What is the difference between a Financial Counselor and a Financial Planner?
Simply put, a Financial Counselor works with people to help them develop the personal tools they need to make better financial decisions. In other words they deal with financial management.
Financial Counselors tend to have an in-depth knowledge of the financial difficulties that people face. They often help you to find financial products and services that are safe to use. They work on the basis of a set fee. That way they do not make money off your issues.
A Financial Planner generally gives advice on investments, retirement funds, and insurance policies. People tend to go to Financial Planners for help meeting big financial goals like buying a home, paying for children’s college, or saving for retirement.
They make commissions off of the sales of financial products. This can sometimes put them at odds with your best interests.
What does a Financial Counselor Do?
A Financial Counselor takes a holistic approach to your financial situation. They will review with you all your assets and liabilities. They will identify your spending patterns, analyze any credit issues, and calculate your income to debt ratio.
Then your Financial Counselor will assist you in creating an initial budget that works for YOU. It will be one that you can monitor and adjust as your situation changes over time.
Will a Counselor help me with with my overall budget?
Yes, absolutely. They will meet with you and look over your bank statements, loan documents, credit card statements, tax information and unpaid bills.
They will even help you open that stack of unopened envelopes with all those unpaid bills.
Then once this information is gathered and analyzed, the Financial Counselor will help you develop a monthly schedule of payments, create a flexible budget and develop a UNIQUE expense tracking system.
Will you help me raise my credit score?
It is quite possible that your Financial Counselor can help you do that.
It will mean that you have to develop and maintain a monthly budget. You will also have to be disciplined about paying down current debt without adding new debt.
How do you know this will work for me?
I know because of all the people I have already helped over the years. My clients and I go back to the basics. We look at the relationship they have developed with money. Then we identify obstacles that keep them from managing their finances successfully.
Together we determine their current financial reality and identify their money goals. We develop a spending plan and a unique EXPENSE TRACKING SYSTEM.
How does your system work?
First we have a consultation that lasts about one hour. We get to know each other and talk about your money concerns. We discuss what changes you want to make & what expectations you have. This allows us to see if we feel comfortable working together.
From there, we make a specific appointment that takes about 2.5 hours. Here we take look at your income & expenses for the past 3 to 6 months — bank statements, credit card statements, etc. Then we start to create your current financial reality — which is the best place to begin. We can then continue to move forward from there.
What do I need to do to get started?
Email me or call me and we will schedule your complimentary consultation. At that time we will talk about your relationship with money and I will also give you a list of things that you need to have on hand for me to help you.