5 Traits of a Great Financial Coach


Whether it’s a coach, a teacher, or a mentor, most of us have experienced the benefit of learning from someone more experienced than us.

Take sports, for example. We’ve all seen college sports franchises win championships year-after-year with different athletes, only because they’re led by an outstanding coach. We’ve also seen our favorite athletes’ performance falter under poor coaching. While the best coaches are not necessarily the best athletes, they typically are experienced leaders with proven techniques that help their players win.

None of us would expect our children to play a soccer game without a coach, yet many of us attempt to manage something as important as our financial future without guidance from an expert. Studies show that experienced financial advisors improve financial outcomes by helping their clients make educated decisions within the context of their overall financial picture.

Recent research by Vanguard outlines how financial advisors help their clients reach financial goals, not by outperforming the market with specific investments, but by offering ongoing “financial planning, discipline, and guidance.” The same study shows that financial advisors can potentially add the equivalent of  3% in annual net returns through ongoing behavioral coaching and support.

While many investment professionals market themselves based on the performance of the portfolios they manage, data shows that an advisor’s impact on a client’s financial success comes from the advisor’s ability to coach. At Keen Wealth Advisors, we work closely with clients to provide support and guidance to help them pursue their most important goals. We believe that great financial coaches support their clients by doing the following:

  1. They help us see the bigger picture. Good advisors work with their clients to uncover the goals most important to them decades into the future. By understanding and keeping track of the goals their clients are most passionate about, advisors can build a comprehensive financial strategy to help pursue those goals. However, when life gets in the way, many clients are tempted to make financial decisions that will compromise their long-term goals. A good coach will remind them of the goals they’ve set and help avoid mistakes that will derail their plans.
  2. They’re experts at what they do. Great coaches help us think outside the box and see more efficient options. Working with an outstanding golf pro can help you find a small improvement to your swing that you may never uncover on your own. The same is true for experienced advisors with technical expertise. Great advisors work with a team of financial experts and use powerful technologies to offer alternative strategies and more efficient investment options. Often, by working with an expert advisor, you may pay less in fees and taxes than you would by investing on your own.
  3. They give us confidence and peace of mind. A large benefit of a relationship with a financial advisor is the trust, education, and communication involved. By simplifying complex financial concepts and answering questions, an advisor can help empower clients to make decisions in which they feel confident and secure. During market volatility, proactive communication from an advisor can help investors stay calm and avoid making mistakes based on emotional responses to temporary downturns. By finding a trusted advisor and developing a strong relationship, investors can gain peace of mind and reduce the stress associated with financial planning.
  4. They direct our focus. Over a lifetime of financial planning, investors will encounter various challenges and opportunities. By keeping our attention directed toward the most pressing challenges and taking advantage of the greatest opportunities, excellent advisors help us be more financially successful throughout our lives. An advisor who is accountable for helping clients meet their long-term goals, not just managing their investments, can create awareness when new challenges and opportunities arise.
  5. They play both offense and defense. Many clients come to an advisor wanting to create a plan to grow their savings in time to retire. However, experienced advisors know that financial planning is both about accumulating assets, but also protecting from losses and mitigating risk. Great advisors help clients avoid unnecessary losses and anticipate when to become more defensive in their investment strategy.

Working with someone who brings out our best self and helps us reach our goals is inspiring and fulfilling. At Keen Wealth Advisors, we encourage you to find a coach who you trust, who is an expert at what they do, and who helps you feel confident and excited about your financial future.

About Bill KeenBill Keen

Bill Keen is the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, an independent Registered Investment Adviser serving affluent clients preparing for retirement and the host of the Keen On Retirement podcast. Bill has more than 20 years of financial services experience and holds the CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR designation. Bill created Keen Wealth Advisors to build one of the country’s most personal and trusted wealth and retirement advisory firms. He is passionate about serving his clients as a trusted financial coach.

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