Did you know that seating matters when working with clients? Are you aware of the rule-of-thumb versus the just-in-time approach to financial education? Have you heard of The Financial Check Up, Financial Remedies, and Financial First Aid? All of these topics and many more are covered in Financial Counseling — the new book edited by Dorothy Durband, Ryan Law and Angela Mazzolini.

As noted in Thomas Garman’s Foreword, Financial Counseling is a long overdue guidebook for both new and seasoned financial counselors. Edited by Dorothy Durband, Ryan Law, and Angela Mazzolini, Financial Counseling is a compilation of timely and timeless articles that provide solid reference material related to both the theory and practice of financial counseling. The contributors and editors represent a cross-section of financial scholars and practitioners often collaborating to provide a balanced perspective of key issues in the profession.

The content of the book covers not only the substance of personal finance as Delgadillo and Law’s contribution entitled “Personal Finance Competencies in the Practice of Financial Counseling,” but careful attention is paid to the unique nature of counseling clients on financial matters. Counseling-specific topics include both classic and contemporary theories, communication techniques and financial decision-making frameworks. The editors also give much needed attention to contemporary issues such as diversity and self-awareness.

This text is also a very practical reference. There are several worksheets and sample documents that a counselor can easily adopt and put into practice immediately. In fact, a counselor could build a comprehensive practice guide by making use of the client information sheet and consent form and then making use of the various worksheets as needed. These worksheets cover debt payment, goal planning, income, spending, and more.

An early-career counselor could make use of this text to build a practice and seek practical advice on everything from furniture placement to handling difficult clients. A seasoned counselor could benefit by using the text as an opportunity to sharpen skills and view the profession through a new lens. For example, the Goetz, Durband, and Mazzolini chapter on self-awareness is a refreshing look at how our own attributes impact our relationships and interactions with clients. I was also pleased to see that the editors incorporated the AFC® program core competencies as well as the guide to reading research articles. Counselors at any stage of their career could benefit from gaining an appreciation for scholarly efforts in personal finance. These eight steps make it easy to read scholarly work and use this information in a financial counseling practice.

I recommend this book to those seeking the Accredited Financial Counselor® designation and those of us who have already entered the practice. I see it as an essential tool for counselors at any career stage.

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