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We go to a personal trainer to get in shape, a mechanic to get the car tuned up, and watch YouTube videos to learn a new song on the guitar. Yet, when we need to work on our budget, credit, or savings we often try to go at it alone.
A certified financial coach is trained to help clients get their finances in order and provide tools to keep emotions and old habits from getting in the way of making sound financial decisions. Financial coaching has been proven to improve the tangible aspects of financial wellbeing — credit, savings, etc. — as well as how clients feel about their finances.
Clearly, financial coaching is an effective way to get your finances in shape, but you may be wondering what you need to work with a financial coach. Such a great tool must require a lot to qualify, right? Actually, all you need to benefit from financial coaching is a goal to work toward! That could be planning for retirement, saving for a home, or even just creating a functional budget.
Even though anyone can benefit from financial coaching, we know the idea of sharing your personal finances, spending habits, and debt with a stranger can be overwhelming. Money is often treated as a taboo subject, and there’s a lot of shame that can be involved in how and why we spend our money. But think of it this way: just like your doctor has seen hundreds of human bodies and isn’t grossed out by blood or illness, your financial coach has worked with many clients and has probably seen it all. Financial coaches are trained experts who understand common money concerns and are there to help you, not to judge you. Like one client shared, financial coaches create “a safe judgement free space to be honest about your situation and personal goals.”
So what happens after you pick up the phone and set up your first meeting?
1. Getting started: introduction to your financial situation
Before you get into the nitty gritty of your financial goals, you and your coach will begin your session by reviewing your basic financial documents. These will help your coach understand your financial situation more fully, from your credit to your income. With your financial coach, you’ll assess your typical spending habits. As you discuss your situation in detail, you’ll be able to share your immediate financial concerns to build the foundation for your session.
2. Finding what you’re working with: Cash flow analysis
Once you’re settled in, you’ll determine your starting point for financial planning by outlining your income and expenses. Once you have the most accurate picture of your financial situation, you and your coach can brainstorm ways to increase your household resources. This could mean turning your hobby into a side hustle, committing to making coffee at home instead of your usual Starbucks run, or whipping up homemade pizza instead of takeout — your coach will help you find the way to make your money work for you.
3. Setting your goals
Next comes the main event of your coaching session: establishing your short term, mid term, and long term goals. Remember — you’re in the driver’s seat! Each financial coaching session is tailored to your personal financial goals and priorities, and this is your opportunity to get them all on the table. Your coach will work with you to create a timeline with milestones that ensure you’re on the right path. They’ll follow your lead and cheer you on from the sidelines, checking in to make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
4. Making it happen with an action plan
Once you’ve established your goals, your coach will help you create a strategy to align your dreams with your behavior. You’ll convert your goals into dollar amounts and create a spending plan to improve your financial wellbeing. Again, financial coaching isn’t about one-size-fits-all approaches. You’ll work closely with your coach to figure out the plan that’s right for you. You might analyze your debts to get on top of payments, define how you can work on your credit, or make a plan for emergency savings — it’s up to you!
And just like that, you’ve tackled your first financial coaching session! Like any new thing, it can be scary to get started, but the benefits of coaching are worth diving in.
If you’re interested in no-cost financial coaching with BCL, reach out to one of our certified coaches!
Suite 500 Austin, TX 78701 P: 512.912.9884 F: 512.912.9869 NMLS #1114924