Want to call a financial coach, but not sure what to expect? Maybe you’re nervous about seeking help in the first place. That’s understandable.
The good news is financial coaches aren’t counselors. They won’t rehash your mistakes and dwell on what went wrong in your past. Coaches focus on the future. They want to give you a specific, achievable plan for your particular situation.
To give you a clear picture of what to expect from your time together, we asked Dave’s team of financial coaches to walk us through a session—before, during and after. Here’s what they had to say:
How to Prepare for Your Session
Don’t worry about gathering years of tax documents and bank statements before your session. Your financial coach will email you a few simple forms to fill out and submit beforehand. Easy peasy.
So what’s on these forms? One is a short money snapshot and the other is a basic budget. The money snapshot tells your coach how much you earn, how much debt you owe, and your top concerns or questions for the session.
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The budget is a list of everything you spent last month—from your water bill to your student loan payment. Coaches say the best clients are those who fill out their forms accurately. That means no best guesses.
And don’t be shy or feel ashamed. You can trust your coach like you trust a friend. Plus, they can only help you if they know exactly what’s coming in and what’s going out. So be honest.
What Will Happen During Your Session?
When you arrive (or call in via phone or Skype) for your session, your financial coach will have already reviewed your forms. After getting to know you for a few minutes, they’ll dive right in to your most pressing financial issues.
Since every client has different needs, every coaching session will be different. Some topics, however, overlap, like communication, debt elimination and saving for education or retirement.
The majority of clients also need to focus on creating a realistic budget. That means thinking about purchases that frequently bust bank accounts, like birthdays, vacations and even Halloween costumes. Coaches want you to plan for these expenses instead of forgetting about them and falling back on credit.
What You'll Walk Away With
Successful clients move the needle as soon as possible after their session. That’s why your coach will give you action steps to follow almost immediately.
These might include tweaking your budget, creating a debt elimination plan, and setting goals for the next few years. You might also brainstorm additional income opportunities to pay back debts faster (a second job) and smart ways to stay out of debt in the future (in-state college for the kids).
Keep in mind that you won’t leave your session with all your issues magically solved. But you will leave equipped to solve them yourself. Think of your financial coach as a personal trainer. He or she will show you what to do and how to do it, but the heavy lifting is up to you.
And the payoff? When you realize you did it—all by yourself.
Have a specific money question? Ask a coach now and get a free 15-minute consultation.