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This NebGuide explains what financial counseling is, who needs it and why, when it is needed, where to find a qualified financial counselor, and more.

What Is Financial Counseling?

Financial counselors help people learn to manage their own financial resources. As a process, financial counseling involves at least two people--the person who counsels, and the person or persons being counseled.

Financial counseling usually extends over a period of time, since most true change does not take place immediately. Ultimately all decisions are left to the person being counseled.

Financial planning involves setting financial goals and objectives, developing an action plan, and using assets to implement the financial plan.

Financial counseling, on the other hand, involves reorganizing financial management attitudes and practices so assets can be found for financial planning purposes. Financial counseling may be needed before financial planning can take place.

Financial counseling typically involves financial problem solving, setting immediate and long-range goals, cash flow budgeting, record keeping, and perhaps debt restructuring through negotiation with creditors.