Financial Planning

Financial Coach vs Financial Advisor: The Best of Both Worlds

By  Brian Thorp

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It can be confusing and a little overwhelming for most people (including those in the finance industry!) to keep track of the countless titles and financial certifications held by financial professionals. And a very common question asked by many Americans thinking about hiring a financial professional is “What is the difference between a financial advisor (or planner) and a financial coach?”.

For a more in-depth discussion distinguishing the requirements and services offered by various types of financial professionals, please refer to this article.

What is a Financial Coach vs. Financial Advisor?

At a (very) high level, financial advisors (or planners) offer personalized investment advice and advisory services and must be registered with a state or federal regulator that governs their activities vs. unregulated financial coaches who help clients improve their money habits and make smarter everyday financial decisions.

While many financial professionals choose to exclusively work as a financial coach or a financial advisor, some financial professionals choose to wear both hats and offer their clients coaching services as well as individualized financial advice and planning.

While you’re likely to find dozens of financial advisors and coaches in your community, it may be more difficult to find a financial professional who can work with you as both a financial coach and financial advisor. Fortunately, many financial professionals who offer both coaching and advisory services can meet with you online no matter where you (or they) live. This means you can choose to work with a financial professional who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their experience offering both coaching and advisory services could help you achieve better outcomes.

Let’s get to know Maggie Klokkenga, a financial coach and financial advisor who can offer additional insights on what it’s like to work with a financial professional who offers both coaching and advisory services.


💸 Smart Money Insights About Financial Coaches & Financial Advisors

This page is organized into sections to help you quickly find the information you need and get answers to your questions:

  1. Q&A with Professionals Who Offer Both Coaching and Financial Advisory Services
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Working with a Financial Coach vs Financial Advisor
  3. Browse Related Articles

– Get to Know Professionals Who Offer Both Coaching and Financial Advisory Services –

Three Questions with Maggie Klokkenga, CFP®, CPA

We asked Morton, Illinois-based financial advisor and coach Maggie Klokkenga to answer three questions to help us understand the benefits of working with a professional who offers both coaching and financial planning services.

Q: Why do you believe it’s important for your clients to first complete financial coaching sessions with you before they hire you for financial planning?

Maggie: I like to help my clients walk before they run. One of the reasons that my clients come to me is because they don’t know where their money has been going. You need to know your numbers – your cash flow – what’s coming in, what’s going out, as well as your balances, both positive and negative, before you can plan for your future.

Q: Do your clients “graduate” from being coached when they hire you as a financial planner? Or is financial coaching considered part of the ongoing financial planning services you provide?

Maggie: I offer comprehensive financial planning once my client has completed a financial coaching package with me. The client has the option to continue ongoing financial coaching if they’d like more help with their cash flow, or if they feel ready to start working on the other pieces of their financial puzzle, they can hire me for comprehensive financial planning.

I’m a bit unusual in that I like to offer clients project-based financial planning. That means rather than pay a monthly or quarterly fee for ongoing financial planning, clients come to me with a specific area, like investment planning, and we’ll work on that piece together. As an example, that may look like my reviewing their overall investments, speaking with them about risk and providing an assessment, and providing recommendations that support their financial goals. Once that project is complete, my clients can check that off their list and know that they can come back to me when another financial situation or need arises.

Get to Know Maggie:

View Maggie’s profile page on Wealthtender or visit her website to learn more.

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Q: I’m interested in financial coaching, but it’s difficult for me to discuss our family finances with my spouse. How can I overcome this communication hurdle?

Maggie: I encourage couples to sit down with their partners and first agree that they’re in a safe, no-judgment space. Then, ask each other: what is the first thing that they think when they hear the word money? I encourage them to share with their partners what they remember about money growing up – how did their parents act around money? Was there a lot of tension and fighting? Were there open conversations about money, like talking about money around the table at dinner? What did they learn from their parents about money from those interactions?

In my coaching, I use the KMSI-R, which is the Klontz Money Script Inventory assessment. This assessment identifies for each partner one or more of the four main money scripts that Dr. Brad Klontz and his father Ted Klontz identified in their research. Each partner takes the assessment before our first session together, instantly receives the results, and then we go over the results together at our first session. The compassion that has resulted is magnetic: each partner is finding out WHY their significant other has made some past financial choices. That awareness leads to empathy and understanding, and the couple moves forward together much more cohesively in their financial journey.


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About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

Brian Thorp

Founder and CEO, Wealthtender

Brian and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

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