So, What Is a Financial Coach?

February 20, 2023

This girl loves watching football. Most sports actually. And don't get me started on sports movies—I don't think I've seen one I haven't liked.

As an example, when I was recovering from a hip surgery 10 years ago, I watched the movie Rudy in the middle of one sleepless night—twice.

Watching people overcome the odds, exert discipline over an extended period of time, and finally be able to do the things that they’ve dreamed of for so long inspires me to no end. 

American Underdog was a recent favorite.

One big reason was that Kurt Warner never gave up on his dream even when it was statistically improbable. He believed in himself and never quit working on his craft and dreaming of playing in the NFL.

But this is not an article specifically about believing in yourself. It’s about coaching, and what a coach can do for you. 

In this based-on-a-true-story movie, Dick Vermeil (played by Dennis Quaid) had an underdog chapter of his own and was therefore relatable to Kurt Warner. As head coach of the Rams, Vermeil could see the potential in Kurt and championed him.

Besides believing in a player, a coach teaches principles and plays, introduces tactics and tools, inspires the player to believe in himself and provides some wonderful accountability.

A financial coach is a lot of these same things! 

Let’s get into the specifics:

What financial coaches are not:

Financial coaches (sometimes also known as money coaches or money mentors) are not financial planners. Financial coaches and financial planners are similar in that they both care a lot about people succeeding with your money. 

While a financial planner can certainly help with your budget, they are additionally qualified and licensed to advise on investments, tax strategies, retirement planning—the big stuff. Financial coaches are not. 

What financial coaches do:

If a financial planner is an expert at the big stuff, financial coaches are experts at the root level—budgeting, planning your monthly spending. Coaches focus on mindset and money habits, and supporting behavior change around your approach to money. 

They provide happy accountability as you learn to trust yourself with money and introduce you to tools and routines that help you become more involved with your monthly money. 

I help my clients get their “roots right” so they are more confident and able to benefit from working with a financial planner to help them plan “the big stuff.” 

A quick story about that: a friend making 7-figures per year meets with his financial planner regularly. That financial planner tells my friend at every meeting that it would be very helpful if he and his wife would agree on a budget so he (the planner) could make a better plan for this family. And by “get on a budget” he wasn’t referring to cutting back, just deciding in advance how much they would spend, so he knew how much he was actually managing for them.

What a financial coach doesn’t do: 

A financial coach (at least this one) does not create a budget for you or tell you what you should or should not spend on various categories. Why? Because my plan for your spending would never work in your life. 

And if I encouraged you to cut back on a certain category of spending, you might agree to it for a minute, but it wouldn’t last. 

I advise, coach, and recommend things to consider, but ultimately it is your money and decisions, and I try to stay very objective about what you choose to do with it. 

I don’t make you feel behind or guilty about your spending and debt, and a lot of that is because I know how unhelpful those judgments are. 

And also, I’ve been there. Like in American Underdog, I have my own “underdog chapter” and come-back story and I love coaching my clients to write their own comeback story to be the hero of their life.

Because that’s what getting on purpose with your money can do for you—you have more freedom to pursue the things that you’ve longed for.

To wrap up:

I’ve had clients refer to our work as “money therapy” and it’s amazing to see them open up and share and realize they’re not awful with money, they just haven’t had a great system.

With one of my earlier clients, we jokingly referred to our coaching sessions as “funancial coaching” since money has become so dang fun for me and I hope to make it so for my clients.

What’s fun about it:

  • It’s fun to know in advance exactly how you’re going to pay for the fun things
  • It’s fun to know that you’re not jeopardizing your necessary expenses when you spend money on the fun things
  • It’s fun to spend guilt-free
  • It’s fun to finally feel like a responsible adult with money
  • It’s fun to have focus and clarity with your money

If you’re in the market for this kind of fun, you can get the ball rolling* by filling out this quick form! It’s a no-obligation expression of interest in financial coaching and seeing if I/my programs are a good fit for you. 

*Pun not intended :-)

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