While the number of business models for financial advisors continues to grow, from its commission-based roots, to the AUM model, and more recently to hourly and retainer models, the fundamental challenge is that virtually all of those models are still focused on the “traditional” domains of financial planning, including retirement, insurance, estate, taxes, and investments. When the reality is that for a huge swath of Americans, their needs for financial advice are focused on issues like credit card debt, building an emergency fund, or just getting their head around their budget for the first time. The problems are half about financial literacy, and half about behavior change and forming good financial habits around spending and cash flow… neither of which are part of the typical engagement with a financial advisor.
But what’s the alternative? Increasingly, it’s a new domain being called “financial coaching” instead. And in this guest post, Garrett Philbin of Be Awesome Not Broke (a financial life coach who helps people get out of debt and save towards their goals!) shares some of his own thoughts, tips, and processes, and guidance for those who want to try running a financial coaching practice instead of a traditional advisory firm. From the regulatory and compliance issues, to the business model and how to charge clients (because yes, there are people who really do pay for this kind of help!), the software and tools that can help, to the actual services and deliverables provided to coaching clients.
Ultimately, the key point is to recognize that financial coaching is emerging as a distinct service from what we traditionally do as financial advisors, and one that reaches a distinct clientele (who have been grossly underserved by the financial advisor marketplace so far!). For some, that means coaching is an appealing way to expand an advisory firm to reach a new type of clientele. For others, it might even be a preferable alternative to the “traditional” path as a financial advisor, with what is still a $100k+ income potential. In fact, as Garrett notes, financial advisors and financial coaches can be an excellent professional relationship to cross-refer clients who need the services of one or the other!
So whether you’ve heard of financial coaching but don’t know what it is, have been thinking about adding financial coaching services as an offering, want to become a financial coach instead of a financial advisor, or are simply interested in how your clients may benefit from working with a financial coach… I hope that you find this guest post from Garrett to be helpful!