Updated: 4 days ago
As in any field today, the info available regarding personal financial management is vast. A real ocean of information, and most of it is free: websites by consultants, government organizations, companies, business pages, groups on Facebook, groups on WhatsApp, YouTube channels, books, lectures. We may learn some new things by using these free resources, but the flood of info can also be just too much, very confusing, not personal. As a result many of us just decide not to try, not to apply anything. We remain underwater in this huge scary ocean.
A similar plethora exists in the means of applying the info: workshops, courses (online, offline), various digital services, and of course personal guidance and coaching, by non-profits or professionals whom made this field their livelihood.
Some people turn info into practice, on their own and successfully, even after just attending a lecture or reading an article. But these are rare individuals, especially in the financial arena. So assuming you do not belong to that group, and you have decided that that's it, you are tackling this field, which you have avoided so far, or which you've tried alone and didn't succeed, and you start searching for a way to not only learn but also implement what's needed, you'll soon hit the question: how do I choose the correct way which suits me? Choosing the correct way is not trivial at all. To make the right choice (and hopefully get it right first time), you will need to have awareness of yourself, of what works for you, especially in an area that seems scary from the outside to most people (dealing with money, with official organizations, bureaucracy, etc.), and which isn't a "touch and go" project (because financial management is not a one-off, it's more like laundry :)).
I know for myself, for example, that although I am self-taught, in many cases I prefer to pay for personal one-on-one coaching sessions, which very quickly close open issues which bother me, instead of spending a lot of hours wandering in YouTube and groups. And other times I prefer to purchase an online course which I can watch and implement the recommendations when it suits me. Which way I choose depends on the topic of course.
So - be really honest with yourself, and decide what works for you, and what your goals are (by "you" I mean also in plural, if you are a couple, as financial management is usually something which pertains to both of you together). Please do not be tempted by courses which sound good but are likely to contain more information than hands on implementation (and are sometimes not cheap at all). I have clients who are "victims" of such courses, which looked shimmery and bright from the outside, the creators sold them mountains and dreams but at the end they did not suit them at all but by that time it was too late to ask for a refund. There is naturally a price difference between the various options, but when the means is perfectly suited for you, the cost is dwarfed by the terrific results, and the order and calm which accompany these results. These are much more meaningful than just the accumulation of knowledge (not for nothing is the slogan on my site "doing gives us power").
Another thing to know is that the field of financial management is broad and includes many sub-fields, and most consultants do not deal with all of them, which is a good thing. They range from budget management, understanding and organizing policies, pension consulting, mortgage consulting, to investment consulting and claiming your social rights.
If you have decided that personal coaching is the way for you to succeed in this endeavor, and you are clear about your goals, then first of all bear in mind that you will have to open up a lot about your life and especially its financial aspects, let yourself be guided, and to dedicate a certain amount of money and time towards this.
The next challenge is to find "the one" that's right for you. Yes, almost like in a marriage but I promise you it's easier.
To this end, I want to suggest a methodology and criteria for choosing "THE coach" for you:
1. Ask for recommendations from people you trust (less from Facebook groups, and if you do ask there, then be very specific about your goals and the type of coach that is right for you, and in general, rather start by searching in groups because most likely there already are many such recommendation posts).
2. Examine the Facebook page and website of those recommended coaches. Read there about their experience and training, see if you connect to the content, colors, images.
3. Contact (by email or WhatsApp) the consultants who passed your screening in step 2 (3-4 are definitely enough), and in the message write to them what you are looking for, what your goals are, and a little about who you are.
4. A phone conversation with the coach - If the coach deals with the subjects in which you are interested, a good coach will set up a short phone call with you to understand your specific needs. During this chat you will also be able to examine his/her personality, sense of humor, and the chemistry between you – these are super important for such a process (do not underestimate your gut feeling). If they don't specialize in the subject in which you are interested, then maybe they can refer you to someone they know who does. Coaches want successes, so a great coach will tell you if there is no match between you or if the timing is wrong for you.
5. Get a proper written quote from the coaches, detailing the type of process, its structure, goals, costs, cancellation terms, tools which will be used, where the meetings take place, the number of meetings and their length, if they offer an option for "hand-holding" after the initial analysis is done and the conditions for doing so, requirements from you before the first meeting, who will you be actually dealing with (some leave the actual work to an apprentice who is no way as skilled as the coach!), what is their availability for inquiries and getting help. To me, this proposal is of huge importance, it distills the expectations between you, especially in an area in which accuracy and thoroughness are cornerstones (a messy consultant just cannot be an excellent consultant in this field!).
6. If you are still debating between 2 coaches at this point, it is worth having an hour-long introductory meeting with each before making a final decision, even if these are not free (a good advisor will give you a lot of value even in one hour-long meeting).
7. Get back to all those who sent you quotes but you did not end up choosing, thank them for the offers, and explain that you currently chose another route (and if there is a specific reason you would like to share with them why you chose someone else - it is quite acceptable).
8. A word about the ongoing coaching / running buddy / hand holding option (after the initial analysis/coaching phase). Not every financial coach offers this, but there are more than a few people who absolutely need it and can afford it, as they know themselves well enough to realize that this is the only way for them to move forward and implement all that's required. So if you think this is what you will need, it is very important that you ask if there is such an option, at the phone call stage (step 4). In my experience, those who choose to continue with personal ongoing coaching are people aged 45+, some are retired, some have their own businesses, even LLC's, Hebrew is not always their mother tongue, their income is above average and so are the expenses, managing their finances and all the "paperwork" of life are top priorities for them but they are just unable to succeed on their own, and they know it. Ongoing running buddy (VIP service as I call it) is one of my strongest areas, I have quite a few clients that I am accompanying for many years now, and the results we get together are just amazing, including in the "bottom line". This is how one of my dearest clients illustrated once the effect of my service on her brain (before and after):
I recommend using similar criteria and methodology if what works for you in this field are courses or workshops.