A financial coach works with clients to help them better manage their money and to develop healthy, long-lasting, finance-related habits.
If you need help getting your finances organized or setting up a plan to effectively work towards your financial goals, you might benefit from the help of a financial coach. These professionals can help clients pay off debt, create an emergency savings fund, stabilize their finances, and develop an overall financial plan.
Unlike financial advisors, financial coaches spend more time helping their clients understand the fundamentals of finances, rather than recommending investments and managing their investment portfolios.
Read on to learn more about financial coaches, what they do, how much they cost, and how to find one.
What Does a Financial Coach Do?
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a financial coach is a trained professional who collaborates with and guides their clients to reach their financial goals, including:
• Better money management skills
• Improved savings, debt levels, and credit scores
• More financial confidence
• Increased goal attainment
Financial coaches typically individualize their approach based on the needs of each client, with the goal of helping them make progress in the area of their financial life that they identify as most important. For example, a financial coach might help you reach your financial goals by teaching you how to build savings, avoid overspending, or pay down debt.
Financial coaches also often assist their clients with the behavioral and emotional components of managing money. A coach can help you uncover what drives your financial decisions, so you can create a healthier attitude that leads to better money habits.
Coaches often work with their clients over the period of several weeks to several months and may meet weekly or biweekly to provide advice and check on progress. The full coaching process may include:
• Building awareness around spending habits (usually by tracking daily, weekly, and monthly spending)
• Defining the client’s financial goals
• Developing a budget and a financial plan to achieve those goals
Accountability is also typically built into the process. So rather than managing a client’s person’s finances, a financial coach gives clients the tools to help make informed and responsible financial decisions.
What a financial coach can’t do: offer investment recommendations or help clients manage their investment portfolios. While coaches can provide basic advice on the concept of investing, they are not licensed to provide financial advice like financial advisors are, and therefore cannot provide specific product recommendations.
💡 Quick Tip: If you’re saving for a short-term goal — whether it’s a vacation, a wedding, or the down payment on a house — consider opening a high-yield savings account. The higher APY that you’ll earn will help your money grow faster, but the funds stay liquid, so they are easy to access when you reach your goal.
Ready for a Better Banking Experience?
Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning 1% APY on your cash!
How Much Does a Financial Coach Cost?
Coaching rates typically run between $100 to $300 an hour. But because of the wide range of fees charged by coaches, it’s a good idea to ask about costs upfront.
Unlike financial advisors, who typically charge their fees based on a percentage of the assets under management, financial coaches generally work on a fee-only basis. Some may charge a flat fee based on how long you plan to work together (such as three or six months), while others might charge per session.
💡 Quick Tip: If you’re creating a budget, try the 50/30/20 budget rule. Allocate 50% of your after-tax income to the “needs” of life, like living expenses and debt. Spend 30% on wants, and then save the remaining 20% towards saving for your long-term goals.
How do I Find a Financial Coach?
While there is no required coursework or license, and there are no certifications to become a financial coach, there are training programs run by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE).
You can begin looking for financial coaches in your area through the AFCPE website. It’s also a good idea to ask for personal referrals from friends and family, as well as other financial professionals you know or work with (such as an accountant or financial advisor).
Before selecting a coach, it can help to consider specifically what you are looking for in a financial mentor. This can involve thinking about your own financial strengths and weaknesses, and what your goals are. Are you, for example, struggling to save enough money for a down payment on a house? Or, do your credit card balances keep going up? Identifying your needs can help you suss out the best coach for your situation.
Once you’ve gathered a list of financial coaches, you may want to reach out to each candidate to get a sense of their personality, methods, and coaching style.
Some questions to consider asking:
• How long have you been a coach?
• What’s your business specialty?
• How long do you typically work with clients?
• What’s your plan to help me reach my goals?
• What is your availability?
• What are your fees?
💡 Quick Tip: If you’re faced with debt and wondering which kind to pay off first, it can be smart to prioritize high-interest debt first. For many people, this means their credit card debt; rates have recently been climbing into the double-digit range, so try to eliminate that ASAP.
Maybe you’ve tried to make a budget but just can’t stick to it. Or perhaps you’ve run up 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.
Financial coaches also help clients understand and work through deep-seated emotions around money that may be preventing them from being “good with money,” building up savings, and reaching their financial goals.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 8/9/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet..
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.