Financial Coaching

Financial coaching helps clients do a better job in how they handle their money. The goal is for a family to examine their savings and spending habits to see if they can make positive changes that improve their credit scores and stabilize and grow their assets.

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Overview of Financial Coaching


This two-page factsheet from the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison gives the big picture on financial coaching, with a focus on its “A|4 Model,” which structures the process with alliance, agenda, awareness and action. PDF

Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives


Used as a training manual by CNM and other providers, this book covers some of the concepts, strategies, and tools of the "co-active" approach to coaching. (The book focuses on coaching generally, not specifically on either financial or career coaching for low-income individuals.) Amazon

Financial Coaching: An Asset Building Strategy


Published by the Asset Funders Network, this 14-page report explains how the technique arose from research in positive psychology and compares the approach to financial counseling, education, and planning or consulting. It also explores different models for coaching and how funders can support financial coaching. PDF

Loan Product for Credit Building: An Impact Analysis of Twin Accounts

This paper compares the outcomes of Twin Accounts borrowers with other, statistically-matched, clients of LISC-supported Financial Opportunity Centers who did not open such accounts to find out whether their scores, in fact, improved. PDF

A Much Closer Look- Enhancing Saving Counseling at the Financial Empowerment Centers

"This report, with generous support from Capital One, draws on data results from a two-city pilot to better understand how Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) clients are saving and ultimately inform new savings indicators for financial counseling success." PDF


Evaluating Tax Time Savings Interventions and Behaviors (Jan 2020)

The latest report by Prosperity Now, the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis and SaverLife (formerly EARN) highlights interventions to support and encourage tax time savings as low- and moderate-income (LMI) tax taxpayers are saving more than previously thought.  Read the complete report to learn more about behaviors and outcomes related to savings. For a quick read, skip to Summary and Implications (Pg. 40-42). Read more

This 2015 report from CFED covers a learning cluster of ten community-based organizations. PDF

In a new study from Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight, behavioral science takes center stage, as researchers consider what motivates clients at LISC Financial Opportunity Centers and offer new ways to increase retention in the program so that more people have the chance to improve their financial outlook. PDF

Online Resources for Clients

Better Money Habits – A resource site put together by Bank of America with Khan Academy. It has short videos and articles on a variety of topics and is easily digestible. 


Hands On Banking – A Wells Fargo supported site that is not branded. Provides articles in English and Spanish on key topics. Also has lesson plans for kids and articles targeted for seniors, military and young adults.  LISC held a webinar with Wells Fargo on how to use the website.


Money Smart – A site created by the FDIC that has resources for instructors and an online portal for computer based instruction. Participants are required to register and then they are connected to an online learning platform that walks them through different topics. 


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – The CFPB has a site that is largely focused on service providers, but also has resources for clients.  Most are in the form of one or two page documents on a variety of topics.


There are also some financial literacy game sites. Visa has one called Practical Money Skills but most are targeting kids and teens. 



Your Money, Your Goals


Social service organizations can use the toolkit from the website of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help clients set goals, choose financial products, and build skills in managing money, credit, and debt. The page includes an English and Spanish PDF for the 278-page guide, which has 14 different modules ranging from starting the conversation to evaluating financial services providers. It also has links to materials and videos to help train case managers to use the program. Website

Using Visuals tools in Financial Coaching- 

Post Card Order Form

Financial Capability Scale


The Center for Financial Security (CFS) and Annie E. Casey Foundation have developed a short set of standardized client outcome measures to create the Financial Capability Scale (FCS). This site was discussed in the presentation for the December 9, 2016 webinar "Salesforce System Overview and Functionality." Website


Financial Well-being Scale


This guide describes the research behind the Financial Well-Being Scale, developed by federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and provides detailed steps for using it, including how to score individuals’ responses and compare their scores. This site was discussed in the presentation for the December 9, 2016 webinar "Salesforce System Overview and Functionality." Website 


Better Money Habits



Clear, simple videos, lists and graphics explain different aspects of 20 personal financial issues in this website that can be used by clients, created by Bank of America and Khan Academy. Website

AFPCE Counseling and Coaching Certifications



This site has information about the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education six certification programs, from financial fitness coach to accredited personal finance coach, including what the programs offer, online and onsite training dates, fees and other details. Website


Guides to Help You Open and Manage Your Checking Account

This page of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website is a basic guide to how to shop for and manage a checking account. Written for the consumer, it gives advice on different account options and how to respond if you’ve been denied an account, including PDF downloads for easy-to-use guides and links for more information. Website

  • Selecting a lower-risk checking account PDF
  • Sample letter to dispute inaccurate information with a bank or credit union Word Doc
  • Sample letter to dispute inaccurate information with a checking account reporting company Word Doc

Financial Outcomes Visual


This simple one-page flow chart shows a client the basics of a budget (how a variety of income minus expenses becomes net income) and balance sheet (how a mix of assets minus liabilities becomes net worth). PDF

Additional Resources:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives." Website