your services cost? Is there a cancellation or refund policy? Is a payment plan offered?
- How do you feel about debt?
- [Describe your financial situation.] Are you familiar with situations like mine?
- What do next steps look like?
Financial coaching is a broad category that encompasses different types of support. Some coaches specialize in technical support focusing on software, budget methodologies, and strategies. Other coaches offer more holistic approaches that include mindset and values. Some coaches love working with real estate agents and others love supporting expats and diplomats. If you can think of it, it probably exists. So knowing your needs and asking the right questions will help make your search less overwhelming.
Step 3: The search begins
Now we’re at the point where we can finally start searching! Where do you find financial coaches?
- Ask for recommendations. If you know any friends or family that have worked with a coach, ask if they have a referral they can offer you. This is how I’ve found my dentist, CPA, and personal trainer in the past. Not everyone will mention casually that they have been working with a financial coach, but you might be surprised who in your circle has.
- Search engines. This is the default method for a reason; search engines are very powerful! Use your qualifying questions to build a search query that works for you. Want someone local? Use Google Maps or search “financial coach near me”. If using a specific software like YNAB is important to you, search for “YNAB coach” and add any additional modifiers.
- Find other specialized resources. Did you know YNAB has a Certified Coach Directory? Your city might have financial coaching resources. Many nonprofits also offer free or heavily discounted coaching services.
Step 4: Vet your choices
As you encounter financial coaches, examine their website or social media. Look for testimonials or customer reviews on other platforms, and see if they mention the kind of support you’re hoping for. Use all this information to get a feel for their approach. If the coach offers a free consultation call, take advantage! Schedule a call and have your list of qualifying questions handy.
Ask questions and follow your gut. How did you feel after the call? Do you feel hopeful, excited, one step closer to a new future? Or do you feel overwhelmed, dejected, or hopeless? Don’t feel pressured to sign up for a program that doesn’t feel exciting to you!
Finding a financial coach is a very personal journey. There are many incredible coaches out there, but most importantly, there’s one that is perfect for you. One that can meet you right where you are in your journey. I hope these tips help you find them, because if there’s one thing I know, it’s this: You don’t have to do this alone.
Are you looking for a financial coach.? As the owner and operator of Mindful Budgets, I provide values-focused coaching to help individuals and couples find peace with their money. Let’s build your budget and find a routine that actually works for you. Click here to learn more.