Periodically people ask me why I state so definitively “I’m a money coach, not a financial planner”! (see blog header)
1. Statement of fact. I’m not a financial planner. I haven’t got any financial advising/planning credentials. I don’t give advice. I don’t even really create plans. I don’t suggest stocks or mutual funds. What I do, is equip people on the basics that so easily escape us – budgets. getting out of debt. setting up savings plans. defining and prioritizing financial goals. befriending money. setting up effective banking structures.
2. In my experience a lot of Canadians have felt disappointed by the financial planning industry. There are some awesome financial advisors – I’ve met lots and respect them – but so many times people have expected something that they didn’t end up getting, and remain upset, distrustful and even bitter. I want those readers to understand right away that money coaching is a different thing altogether. fyi, Here are some of the reasons people have become jaded about the financial planning industry:
False expectation: We think they’ll help manage our money in a granular way. Sometimes financial planners perpetuate this myth by doing a one-off review of your debt and cash flow…. but does it happen ever again? Or even quarterly? Not usually. Financial planners are here to help with our investments, with insurance, tax planning and legacies. They don’t help, not in an ongoing, meaningful way, with overspending, relationship with money, conflict about money between couples, getting out of debt.
False expectation: They will regularly keep in touch with our investments and constantly be watching out for them. Most financial planners have well over a hundred, often hundreds, of clients. They simply don’t have the time to review our individual personal portfolios on a monthly or even weekly basis.
False expectation: We will receive completely unbiased advice. Not so. Most financial planners operate under some sort of umbrella, and have a particular set of products (usually, mutual funds) that they can offer.
and the biggest False expectation of all: A globalized hope that they will look after our finances. We often feel intimidated and anxious about our money, and in our heart-of-hearts wish we could abdicate our control of the whole thing and pass it off to someone else. When we discover that our portfolio has diminished in value, when we receive financial statements that don’t make things clear (ggrrrrrrr!), when it dawns on us that we’ve simply bought a product, not someone who is carefully nurturing out nest eggs — we understandably get disillusioned.
Here’s what I offer as a money coach.
1. I create a safe space in which to review the basics of being savvy with money (spending/saving etc.)
2. I offer the tools, tricks and tips that have worked for me, and plenty of clients, in taking control of cash flow.
3. Perhaps most importantly of all, I simply have the conversation. Many clients already know what is required to take back control. Having someone with whom to talk it over, sometimes ‘hold hands’, and be accountable (very gently) to, is often the best value I provide.
btw, Regarding the investment etc. angle, I encourage clients to inform themselves. To attend lectures, seminars and increasingly, read blogs of the diy’s –
These may be a challenge for a while, but over time, strategies will become clear, a financial lexicon will expand, and best of all, clients will start to feel empowered. Then, they can have a relationship with their planner based on realistic expectations and more informed conversation.
Any questions? Fire away….