Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Accredited Financial Coach or Money Coach?
I am here to both help you navigate your relationship with money as well as educate you on bigger-picture financial decisions regarding saving, retirement, your job benefits, debt repayment, insurance policies and more. A financial or money coach helps you clarify and specify your goals, and then cheerleads you to accomplishing them.
Those struggling with or feeling lost about money might first need someone to simply take a birds-eye-view of their life and help them break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. As we work together, clients go deeper into goal setting and planning for the future, until you have a comprehensive understanding of not only your current financial life but how you can take action now to support your older self.
The AFCPE website states: “AFC® certification marks the highest standards of excellence in the field of financial counseling and education. AFC Professionals provide a holistic counseling framework of life cycle financial education. This allows the professional to provide a high-level, tailored approach based on the needs of each client to effectively analyze and create lasting financial behavior change.”
Are your financial coaching meetings held in-person or virtually?
Money coaching sessions are available no matter where you live. I use Zoom during virtual sessions so that we can talk face to face and also share screens. When you schedule online you’ll notice a virtual option for each type of service. For most coaching access to a personal computer is required, and the willingness to use google sheets and possibly other software as well.
When is a good time to come for my partner and I to come in for financial counseling?
If you and your partner share some, or all, of your money, it's a great time to get clear on your financial agreements and relationship with spending. The process of setting goals with your combined future in mind, and agreeing on the steps you'll take to get there, will make your relationship stronger. Whether your goals are to travel, save more for retirement, increase your charitable donations or better manage your home budget with four children, I can help you streamline and take the stress out of financial conversations. If your relationship is on the new side, by bringing all your information to the table and facing your financial picture head-on, you will tackle any shame you might have been carrying and avoid potential arguments in the future.
Here's a quick money quiz you can do with your partner to see how similar, or different you are with money management.
I don't know if I can afford financial coaching or if it makes sense for me to pay for it based on my income/debt. What should I do?
The quick answer to this question would be that I will help you save much more money in the long run (or even short run!) than financial coaching will cost you. Most coaches respond to this question by asking you, 'can you afford NOT to get financial counseling?' If you are over-indebted and struggling to pay each and every bill, and losing sleep at night, I would love to help you make a plan and have more peace of mind.
However, if your income is below the poverty line and you aren't even earning enough to pay for your basic needs, I suggest utilizing some of the amazing free financial resources on my resource page. You can get free coaching, help with your credit, and even credit-building loans no matter what your score may be. I volunteer with both Innovative Changes and ARPDX, both of which offer free financial advice nights and Q&A's.
At minimum I recommend you start tracking every penny you make and spend now, whether that’s with pen and paper, an excel sheet, a free app through your bank or by linking all your accounts to Mint. So much progress is made simply by gaining clarity about what’s happening.
I’m just starting my business and only work for myself part-time; is this a good time to get coaching?
It’s always an awesome time to get on top of your finances. If you are a beginning massage therapist/acupuncturist/nanny, etc, you may have some work that pays you as an employee, some jobs that give you a 1099, and some private clients. As long as you get a 1099, you are in essence the sole proprietor of a business as far as the IRS is concerned. This is the perfect time to create a business budget, separate your accounts, track your expenses and be ready for tax time. In the process of creating both a personal and business spending plan, you will learn what the expenses are related to being a business owner, even if you don’t have your own studio — and be ready to write them off.
What’s the difference between a financial coach and a financial planner or advisor?
Certified Financial Planners or Financial Advisors often charge a fee for managing your wealth and/or sell you services related to your investments or protecting your wealth, such as insurance.
A financial coach works with you to confidently manage your money and educates you on topics related to it that you have questions about — everything from understanding your pay stub, to the tax implications of your Health Savings Account, to calculating how much you would need to save now for your children’s education, to how much you can safely spend on buying a home with your current income.
Can you give me advice on investing?
I am here to help you confidently manage the money you make and determine how much you can safely invest. I can educate you on what options are out there for retirement saving and other investments, and the tax benefits of contributing to an IRA or a SEP. I can educate you on what fees are associated with various investment vehicles, and which ones are super user friendly.
I am not a financial advisor or financial planner, so I don't sell any products or manage investments, though I can give you resources for that. Many clients in Portland ask about Socially Responsible Investing and I am happy to connect you to advisors or brokers who offer that.