Financial Coach. Both a Financial Planner and Teacher

What is a financial coach? With all the descriptions of financial professionals out there from financial adviser, wealth manager, financial planner, financial consultant, wealth creator etc., why would I add to the noise and come up with a different job title?

Well, it’s important to differentiate my service from others available in the marketplace because my service is relatively unique (although it does incorporate important elements of other services you may well be familiar with).

I think of my service as a combination of a financial planner and a teacher.

What does a good financial planner look like?

A good financial planner helps you structure your finances around your own personal life and needs, sets a sensible and long-term financial and investment strategy and ensures your money is mapped to your life.

Basically financial planners help and guide you to better allocate your financial resources so you can build long-term prosperity.

You pay to receive the benefit of having someone sitting on your side of the table and helping you to make sensible financial decisions. This is a good service, but it’s not without it’s flaws.

The disadvantages of this approach is that no other person can truly understand your wants and needs they way you can. Take investing as an example. Without first developing an understanding of investing, how can you truly know that the portfolio you have is right for you? Sure you will fill out a questionnaire that you won’t understand and you will be shown a bunch of pretty charts, but you won’t truly know if what you have is right for you and your family.

Basically you will have to completely trust in someone else’s knowledge and judgment. Personally that level of delegation and trust in another person for my future prosperity would make me uncomfortable. You simply must take control of your own wealth.

Finally, there is no getting away from the fact that good financial planners cost money each and every year. It’s not an issue if you have millions, but if your means are a little more limited, the fees can erode much of the benefits that they can bring to your finances.

Many in the financial profession and wider industry discuss the issue of something called the advice gap. Basically there are lots of people out there who do not have a financial adviser or financial planner.

I see this problem a little differently. With all the technology we know have, you can do everything yourself from the comfort of your own home. You can use tools to do all the required sums. You can invest in pretty much every stock market in the world. The Internet has provided some truly wonderful benefits.

However with so much information and choices available, there is a huge gap in the marketplace. People who rely on you paying for their services would understandably wish to fill this gap with more of their own services, but the gap isn’t an advice gap.

It’s an education gap.

Why is being a teacher important?

Why be the fish all your life? Why not take control of your own future prosperity?

This is where education comes in. You should be learning how to do these things for yourself. Don’t leave your prosperity in someone else’s hands.

A good teacher is someone who takes the time to help you develop understanding and also helps pique your curiosity on a subject. They also tend to have a great deal of knowledge and wisdom on the subject they are teaching.

I’ve had a lot of experience of traditional financial advisers and while many provide a good service, I do not feel they are particularly adept or even interested in teaching you about a subject.

A cynic would suggest that they explain enough so that you entrust your money to them, but not enough to empower you to manage your own money. With annual fees typically ranging at 1% per year, you can understand why they wouldn’t want you to manage your own finances without their input.

Many would say that the financial world is incredibly complex and difficult to understand and I would agree with that statement. However I believe most of those complications are unnecessary and irrelevant to building your long term and sustainable prosperity.

Putting it together into the services of a financial coach

These are some of the reasons why I label myself a financial coach (I also officially refer to my service as Virtual Money Coach and occasionally you will see a slip of the pen which labels me as a financial planner).

I suppose it’s akin to professional football where you see people labeled manager or head coach. There may be subtle differences in job function but it means largely the same thing.

Sometimes however, what may appear a subtle difference is in fact a huge gulf in services provided.

A financial adviser is likely to only sell you financial products, often only the financial products they are able to sell you (they call this restricted and it’s obscured in pages of nonsense they hand you and brushed off with phrases like selective offerings etc.).

A financial planner is likely to be more independent, with many operating at a distance from products and the influence of their providers.

Unfortunately you really do need to be careful, as labels and service are often mis-used.

My services as a financial coach would be classified as follows:

I do not (and cannot) sell or recommend any financial products to you. I look at your life and finances and help you restructure them so that you can take control of your own prosperity with improved understanding. I try to focus on your important life goals, important financial factors to building lasting prosperity, and try to help you ignore the noise and nonsense.

Incorporating the services of both a financial planner and a teacher is important to my approach and they fall neatly under my service of a financial coach.

The term coach is important because similar to sport and fitness, a good financial coach helps build your own understanding, helps develop your financial knowledge and capability and finally provides the right amount of financial discipline and motivation at the appropriate times.

Using the services of a financial coach could be the best long-term financial decision you make. Build understanding today. Have someone that you pay to be truly on your own side when navigating these often murky and choppy financial waters.

Using my services could be the key to your long-term financial success and lasting prosperity.

Get in touch today for a personal, independent, and comprehensive financial plan.

Mark Underdown | DipPFS IMC CeMap

Financial Planning Consultant


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