Barbara Hause, MBA Financial Counselor serves clients nationwide by phone and in person from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Barbara Hause, MBA

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Financial Counseling and Financial Planning: They Go Hand-in-Hand

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The difference between financial counseling and financial planning is duration and function. Financial counseling is a short or mid-term relationship between client and counselor. Financial planning is a long-term relationship between client and planner. The goal of the financial counselor is for you to become independent by helping you build new skills and attitudes to improve your day-to-day relationship with money. A financial planner is someone you depend on long-term to take care of the money you are saving and making sure it is getting the best rate of return to meet your financial goals and priorities.

Why do financial counseling and financial planning make sense? Here is an example:

Couple A is coasting along, not stressing over money decisions and their bills are getting paid on time. They keep enough money in their checking account so they don’t worry about overdrawing their account and incurring overdraft fees. They seem to be living within their means. Couple B on the other hand is struggling from paycheck to paycheck which has caused a lot of stress in their relationship. They are paying extra bank fees for overdrafts and money transfers. They are also paying finance charges because they rely on credit cards to meet their monthly expenses when they run short of cash.

If couple A or B had to come up with a “ball park figure” of how much money they could save every month to contribute to an investment plan, do you think they could? Couple B is already strapped for money each month so they would probably “assume” they have nothing to save. Couple A, is comfortable now, but do they know how much money they could contribute to investment plan? Without taking a closer look at their day-to-day spending habits, like Couple B, Couple A probably does not have the clarity they need to determine exactly how much they can afford to save every month.

Whether you identify more with Couple A or B, most people can greatly benefit by meeting with a financial counselor to tweak or fine tune their day to day money habits and skills before or while they are working with a financial planner. Here are seven reasons why financial counseling and financial planning go hand-in-hand:

When you have financial clarity, improved spending habits, identified goals and priorities and peace with your partner you will achieve your ALL of your financial goals.