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Financial Coach vs Financial Advisor: What’s the Difference?


The question I get asked the most is, “What’s the difference between a financial coach and a financial advisor?” To answer this question, you have to first understand what each is and, ultimately, what they do.

A financial coach is a personal finance expert that deals with the areas of budgeting, getting out of debt, saving for retirement, saving for college, avoiding bankruptcy, and a few other topics. Usually, we have 2 or 3 major strengths like budgeting, dealing with collectors, and getting out of debt.

Financial coaches do not sell investment products or give out specific investing advice, like which stocks or mutual funds to invest in. Our role is to provide information to our clients regarding what certain investments are, how they work, and when a great time to begin seeking those options would be.

Financial advisors are licensed to sell investment products and can give investment advice. That is the first difference between the two. Personally, I believe it’s great to get to a point of having both a financial coach and a financial advisor.

So how would you know when you need a financial coach or financial advisor? That answer is fairly simple. Either before or once you have all of the personal finance info you can stand, you may realize that you need some additional assistance.

For example, if you’ve tried to budget a few times, and have not been able to stick with it, it’s probably time for a financial coach. A financial coach will sit “knee-to-knee” with you and provide some specific things for you to implement that will get you going in the right direction.

Once you are ready to invest, you’ll need a financial advisor to guide you in the right direction.

Now that we understand the difference between the two, here’s what you can expect when working with a financial coach like myself. I have a 3-step process that I adhere to when coaching individuals and families.

The first step is to get a good understanding of your situation. I can’t help you if I’m unaware of the full extent of what you’re dealing with.

Once I finally understand what you’re going through, I’ll recommend a few action steps for you to implement into your daily life. Keep in mind, I can provide the recommendations, however, it’s up to you to implement the strategies.

Whether you’re facing bankruptcy or need help budgeting, the last thing I want to do is provide hope that you can accomplish the goals that you have set for yourself.

Never will you hear me speak negatively about the financial advising profession, and the same should be said by your advisor as both play critical roles in helping you reach your goals.

Once you’re ready to book a coaching session with me, feel free to do so at the link below. I coach singles and couples regardless of where they are financially, and look forward to working with you.


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-Michael Lacy



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