Financial Consultant: What They Do and Why You Need One

Overwhelmed with your finances but don’t even know where to start with getting them in order? You have a few options: bury your head in the sand, subscribe to personal finance blogs and podcasts to learn from others, or hire a financial professional.

Most of us aren’t taught the basics of building and protecting our wealth by our parents, and we’re certainly not educated about it in school. Instead, we’re just thrown into the deep end and expected to fend for ourselves when we become “adults” — often leading to complications.

What is a Financial Consultant? First things first: what is a financial consultant? A financial consultant provides personal finance advice and guidance to help individuals meet their goals and overcome obstacles along the way. Think about making investments, saving for college, retirement planning, insurance, and crafting long-term plans.

Financial Consultants vs. Financial Advisors On the surface, they look extremely similar. Both give financial advice to their clients on similar finance topics, both work directly with clients to guide them through their queries, and both can be either self-employed or work on behalf of companies.

Another potential distinction could be that financial consultants tend to limit themselves to occasional or one-off appointments with their clients. In contrast, financial advisors often foster a more long-term relationship.

Financial consultants (and advisors) can have different specializations, meaning they’re better equipped to help with some needs more than others. If you know you need help preparing for retirement, for example, you may be able to find a financial consultant who exclusively helps clients with this.

What Do Financial Consultants Do? When you first arrange to work with a financial consultant, it generally involves at least two appointments: one where the consultant tries to get an overall understanding of your goals, and another where they may begin to offer specific advice.

How to Find a Financial Consultant A great place to start is, a website dedicated to helping people find the right financial professionals and resources for their individual needs. You’ll find directories for financial advisors and coaches, plus hundreds of personal finance blogs and podcasts worth exploring.

When it comes to making such huge decisions about their finances, most people would prefer to meet someone in person to advise them. This is a great way to develop a relationship and build trust.

Financial Coaches  A financial coach will focus on your day-to-day money habits like budgeting, debt, and saving to help you identify which habits need to change to reach your bigger goals, then supports you while you work toward that change.

If you’re not used to paying for financial services, the idea of spending money to hire a financial consultant might seem indulgent. Maybe you feel guilty about it. But don’t think of this as an expense — instead, it’s an investment into your financial future. Sometimes, you need to spend a little money today to make a little more money tomorrow.

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