Are you looking for one-on-one financial coaching and help, but don't think you want to go to a full, in-person, financial planner? Maybe SmartPath can help.
SmartPath is a membership-based online financial coaching service. You get access to a financial planner that can help you (virtually) through your financial life. For your membership fee, you can reach out to your coach as much as you like - from setting up calls to messaging them.
While they aren't a full financial planner (like Facet Wealth), they offer a lot of similar services in a similar way. Check out SmartPath and see if they make sense in our review below.
- One-on-one financial coaching with a financial planner
- Affordable monthly membership fee
- Reach out to your coach as much as you'd like
What Is SmartPath’s Financial Coaching?
SmartPath’s financial coaching is a one-on-one financial coaching service. It is part of SmartPath Inc.
The CEO and co-founder is Alok Deshpande. Deshpande is the author of Fuel: The Most Important Number in Your Financial Life.
SmartPath was founded in 2010 and is based in Atlanta. SmartPath received a seed round of $120,000 in 2016 and a series A round of $2.7 million in 2019.
“Access to quality financial education and coaching is critical to help striving Americans gain the skills needed to effectively manage resources and attain assets,” said Deshpande, in a press release. “Without a roadmap and the accountability of a coach, people can feel overwhelmed. We believe everyone deserves the chance to live their financial dreams.”
SmartPath financial coaching doesn’t provide investment advice. The company is working on offering investment services through SmartPath Advisors, LLC (https://www.smartpathadvisors.co).
What Do They Offer?
SmartPath financial coaching provides affordable financial coaching to individuals, as well as to employees through their employer. SmartPath is not a tax advisor, legal counselor, financial advisor, or investment advisor. They do not sell financial products such as insurance, annuities, or stocks.
SmartPath is focused on helping individuals organize their financial life, saving them money, and answering their financial questions.
SmartPath claims that on average, over a year, their clients experience:
- 87% less financial stress
- 90% more financial confidence
- 12% more household income
- 11% more household savings
- 31% less credit card debt
SmartPath uses the formula FUEL = Income − Expenses. Basically, spending less than you make allows you to have money left over each month. SmartPath uses FUEL and the 7-Tank System. You take the FUEL and fill these seven tanks:
- Company match for retirement
- One-month emergency fund
- Free from bad debt
- 3–6-month emergency fund
- 20% of income to retirement
- Children’s college fund
- Live your bucket list
If you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, the FUEL and 7-Tank System has a similar echo. Establishing FUEL is where SmartPath coaches come in. Coaches help you work through building out a budget, figuring which debts to pay first, and answering financial questions specific to your situation.
If you only had the FUEL and 7-Tank System, you might not reach your financial goals. Having a real person available to you while you work through a new system gives you the encouragement to continue. Your coach will also provide guidance and accountability.
SmartPath is a subscription-based service. Your membership includes the following (as advertised on their website):
- Your own financial coach — you’re never alone
- Accountability — they’ll keep you on track
- An app for those who hate budgeting
- Ways to save and make more money
- Debt pay-down strategies that actually work
- Student loan, home, and car buying analysis
- Members-only interactive webinars
- Over 1,547 guides, walk-throughs, videos, and insights
SmartPath has lots of educational material on their website that is accessible to anyone. Topics include debt and credit, family and finance, retirement, and savings and investing.
SmartPath also offers financial coaching to companies. Companies are able to see what kind of impact the service is having on their employees through engagement reports.
Working with a Coach
Some of the SmartPath coaches are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals. Others have backgrounds in personal finance.
After you are paired with a coach, you’ll participate in your first call. After that, you can contact your coach as much as you want. Your coach will also contact you at least once per month via email or text.
Coaches can’t provide help on the following:
- Wage garnishments
- Defaulted student loans
- Multiple debts in collections
- Debt settlement plans
- Tax advice
- Credit counseling
- Business-owner advice
Are There Any Fees?
Yes — the membership costs $39/month. You can cancel anytime.
How Do I Get Started?
Go to SmartPath and click “Meet Your Coach.”
Is My Money and Information Safe?
Yes. SmartPath uses bank-grade encryption on its website. Your information will not be sold or shared.
Is It Worth It?
Yes. Anyone who needs help sorting out their finances and trying to get ahead will likely benefit from SmartPath’s services. At $39, the service is affordable. If for whatever reason you don’t like it, you can cancel at any time. They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
While SmartPath isn’t an investment advisor, it does fill a financial need for a large number of people. If your finances are in disarray, you probably aren’t ready for an investment advisor anyway.
That is where SmartPath comes in. It is the basic financial step needed before you move into more advanced financial management topics and services.