Finance & Wealth

What Is a Financial Coach?

By Danielle Klimashousky | Apr 6, 2020
Danielle Klimashousky | ACHNET

If you need help getting your finances in order or learning the basics of budgeting, you might consider seeking the help of a financial coach. A financial coach is different from other financial professionals. They spend more time helping their clients understand the fundamentals of finances, rather than recommending investments and managing portfolios like financial advisors. Read on to learn more about financial coaches, what they do and how to become one.

What Is a Financial Coach?

A financial coach helps their clients with the basics of money management. They work with clients who may have a bad relationship with money or who have other obstacles keeping them from managing their finances well. Their goal is to help their clients develop healthy money habits that will last. Financial coaches educate their clients on the basics of personal finance and work with them to create a financial plan that reflects their goals. They also empower their clients to take responsibility for their decisions and provide accountability as their clients work to implement the lessons they learn.

Financial coaches work with their clients over the period of several weeks. Often, they meet with clients weekly or biweekly to provide advice and check on progress. The full process consists of a number of steps. The first step is building awareness around spending habits, usually by tracking daily, weekly and monthly spending. The next step is defining the client’s financial goals, whether it’s setting a budget, creating an emergency fund or paying off debt. A financial coach will help clients develop plans to achieve their goals, then act as an accountability partner as clients enact their plans. Ultimately, after six to 12 months, clients should have improved their financial literacy and be well on their way to achieving their financial goals.

When Should You Work With a Financial Coach?

You don’t need to have thousands of dollars in assets to work with a financial coach. In fact, most clients are in debt, have little in savings and have poor spending habits.

Perhaps you’ve tried to make a budget, but just can’t stick to it. Maybe you make enough money, but can’t figure out how to build an emergency savings fund. Or maybe you have so much debt between credit cards and loans that you don’t know the best way to pay it off.

A financial coach can help you structure your budget, build a financial plan and hold you accountable throughout the process. Often, clients have deep-seated emotions around money. Financial coaches help their clients to identify, understand and work through those emotions.

The Difference Between a Financial Coach and a Financial Advisor

In general, you would turn to a financial coach for help saving money and a financial advisor for help investing and growing money. A financial coach works with clients who have few assets and need general financial help. A financial advisor works with clients who need help managing and investing their assets. An advisor provides options for developing an investment portfolio to build wealth for their clients to meet future financial goals. They typically charge