In This Article
Confused about when to use a financial counselor? Have questions about the differences between an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
In this episode, Tiffany will help you understand the roles of various financial professionals and determine which one is right for your needs. Learn how a financial counselor can assist you with budgeting, debt, savings, and more!
Plus, find out when it’s time to turn to a CFP for long-term financial security. Get informed now and make sure you’re on the right track with your finances!
To book a consultation with Tiffany to find out if she can help you, visit https://academy.moneytalkwitht.com/15-minute-consultation
Intro/Outro: You know what it is? That’s right. It’s time to talk money with your money nerd and financial coach. Now tighten those purse strings and open those ears. It’s the Money Talk with Tiff podcast.
Tiffany Grant: Hey, hey, this is another Tiffany’s take, right answer your money questions to have. Your question answered on the podcast, go to www.moneytalkwitht.com/tiffany and I’ll be more than happy to answer for you. There’s a feature on there where you can send me an audio recording as well. And of course I keep everything anonymous, so don’t worry.
Uh, but I would love to hear some of y’all’s voices on the podcast too. And even if it doesn’t make it to the podcast, I’d love to hear some of the questions you have and hear some voices. You know, everybody does emails or texts or dms, but I wanna hear some voices. So please go on the website and submit your question and that would make my day.
So today’s question I had someone ask, when should I use a financial counselor? And this is a very nuanced question, but I’ll try to explain it in a way that’s as broad as possible. Um, and then you can just make a determination yourself if you’re listening. So, First and foremost, let’s talk about what a financial counselor is and what a financial counselor does.
So I’m an accredited financial counselor. What I specialize in is helping people. Budget, pay off debt, save. Maybe they’re trying to save for vacation or a house or a car, you know, whatever financial goals you may have. Now, I like to think of it this way. An a F C accredited financial counselor like myself helps you with your short to medium term goals.
So things that you’re trying to accomplish, I would say within the next five years or so. Right? And then a cfp. So a certified financial planner. They help you with things that are very, very long term, like retirement. So I’m helping people pay off their debt. I’m helping people budget their money coming in.
I’m helping people with those types of things. And so with that being said, when should you use a financial counselor? So you might be shocked at my answer because what I have seen is a lot of people come to me. When things are not going as they planned, right? So I have a variety of different clients, um, people making minimum wage all the way up to people making multiple six figures.
Okay? So there’s really no income requirement cuz everybody needs help at some point. I will say how you determine if you need my help is if you find yourself on a hamster wheel. So you’re finding yourself, you know, every month you’re not making it towards your goals, you know, or you don’t even have goals.
Let’s start there. If you don’t have financial goals, I can help you, you know, get those hammered out and help you create those. Um, so if you don’t have any financial goals, you have no idea what you’re doing. You just know that you’re working and the money’s going. You don’t know how it’s going. You don’t know where it’s going.
You don’t even know if it’s helping you get towards these goals. If you have goals, you don’t even know how it’s getting towards your goals, then that is when you would engage with me because I can help you with all of that different type of stuff. Um, that is what I specialize in. I feel like there’s a misconception that people only come to me when they don’t make that much, or they’re barely making ends meet, or, you know, they’re in the negative every month, and that’s absolutely not true.
As a matter of fact, most of my clients are people that are able to live comfortably. It’s just that they’re not having their money go towards the goals. That they have in their head, if that makes sense. So like they’re living comfortably, but they’re making their minimum payments or they’re living comfortably but they’re not making as much headway on their debt or as much headway towards, um, saving for a house or they really don’t even know where to.
Start when it comes to getting a house. Um, there’s so many different things that people are going through when they come to me, but I’ve also had clients, don’t get me wrong, where they aren’t making ends meet where every month they’re living paycheck to paycheck or every week paycheck to paycheck. So it can.
It’s, it’s a wide range of people, but I will say that you would need my help, or you should reach out to me if you fall into the category of not being able to figure out where to put your money. So your goals, if you are having issues managing your money, so your budget. Or you just need some guidance on next steps to take.
I’ve helped some people who had budgeting down, who were making headway on their goals, and they just needed me to step in to give them an unbiased, outsider opinion on where they should go next. You know, oh, I’ve already paid off this debt, I’ve already done this. Now what should I do? Um, and I’m here to step in with that as well, or not even knowing what the next step of a process is.
I can help with that. So, Like I said, this question is very nuanced, but I wanted to try to answer it as cohesive and as broad as possible. Uh, really you should engage with a financial counselor really at any stage you’re in, even if it’s just to get a check in. Like I. Am I on the right track or am I doing things the way I should be doing?
I like to look at myself and practitioners like me as, uh, a personal trainer, right? So you already know how to do your jumping jacks, how to do your sit-ups, so on and so forth, right? But you need someone to teach you, to write technique and to hold you accountable, and that’s what we’re here to do as financial counselors.
I have a lot of relationships with certified financial planners or CFPs. If they come across clients that need help with what I consider the basic stuff is what I help with. And so they’ll send clients over to me to help with that. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just I’m here to pretty much handhold you and take you step by step on what you need to do.
And a lot of other financial professionals don’t do that. So that’s kind of where a financial counselor comes into play. And it is super helpful with getting clarity. It’s super helpful with getting on track. Um, it’s super helpful with staying on track because like I said, there’s a lot of clients that come to me that are on track, but they just have difficulty staying on track, and so I can help with all of those things.
So I hope that answers your question on when you should use a financial counselor. Now I also want to hit on when you should use. A financial advisor or um, must say a C F P. If you are already, you know, on track with all your, you have financial goals, you’re on track with all of them, um, you make pretty good money and you got the basics down, and you just need someone to manage your assets and make sure that you have, um, you know enough in retirement or to the day you die, that is when you would reach out to.
A financial planner versus reaching out to me, if that makes sense. And so if you’re already, you already know what you’re doing, you got the basics down packed, and you just need somebody to manage your investments and things and make sure that you’re on track, um, in that regard, then that’s when a financial planner would come into play.
So I’ve had people come to me where they needed me for a little bit. But now that they’re on, you know, the right track, they’re doing everything, they’re done pretty much with my services. Now it’s time to graduate to a certified financial planner to take you, you know, until death, right? Um, and so that’s kind of how we play with each other as financial professionals and how we can best support you.
Uh, so I would also keep that in mind as well, if you are in the market of a for financial professional. Just understand what each type is there for, because what I don’t want is for you to reach out to like, let’s say a financial planner or a financial advisor, and then they never contact you back because they don’t think that you’re a client that would benefit from their services.
And now you’re like, oh my gosh. Like I tried to reach out to get help and. You know, I just was ghosted because I’ve heard that happen. I’ve had clients come to me like that and they’ve been ghosted, but really it’s because it’s the wrong type of financial expert to help you at that point. And so that’s why I wanted to make sure I answered this question on the podcast so that way you all can better understand, even if you don’t work with me, just better understand what these different financial, um, professionals.
Do and what their um, role is for. So hopefully that answered your question. If you’re listening, whoever submitted this, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. And if you’re listening and you want your question answered, just go to www.moneytalkwitht.com/tiffany. If you were listening to this episode and you’re like, you know what, Tiffany?
That sounds like me. I need help. Well, I am here to help you. You can find out more information about how to work with me on the website, and also, I didn’t even mention this on the podcast yet. You can get a free financial plan a free. Financial plan that gives you some steps and tips on what you should be working on, so you input all your information and based on that information, it gives you some suggestions and rec recommendations on ways to improve your financial situation.
Um, it also gives you a score how well you score in relation to other people your age and where you live. It’s really cool and it’s available for free. You can find the link. On my website, money Talk with t.com and hopefully that just gives you some clarity. So even if you get in there, put in your information.
You’re like, I really don’t need Tiffany’s help, but at least now I have some steps that I can take to improve. Boom, there you go. And it’s available for you. So highly recommend checking that out. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Bye.
Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening, joining and being a part of the Money Talk with Tiff podcast this week.
You can check Tiff out every Thursday for a New Money Talk podcast, but if you just can’t wait until next week, you can listen to previous podcast episodes at Money Talk with t.com or follow tiff on all social media platforms at Money Talk with T. Until next time. Spend wise by spending less than you make a word to the money wise is always.
Tiffany Grant: Sufficient.
Figuring out when it’s time to seek help from a financial professional can be confusing. In the world of personal finance, there are two major types of financial consultants: the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) and the Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Which one should you choose? In this blog post, we’ll break down the roles of both financial professionals and help you decide which one is right for your specific needs.
What is the difference between an AFC and a CFP?
- Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC): AFCs help with short to medium-term financial goals like budgeting, paying off debt, and saving for a particular goal. The AFC designation is achieved through rigorous coursework and practical experience.
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP): CFPs assist with longer-term goals, such as retirement, estate planning, and tax planning. They have also undergone extensive training and exams in financial planning and investment management.
Who can benefit from financial counseling?
- People of all income levels can receive help from a financial counselor.
- If you are struggling to make progress towards your financial goals or need guidance on the next steps, a financial counselor might be the right choice for you.
- Financial counselors are useful for periodic check-ins to help ensure you are on the right track with your finances.
When should you hire a CFP, and when should you work with an AFC?
Work with an AFC if:
- You need help with budgeting and managing cash flow.
- You want assistance with paying off debt.
- You’re saving for a specific goal, like a down payment on a house.
Hire a CFP if:
- Your financial situation is more stable, and you’re ready to focus on long-term financial security.
- You need help managing investments.
- You’re planning for retirement or setting up an estate.
Collaboration is Key
It’s essential to know that financial counselors and financial planners often collaborate and refer clients to one another. If you seek help from one type of consultant and find that you need different assistance, these professionals can collaborate and find the best solutions for your needs.
Understanding the role of each financial professional can help you make informed decisions about who to hire. A financial counselor like Tiffany Grant (AFC) can assist with short to medium-term goals, while a Certified Financial Planner can help ensure your long-term financial security. By selecting the right professional, you can make sure that you’re on the right track with your personal finances.
If you want more advice on personal finance, make sure to listen to the full episode on “Money Talk With Tiff.” And don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode!