There is a spectrum of professional which offer services, from those who provide advice to those with little or no savings to professional who help people with savings, who want to play a minimal role in the day-to-day activities of their client’s financial lives. Most people need someone who falls somewhere within these two extremes.
Some people might benefit highly from a ‘financial coach.’ A coach works closely with someone who needs to improve their fundamental financial habits “to change their behaviors around money.” Think of a financial coach as similar to a personal trainer who helps their client get out of debt, understand their emotions about money, and then free them to overcome their obstacles to good financial management.
On the other end of the spectrum are financial advisors who simply provide services which are mostly hands-off and transactional or product-focused. A broker or somehow who manages a portfolio. They might meet with their clients once per quarter, just to keep them updated about how their assets are performing.
Financial planners’ services fall somewhere in between the services provided by either coaches or advisors. Planners often analyze their clients’ entire financial life from cash and debt management, insurance, investments, tax and estate planning. One expert described financial planning as “a disciplined process to clearly define financial goals, gather information about resources available to meet those goals, and developing a plan to achieve them.”