What Is A Financial Accountability Coach?

Most people believe that to win with money, you need to be naturally good at numbers, investing wisely and slapping your wrist when you want to eat out for the 5th time in a week. 

But wealth-building and financial fulfillment involve a lot more than just numbers and sacrifice. 

Your attitudes and behaviors around money are shaped by your life experiences, your relationship with scarcity and abundance, the conversations around money that took place around you as a child, and many, many other subtle and invisible factors.

These internalized money mindsets can, in turn, impact your approach to money and impair your peace, happiness and well-being in ways you may not even recognize.

For instance, if you and your partner frequently argue about your financial future, if you feel sweaty and on edge every time you have to make a big purchase, or if you lie awake at night wondering if you’ll have enough to send your kid to college, it’s likely because your money habits and mindsets are holding you back from being at peace with your finances. 

Now instead of all that stress and worry, imagine if:

  • You could make money decisions confidently, knowing that you’re doing what’s best for you right now, and for your future.
  • You could be intentional with your money and use it as a tool to live your desired lifestyle and fuel experiences with your loved ones.
  • You could have your finances work in alignment with the rest of your life and feel content and secure about your financial future.

Most people think these aspirations are only for the uber-rich who have more money than they’ll ever need. But the truth is that with the right planning, mentorship and accountability, you too can have all of this and more in your life.  

And that’s where a financial coach can help you;

By offering expert guidance, cheerleading support and regular accountability checks, your financial coach can help you heal your relationship with finances, improve your money habits and behaviors, and find peace and lasting happiness in your life.

Who is a financial accountability coach?

Financial coaches are like personal trainers for your financial health. 

Think about it this way: You could work out from home by yourself every day, doing exercises that you think will help you get fit, never knowing how long it’ll be till you see results. Or you could hire an expert trainer who will take a holistic approach to your fitness and custom-create diet charts and workout routines that are specific to your body and goals, so you can get fit in a way that’s healthy and sustainable for YOU.

Just as fitness coaches guide you to create a fitness plan that suits your unique needs and aspirations, a financial coach partners with you to understand and evaluate your relationship with money, identify gaps or harmful patterns, and highlight and build on your strengths so you can start achieving your financial goals and live the life of your dreams.

A financial coach is responsible for providing support, guidance and accountability. Although the aim of coaching is to help you get better at managing your money, most coaches adopt a holistic approach that goes beyond numbers to touch upon various other aspects of your life. Your conversations with your coach may range from discussions about your childhood and your parents’ relationship with money to the ways in which your faith impacts your financial decisions or an entrepreneurial dream you’ve never had the opportunity to explore. Because money is so closely linked to nearly every aspect of our lives, financial coaching can often seem a lot like life coaching, except here, you examine every life experience and situation through a financial lens and learn how to make money decisions that are in alignment with your goals and values.

A financial coach will not advise you on how to spend your money or make money decisions for you. The role of a coach is to empower you to be better, provide unbiased education, and hold you accountable to your dreams. They’ll focus on guiding you to build the right money mindset and habits and equip you with the tools, processes, and resources to reach your financial and life goals. Remember, your coach isn’t the hero on your journey, YOU are!

Who can be a financial coach?

Anyone can become a financial coach. Because true coaching doesn’t involve recommending products like investments, allocations or insurance, there aren’t any specific licenses that aspiring financial coaches need to possess to qualify as financial coaches. 

However, there are a few things you should look for in a coach before you sign up for coaching with them:

  • They should have undergone extensive training and should be committed to continuing their education by completing additional certifications, degrees and courses. 

Make sure your coach has completed more than a 6-week course or certification program. For example, at The Accountable Network, coaches need to go through a 5-month orientation program (including 100+ hours of coursework and application in areas ranging from technical knowledge, coaching skills and business foundations), followed by certification, professional responsibility, and ethics training to be listed as an Accountable-accredited coach.

  • They should have access to industry-leading tools, techniques and resources and know how to adapt them to your unique situation.
  • They should have access to a network or team of experts and mentors who they can lean on for specialized guidance if you find yourself dealing with a particularly unique or unprecedented situation.
  • They should be qualified to mentor you on your unique financial journey. While a generic coach can help you, the most powerful transformations come from a coach who has either personally experienced and overcome what you’re facing or has experience walking others through the same journey. Make sure your coach’s niche area of specialization aligns with your specific circumstances. 
  • Many excellent coaches not only have extensive theoretical training in their area of specialization but have also gone through the same life experiences that they coach their clients through. When your coach has been where you are now, they’re able to better empathize with your situation, understand your motivations and emotions, and offer the compassion and sensitivity you’re seeking.
  • They shouldn’t try to push you into a generic cookie-cutter 7-step program. Your circumstances and your needs are unique, and a good coach is someone who sees that and tailors their coaching to equip you with the tools and resources you need, when you need them.

Financial coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all, quick-win product. So, while anyone can be a financial coach, it’s important for you to make sure you find the right fit for YOU – don’t settle for someone who has only completed a few online courses or is coaching based entirely on their personal experience. 

At The Accountable Network, all our coaches are required to undergo a rigorous 5-month training and participate in ongoing education in order to maintain active status. They’re also encouraged to choose a specialization (single moms, newlyweds, adulting, wealth building, small business owners, mental health and more) and acquire a unique set of skills so they’re well-equipped to guide their clients to even greater transformations.

How are financial accountability coaches different from financial advisers? 

A financial coach is like a personal trainer for your financial health. They’ll work 1:1 with you to understand your specific challenges and aspirations and guide you towards changing your money mindset, success habits and wealth-building behaviors. 

Unlike financial coaches who take a comprehensive and holistic approach toward understanding and healing your relationship with money, financial advisers focus almost entirely on numbers and invest their time in research that helps them stay abreast of market trends. They check in with their clients a few times a year to provide investment advice, manage assets and put together long-term financial plans. Financial coaches, on the other hand, meet with their clients at least once a month (if not more) and work on tackling their clients’ money mindset and behaviors and holding them accountable to their goals so they can experience lasting peace, stability and fulfillment. 

Besides, while financial coaches don’t need to possess a specific set of qualifications because they don’t sell financial products, advisers require a license to practice and are usually associated with an investment house.

It’s important to understand that while there are distinct differences, coaches and advisers ultimately complement one another, and having a combination of the two on your wealth team can be life-changing for you. 

To put it simply, financial coaches do the deep work. They guide you to refocus on your priorities and design your personal wealth definition. They mentor you as you work on healing your relationship with your finances and build habits, behaviors and mindsets that set you up for success. Most importantly, they uplift you, encourage you and hold you accountable to your progress. An adviser complements this process by stepping in during the planning stage – they can recommend the best investments for your portfolio and help you maximize the funds you allocate for future investments and retirement.

How can financial coaching help you?

Your wealth is more than just the number of digits in your bank account. A financial coach understands that which is why they’ll begin by taking a holistic view of your situation. They’ll ask you about your struggles, needs, desires, goals and aspirations. They’ll dig to uncover and understand how your relationship with money affects other aspects of your life and interpersonal relationships. 

Once they get a broad understanding of your concerns, roadblocks and aspirations, your coaching sessions will focus on creating solutions tailored to your unique situation. 

This process can look different for different clients – some clients may need support through a tragic or transformative life experience, some might need to unlearn damaging money habits and develop positive money behaviors, while others might need specific solutions for recovering from debt, saving for retirement or living their dream lifestyle. 

Every individual who opts into coaching is on a unique financial journey. So, no two clients’ results can look the same. While this makes it difficult to objectively measure the impact of financial coaching in one’s life, these are some of the key transformations that The Accountable Network’s clients have experienced through financial coaching since 2009:

  • We’ve helped clients eliminate a combined total of over $147,180,000 of debt.
  • Most clients see between $600-$1800/month cash flow improvement within the first 2 months of coaching.
  • 94% have functioning emergency funds in 45 days.
  • 80% have a proactive and intentional g plan within 2 months that aligns with their values and is easy to use, adjust and stick to in the long run. 
  • 85% report stronger marriages and improved communication with their partners
  • 90% report feeling a sense of “peace and hope” within the first 30 days of coaching.

While these results speak for themselves, it’s important to remember that ultimately, to experience change, YOU have to be willing to do the deep work and take consistent action. Financial coaching is not a quick-fix solution or a silver bullet. While a coach can guide you to seeing some immediate results, wealth-building is an ongoing process, and it can take months of consistent coaching and action to experience real, lasting change.

Should you hire a financial accountability coach?

Honestly, it depends.

If you’re looking for a quick-fix solution or just looking to dip your toes into the world of personal finance, then books, courses or self-help tools might be the best first step for you. And if that’s where you want to start, here’s a list of proven, expert-built resources to help you hit the ground running → 

But if we’re being honest, those resources alone will only get you so far. You might be able to shave off a few thousand dollars of debt or learn how to track your expenses. But ultimately, if you want to build wealth, find peace in your finances and transform your relationship with money, you’ll need to pair these tools and resources with sound, consistent mentorship and customized solutions. That’s where financial coaching can help you.

When should you hire a financial accountability coach?

People seek out financial coaching for a variety of different reasons. You might be tired of spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, you might be frustrated with constantly walking a financial tightrope, or you might be feeling ready and primed to take action and see real, transformative growth. While every individual’s situation and motivation is unique, the 4 most common reasons why people come to financial coaching are:

#1 You don’t know where your money is going.

You work hard. You have a decent and comfortable income. Yet, by the end of every month, your account’s practically empty, and you’re walking on a tightrope, anxiously waiting for your next paycheck to come in. 

If you don’t know where your money’s going, if you struggle to keep track of your expenses, if you don’t feel confident about your financial future, and if you feel you need to start building a savings plan and setting concrete financial goals for your future, financial coaching is right for you. 

#2 You want to move towards greater financial freedom.

You may have come a long way from where you started. You might be earning well and living comfortably, but now you’re at a stage where you want more. You don’t just want to “get by” any longer. You may have larger financial aspirations, like buying your dream house, taking more vacations, launching your own business, or retiring early. If you want to start building your wealth today so you can fund your dreams and have a sustainable and stress-free future, working with a financial coach can help you outline your vision for the future, maximize your efforts, and stay accountable to your dreams.

#3 You’re facing an unprecedented crisis/challenge/opportunity and need support navigating the situation. 

Money management isn’t just about debt reduction or retirement plans. Because finances are closely linked to every aspect of our life, we may find ourselves suddenly overwhelmed by our financial situation in the face of an unprecedented life event such as divorce, chronic illness, or receiving an inheritance or financial windfall. During these challenging times, it can be extremely relieving to talk through your situation with a coach who has the experience and training to empathize with what you’re going through and who can support you with guidance, mentorship, tools and resources as you work through this experience and its impact on your financial future.

#4 Your money habits are affecting your peace, well-being and interpersonal relationships.

You may not be facing an active financial crisis right now, but: 

  • If conversations and thoughts around money make you feel anxious and stressed out 
  • If you and your partner frequently argue about your finances or consciously avoid discussions about money 
  • And if you feel guilty about not spending enough time with your kids or loved ones because you’re always working

…it might be because you’re holding on to certain limiting beliefs or money mindsets that are getting in the way of your peace and happiness.

If you want to repair your relationships with your loved ones, live for today without stressing about the future, and improve your overall quality of life and well-being, don’t wait for the “right” time to start coaching. Almost all our clients tell us that they wish they didn’t wait so long to work with a financial coach. When it comes to coaching, the best time to take action is when things aren’t perfect. That way, you’ll learn to crisis-proof the system you’re building, which will prepare you for the peaks and valleys of your future, and set you on the path to lasting peace, fulfillment and happiness. 

While a qualified financial coach can help you work through all these situations (and many others), ultimately it’s not about whether you should hire a financial coach. The real question is – are you 100% ready to do the work and change your life for the better? 

If you’re prepared to do the deep work, take action, show up consistently and push yourself to unlearn, learn, and transform your relationship with money, partnering with a financial coach is definitely the right step for you!

And if you’re wondering how to find the absolute best coach for yourself who has the experience and training to understand and evaluate your unique situation, and who fits all of the criteria we outlined in this article, check out The Accountable Network’s unique Coach-Match system! Book a FREE one-on-one call with an actual human being (not a Google Form or Bot!) who will learn all about you, your unique situation and the transformation you’re hoping for. They will then use that information to scan their network of 150+ coaches specializing in over 50 niches to find you the coach that is the best fit for YOU.

Book a FREE zero-commitment Coach-Match assessment session today →

We hope this article helped you understand the differential impact that financial coaching can have on your life and happiness. If you have any questions, please feel free to let us know in the comments below!




About the Author

Dave Jacobson is a nationally recognized personal finance expert and the founder of Coach Connections, LLC, an organization that trains and mentors financial coaches. Since 2008, he has passionately educated people on how money works, why people make the decisions they do regarding money, and how money can be a tool to impact happiness.

Dave and his wife successfully eliminated debt and built financial wealth by implementing the knowledge he gained through research. This newfound financial stability not only improved their relationship but also led to a new sense of peace and contentment.

Recognizing the need for better coaching services, he founded Accountable Network, which helps clients connect with the right coach for them. The coaches in the network approach coaching on a case-by-case basis, adapting their methods to fit each individual's unique situation. Accountability is a core component of their coaching, which is why the network is named Accountable Network.

In addition to his work with coaches and clients, Dave has also created a video game to engage teenagers in personal finance education. He believes that it is important to learn about personal finance early in life and hopes that the video game will be a fun and entertaining way for teenagers to learn about financial habits and behaviors.

What sets Dave apart is his commitment to continuous improvement and connection. He founded the Millionaire Roundtable, a group dedicated to sharing their knowledge on the core habits, mindset and behaviors to build wealth and create happiness.

With over 2,500 clients and counting, Dave Jacobson has helped people from all walks of life achieve financial milestones and, more importantly, find hope and peace in their lives. He created the 15 Minute Spending Plan, a system that allows clients to invest just 15 minutes a month in evaluating, updating, and creating an intentional plan for their finances. The goal is to help clients focus on follow-through and not constantly worry about or think about money.

Dave is a leader in the personal finance coaching industry, constantly seeking ways to improve and innovate. Whether you are just starting your journey to financial freedom or looking to take your wealth-building to the next level, Dave and his team at Accountable Network are here to help you achieve your goals.

Dave and his wife have been happily married for 25+ years and are proud parents of two thriving adult children. They share their home with two dogs who keep them entertained and provide endless joy.

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