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How a money coach can help

Just as a personal trainer helps you get back into physical shape or maintain your form, a money coach helps clients do the same financially, says Tracy Watson, director of communications at Money Mentors, a money coaching organization based in Alberta. "We train people on how to manage their money," she says. "A money coach would look at what a client's financial situation is, what their financial goals are and help them work through that -- and motivate them along the way."

It's a new profession, says Sheila Walkington, a money coach at Money Really Matters in Vancouver, B.C. When she became a money coach seven years ago, she was one of the very first in Canada. "We help clients get out of debt, merge finances as a couple, plan for financing a maternity leave if they're starting a family, buy their first home and work through financial transitions."

Money coach versus financial planner
While money coaches are similar to financial planners in many ways, Walkington says they are also quite different as they spend a lot of time coaching, educating and getting to know their clients.

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What's more, money coaches differ from financial planners as they don't earn commission or sell a product, says Walkington. "We charge a fee for our time and we're able to spend as much time as needed to create a plan. And we can focus on areas that don't generally generate revenue for a traditional financial planner like getting out of debt, which is a really big need for clients," she says.

How a money coach can help
But money coaches aren't only for those people struggling with debt. "Lots of clients who have a good financial base want to make sure they're doing the right things so they can consider retirement in a few years or focus on their [financial] goals," says Walkington.

Money coaches are great for learning how to move financially forward, says Watson. "A lot of people aren't motivated to learn the basics of budgeting or know how to get themselves started on setting some goals for retirement," says Watson.

What it costs
In terms of cost, it varies depending on who you're working with. While some coaches charge per session, others offer packages with a flat rate spread out over time. "It takes a while to put the plan together, to make sure it's working, to tweak it and to make sure [clients] understand what they need to do," says Walkington. "It's all an all-inclusive service and we usually don't let people go until they have a good sense of what they need to do to go forward."

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-- Posted January 14, 2011
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