Turn Your Passion for Personal Finance into a Business with Financial Coach Academy


On my birthday this year, after enjoying several tasty beverages with my friends, I made a confession about my career. “I want to do some money coaching,” I told them, “but I don’t know where to start.”

Luckily for me, my friend Jo took me seriously, even after we all sobered up. Several weeks after my birthday, she asked if she could hire me. All of a sudden, I was a money coach with a real client.

It turns out that anyone with a passion for personal finance can use their love of helping others to create a profitable financial coaching business. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to add “financial coach” to your resume. Landing my second client was much harder than landing my first.

That’s why I was delighted to learn about Financial Coach Academy. This program walks both aspiring and veteran money coaches through the steps necessary to build and grow a successful financial coaching business. Classes can be taken through a self-paced version of the course (for the do-it-yourselfers) videos or as a live version, which includes real-time guidance and weekly interaction with the instructors.

Here’s what you need to know about turning your passion for personal finance into a profitable career (or side hustle) as a financial coach:

What is a Financial Coach?

There’s a reason why it took me until a birthday celebration (and some liquid courage) to admit to my ambition. I’m a long-time personal finance writer, but I have no educational background in finance. I’m not a CFP, a CPA, or an MBA–just someone who has spent a lot of time thinking and writing about money. I was afraid that wasn’t enough of a foundation to build a financial coaching business on.

Financial coaching is a young profession, and it can often be confused with more traditional financial service providers. But a financial coach is not the same thing as a financial planner, CPA, or another type of financial advisor. So it’s important to specifically name what a financial coach does and does not do:

  • Coaches help their clients make better money decisions. This includes helping clients to recognize things like emotional money triggers.
  • Financial coaches teach their clients both basic and advanced day to day financial strategies. Strategies such as the importance of emergency savings, the effects of inflation and interest, and debt pay off techniques.
  • Coaches are more likely to help their clients on a limited-time basis. Financial coaching is about improving clients’ financial literacy. The goal of coaching is to offer clients the framework for making good money choices in the future.
  • Financial coaches charge a flat fee for their services, often as an hourly rate. While some advisors are moving to that model, they are more likely to charge a percentage of assets under management.

Related: What You Can Expect from a Financial Planner

How Do You Become a Financial Coach?

Since financial coaching is such a new industry, many aspiring coaches are not clear on how to break into the profession. But becoming a financial coach may be easier than you expect–although the path is not without pitfalls.

There are no official licenses required for financial coaching. That means you can put together a website and get started right away. That said, your clients will expect you to have some sort of financial expertise. And that financial expertise can be part of how you differentiate yourself and draw in new clients.

This is where things can get a little tricky. Many money coaches start their careers in the financial realm–as traditional financial planners, insurance agents, CPAs, bankers, or even as personal finance bloggers (ahem). But if your expertise stems from your insatiable reading of personal finance literature plus your flawlessly executed family budget spreadsheets, it’s a little more difficult to prove yourself to potential clients. Even though such a background means you have the money knowledge you need to help people.

That’s where financial coaching training like that provided by Financial Coach Academy comes in. Completing the course gives you the Financial Coach Academy graduate seal and certificate. Those will let potential clients know that you have the chops to coach them.

But proving your bona fides is just the first step in landing clients. You also need to understand how to market yourself, set your prices, handle scheduling, and draw up contracts with your clients. Financial Coach Academy can help you with all of those aspects of building a successful business.

Get started with Financial Coach Academy here

What You’ll Get From Financial Coach Academy

Financial Coach Academy starts with the assumption that you are already well-versed in financial topics. Rather than offer you information about mortgages, interest rates, credit card debt, investing, and the like, FCA will educate you on topics related to creating a financial coaching business. You know how to do your research on personal finance (and FCA can also point you in the right direction to fill any knowledge gaps you might have). So FCA is focused on helping you learn the best way to help your clients and grow your business.

Specifically, FCA focuses on three pillars of financial coaching:

1. Financial Concepts

This pillar embodies the old adage about teaching a person to fish rather than giving them a fish. Instead of giving you and your clients basic knowledge about financial topics (such as interest rates and the like), FCA’s Financial Concepts pillar focuses on the behavioral approach to money. You will learn skill-based applications and exercises that you can use with your clients to help them create a better financial life.

2. Business Acumen

With this pillar, FCA teaches you what you need to know to make your business a success. You’ll learn what technology to use, marketing techniques, office optimization, ways to find your ideal clients, and how to best onboard clients from your initial discovery session with them to their graduation from your coaching program.

3. Coaching Skills

To help you with your coaching skills, FCA will provide you with a framework for creating your own strategies to work with your clients. Because your business will be better if you make it your own program rather than simply following other strategies. You’ll learn how to design programs that will help your clients get results and solve specific money problems, as well as how to effectively listen and get your clients to open up.

Financial Coach Training Programs

You have two options with FCA for their financial coach training programs: The Financial Coach Academy Live Course, which is offered in Spring and Fall, and the Self-Paced course, which is available year-round.

The live course is open to 20 coaches per semester. With this program, you receive 10 live online workshops, each of which lasts from 90 to 120 minutes and include a live Q&A. In addition, the live program also gives you access to:

  • Six built-in execution and mastermind weeks to work with your classmates and the FCA team of experts to create your financial coaching business
  • 90 pre-recorded ancillary videos
  • 160+ downloads, templates, handouts, scripts, checklists, and tools you can use to create your coaching business
  • A private Facebook community to ask for help, guidance, and collaboration
  • Mentoring and continuous feedback.

The self-paced course is a good option for those who have scheduling conflicts and are unable to attend the live courses. The self-paced program gives you access to the pre-recorded online workshops, Q&A from recent live courses, all the downloads, and access to financial coaches in the Facebook group.

Keep in mind, you will not receive real-time mentoring and feedback from instructors or access to mastermind groups with your classmates.

The live course costs $2,997 if you pay all at once. You also have the option of making five payments of $660. The self-paced course costs $1,297 or three payments of $475.

For more details on which option is best for you, click here.

Financial Coach Certification

Another major benefit of the Financial Coach Academy is the fact that it is the only program that prepares you for Certified Professional Financial Coach (CPFCoach) certification. Certification is not (currently) required to become a financial coach. However, there are a number of good reasons to consider becoming a CPFCoach.

To start, while financial coaching is a young industry with few requirements in place, it may eventually become regulated. If that happens, those coaches who already carry the only certification offered will be in a better position to roll with the regulatory punches.

In addition, certification will make it clear to potential clients just how seriously you take your profession. Unfortunately, coaching is often derided in pop culture, in part because it is a new career option. (Think about how many people still don’t understand that blogging is a legitimate pastime, let alone a career). Having the certification indicates to your clients (and potentially your stuffy sister-in-law) that you are providing a needed and respected service.

To become a CPFCoach, you will need to fulfill a number of requirements:

  • An application and enrollment fee
  • Completion of the Financial Coach Academy course (either live or self-paced)
  • Completion of a short essay
  • Two case studies of clients you have coached for at least three months each
  • Supplemental business materials, such as your website, social media, scheduling page, or intake questionnaire
  • Client testimonials
  • A video explaining your “why”
  • Multiple choice exam

Becoming a CPFCoach is not a simple process, but it can help to open doors for full-time financial coaches. And Financial Coach Academy is the only educational option that will allow you to complete the CPFCoach requirements.

Get started on your CPFCoach certificate here

Starting Your Financial Coaching Business

One of the most exciting aspects of financial coaching is the fact that you can make good money while you’re helping people to improve their lives. The founders of Financial Coach Academy started off with a small but successful financial coaching business that turned into a six-figure per year business.

In fact, it started as a side hustle helping friends and family members, proving you can make financial coaching as big or as small of a career as you want. Their example can help anyone to create a business that will not only make the world a better place one budget at a time, but also improve your financial life or career opportunities.

Creating a new coaching business from the ground up–or taking your established business to the next level–is not easy. There are many moving parts in a coaching business, from mastering the one-on-one coaching skills to learning how to market yourself and find clients to managing your time efficiently. Even if you are already a pro at any of these tasks, you may be struggling to get all the pieces to fit together.

Financial Coach Academy can give you all of the resources, skills, connections, and confidence you need to launch and grow your business. Making the intentional choice to follow your dream of being a financial coach is the most effective way that you can use your talents to help people better their lives.

It’s far better than waiting for a friend to ask you if you’re serious about being a money coach.

Have you done any financial coaching or used a financial coach? Tell us about your experience with financial coaching in the comments!

Turn Your Passion for Personal Finance into a Business with Financial Coach Academy
About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.