The Importance of Wise Counsel

Excerpt Adapted From: The Financial Shepherd-
Why Dollars + Change = Sense by Glen Wright and Sy Pugh

At the end of this book, in the Top 50 Financial Terms section, we define what to look for when identifying Wise Counsel: advice, information, warning, direction, suggestions, recommendations, caution, guidance, or admonition that provides direction as to a decision or course of action or in setting standards or determining a course of action. When it comes to finances, rarely does Wise Counsel come in the form of friends and family who haven’t been professionally trained as financial planners or licensed counselors to help you face or navigate some of life’s more complex issues. If your money and your children’s futures are on the line, it is worth investing the time and energy to locate quality, well-trained, certified individuals who have some level of accountability for properly handling your money and money-related matters.

A good place to start is with referrals from respected individuals whose judgment you trust. Be prepared to ask a lot of questions and take notes to identify reputable financial planners and counselors in your area. It’s also worthwhile to research the recommendations of various professional associations such as the Financial Planning Association, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Licensure is the key when looking for a qualified counselor/therapist. Be mindful that the terms counselor and therapist are often used interchangeably. In fact, the terms themselves can be related to many other areas outside the intended use in this book. People without any specified skill sets are calling themselves counselors and therapists. For example, there are credit counselors and massage therapists. Neither of these two jobs requires the licensure process that identifies the service provider as a counselor/therapist that is highly skilled and trained in this area of expertise. The difference in the use of the term and the actual discipline is the licensure and the stringent requirements that are needed to obtain and maintain such licensure. This licensure comes with a governing body by which ethical guidelines are provided and enforced. This licensure also tells the consumer that this person, at the very least, completed a master’s degree program

from an accredited university. Among professional groups, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA), are good resources that should be considered when seeking wise counsel to help guide you and your family through uncertain or challenging situations.

[Glen] The Bible says in Proverbs 11:14 (KJV), “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” As a certified financial planner with a firm that has vast resources, I could help my clients with their banking needs. However, I feel that it would be a disservice to my clients because that is not my expertise. Keep in mind that your financial planner should act as the quarterback for your team and pass the ball to the appropriate receiver at the right time – with no interceptions. Remember, ultimately, you are the owner of the team, so make sure you have the right players on your squad.