It can be hard when you are looking for financial advice to know what type of professional to ask. So, I think it is important to understand exactly what a financial counselor can do for you.
What I Can Do:
As a financial counselor, my job is to help you understand your finances and personal finance topics. I can help you evaluate your current situation, set goals, and better utilize your resources so you can reach your goals. The process is one of learning and self-discovery that will lead you to make better and more informed financial decisions as you move forward. Through the process you will gain a better understanding of different financial topics and you will develop problem solving strategies that you can use as other problems arise.
What Makes Me Qualified:
I am an AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®). This means that I have completed the study requirements and passed an examination overseen by the AFCPE (Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education). This also means that on an annual basis I have to complete certain requirements and continue my education to keep my certification current. The content areas covered in this certification include financial statements, credit and debt, consumer protection, making major purchases, managing financial risk, investment basics, and estate planning basics. As an AFC® I also must adhere to the AFCPE’s code of ethics. To learn more about the AFC® distinction click here.
I also have a Masters Certificate in Family Financial Planning. This program included courses in taxation, investing, insurance planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. I bring all of this knowledge to my financial counseling sessions to help you understand your options and learn more about your finances.
What I can’t Do:
While I have some of the same knowledge as a financial advisor or financial planner, there are things that they can do for you that I cannot. I cannot invest your money or manage it for you. Instead, I will give you the knowledge and skills to manage it yourself or help you find a licensed individual to invest it for you. I also cannot draw up legal documents. I can help you understand why you need a will, or the different types of trusts that you could form, but for the documents themselves a lawyer is necessary. Finally, I cannot sell you any products. I do not sell insurance or any type of investment products.