Beware the Self-Appointed "Coach" Who Will Help Steer Your Money Life
Too many "coaches" are out there offering their "expertise" in everything from personal goal attainment, writing stories or handling your finances - be highly skeptical of all of them.
“I need somebody. (Help), not just anybody. (Help) you know I need someone, help…”(thanks Beatles).
Don’t we all need somebody at some time in our lives? But those times may be when we’re most vulnerable to self-appointed “coaches.” Where did this come from today, and why am I writing about it? Allow me to explain.
Nora Ephron knew, and Harvey Fierstein knows that everything is material, and today I was in a situation where, unexpectedly, the material came to me clothed in light blue scrubs. A friend was having minor surgery, and I waited to take her home, never knowing I’d hear something that needed to be included in my substack.
Operating rooms and the holding pens where they stack up patients waiting their turn on the table are often not quiet areas, and the staff reveals more about themselves than they suspect. It happened with an anesthesiologist.
I’m not clear how the matter came up as the physician was attaching a port for administering medications during the surgery. During the brief interaction, physician proffered they had a second “profession,” money coach.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always concerned—err, skeptical—when someone says they’ll handle my money because they’re a financial counselor, money manager, or financial planner. The word “finance” lights up in my mind in vibrant red neon, including BEWARE!
Your money should be like your firstborn, carefully nurtured to grow into maturity.
The physician also said they were teaching money management online. My friend asked the question most of us would, “Where do you teach?” Well, the money coach never answered. All this person said was “online.” I would have asked how anyone with a medical degree and a residency found time to become a “money coach.”
Of course, some people must, I assume, think this person is qualified somehow, and they give their future over and wait for the great advice. Undoubtedly, this person will charge for their services, and perhaps that’s where the actual “money” comes into this coaching. I’d love to peek at some of the advice doled out to the unwitting. Aren’t there any rules on who can call themselves a “money coach” or a “financial planner?”
The rules appear somewhat vague regarding what terms anyone may use regarding money, but finance is another matter. There are efforts to certify financial planners. However, certification isn’t a legal mandate and doesn’t imply any legal penalties.
Certification means some groups agreed that you met their requirements for them to say you’re “certified.” Doesn’t satisfy me. I once saw an organization (that’s open to question) that would certify someone as a forensic psychologist for $250 and a small 10-question test. And I saw a psychologist who hung their certification on his office wall. Know what I thought of him? I shall not say here.
Most rules or laws are strictly related to finance in terms of investments, not sitting down and talking about how to disburse your current assets to make money. Remember, this person said they’re a “money coach,” not an investment specialist. No, they don’t need to adhere to the investment advisor codes. Do you have any questions? Check with your state’s office for financial advisors.
An investment adviser and an investment adviser representative have a great deal of influence over the financial affairs of others – the clients. For that reason, state securities offices take an interest in how the investment adviser does its job. Every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico has a registration or licensing requirement for investment advisers.
I believe the word coach is in the realm of “anything goes,” and no one has placed any restrictions on it. After all, how many coaches are there in all the school or after-school sports programs? Some clubs in Canada have strict rules about ice skating coaches, but here? I don’t think so. Probably anyone the parents of the kids think is reliable and skilled gets to coach. But that’s also where pedophiles hang out, people.
Suppose you decide that the money coach is the person for you and your money. You agree on the amount you will pay, the funds they may place in something that will increase the amount of money you have, and then it all collapses. Maybe they give you a simple money plan or “teach” you about how to handle your money. Now, what do you do? Seek an attorney or contact the US government because you’ve heard this may be widespread and somehow borders on illegal behavior?
What about that online school where this money person works? Do they have culpability in your potential losses? Should you consider a class-action lawsuit against it?
I’m not an attorney, and I am not providing legal advice here. My primary purpose in writing this article is to inform you that words can mean whatever someone wants them to mean, and “coach” is one of those words. Don’t be misled or fooled by the letters after someone’s name, their clothes, or the car they drive.
I once worked with a young woman who wanted to meet music stars. She’d go to Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf’s, select an outfit, go to a hotel for the weekend where a star was performing and then return the outfit to the store on Monday. Stores like that always believe the customer, and she knew it. Yes, she did meet a star or two, but nothing panned out.