Financial counseling work with clients of color is unique and can be complex. There is a need for a better
understanding of culturally aware and competent counseling approaches with clients of color to provide effective
services. Nine financial professionals who work with clients of color were interviewed in this qualitative
phenomenological study resulting in three emergent themes: beyond the numbers, building a bridge, and
switching gears. The lessons learned from their experiences were endorsements to expand the focus of counseling
beyond the problem and the individual client to the larger cultural context and familial situation, to devote efforts
to the counselor’s relationship with clients of color, and to be adaptive and flexible in the counseling process.

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