Is it worth paying £45 for a session with a money coach?

Helped: Natasha Bhuiyan cut debts with a money coach

Managing finances and growing wealth can feel like a solitary business. 

Every day we make decisions about what to buy, whether to save, when to borrow, how to invest. 

But we tend to make these decisions alone, often without really knowing if we’re making the best choices or if there are things we are missing. 

So it’s unsurprising that in the last few months, as household finances are increasingly stretched, there has been a rise in the number of people turning to money coaches.

Providers include Claro, Octopus MoneyCoach, as well as one-man-band independent coaches. Some investment platforms also offer coaching services. For example, Bestinvest offers free one-off sessions for customers. 

Money coaches are unable to give financial advice or make specific product recommendations. For that, you need a qualified financial adviser. 

But they can help with budgeting, money planning, and helping you to meet your financial goals. 

They can also help with a bit of hand holding if you’re taking the leap from saving to investing. They cannot do it for you, but they can help you do it for yourself and give you the confidence to get started. 

Some people see paying money to someone to help you spend less money as counterintuitive. Claro and Octopus MoneyCoach both offer free initial sessions, but after that Octopus charges £299 for a year while Claro charges £45 for 45 minutes. 

Octopus MoneyCoach – the sister firm of Octopus Energy – is often offered through employers using salary sacrifice. This can help to bring down the cost as it is paid from pre-tax income. 

But many users believe the cost more than pays off in the long term. Money coaches also charge considerably less than financial advisers, so they may be a good cost-effective alternative if you don’t need the full works financial advice. 

I was happy to do the work of managing my money myself, but wanted the reassurance of checking my decisions with someone

Neil Edwards, 46, a management consultant from Northamptonshire, says his coaching sessions with Claro are what was needed to get him started as an investor. 

‘I was happy to do the work of managing my money myself, but wanted the reassurance of checking my decisions with someone,’ he says. 

‘Coaching emboldened me to open a stocks and shares Isa with Nutmeg and to work out how much I could afford to invest. 

‘Until then, I had been using any savings to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible, which is good, but I’m now combining that with contributing to a pension and stocks and shares Isa as well.’ 

Neil, who lives with his wife, Claire and two children Ben, 13 and ten-year-old Harriet, adds: ‘The coaching sessions helped prompt conversations between me and Claire about how we manage our money together.’ 

Helping hand: Financial coaches can prompt conversations among couples about how they manage their money, as Neil Edwards discovered during his sessions (stock image)

Helping hand: Financial coaches can prompt conversations among couples about how they manage their money, as Neil Edwards discovered during his sessions (stock image)

Claro coach Sarah Brill says she’s seeing more people who are worried about falling financial markets and want help navigating through them. 

‘People are seeing the value of their pension pots fall and want help planning for retirement,’ she says. ‘Many also want to invest, but hear so much noise about cryptocurrency and different types of investment that they’re not sure where to start or what to believe.’ 

Octopus MoneyCoach says it has seen interest surge as the cost-of-living crisis puts an increasing strain on household budgets. 

Money coaches can help you go through your spending and work out where you may be able to make savings. 

They may not make product recommendations, but they will help you put a plan in place. For example, working out when contracts are up for renewal or advising how to shop around for a better deal. 

Natasha Bhuiyan, 43, an IT worker from Sutton, South West London, feels better equipped to deal with her rising bills thanks to her regular money coaching sessions. 

‘I have had a coach now for three years who has helped me to reduce my personal debts from £30,000 to £5,000,’ she says. 

‘Now, when I get unexpected bills, I have someone to help talk it through with and work out how to manage it. For example, when I got a £350 energy bill last month, we worked through where else I could cut back and how it would affect my saving plans. It helped me to feel more in control.’ 

Natasha believes a large part of the benefit of coaching is the personal accountability it imposes on her – helping her to keep on track with her money goals. 

Money coaches will also often look at the emotional side of spending. For example, if you are an overspender, a money coach may help you to untangle why that might be and give you tools to understand and counter it.

Free support: Over-50s can get guidance through the Government's Pension Wise service

Free support: Over-50s can get guidance through the Government’s Pension Wise service

How to get free help with your pension 

Over-50s who have a personal or workplace pension are entitled to free guidance through the Government service Pension Wise. 

All are entitled to a free 40 to 60- minute appointment with a specialist, either over the phone or in person. You can book an appointment by calling 0800 138 3844 or online at 

The sessions are designed to help you understand options and your financial situation as you head towards retirement so you can plan ahead. 

As of last month, you should be offered an appointment with Pension Wise before you access your pension funds for the first time. 

Now I have a to-do list (and a will to sort out) 

There is nothing like having to explain your finances to someone else to help focus your mind. That is what I learned in two sessions with coaches from Octopus MoneyCoach and Claro, writes Rachel Rickard Straus

When asked by Sarah at Claro whether or not I had a will, I very sheepishly responded that I hadn’t got around to it yet. I’m now determined to sort this out – I wouldn’t want to have to admit again that I still hadn’t managed to do it. 

In both cases I was sent beforehand a number of questions about my finances and goals to help shape the session. Armed with this information, the coaches were able to talk me through whether I was on track and what I needed to do to improve things. 

They used modelling software to show me how my finances could change and accumulate over time if I carry on as I am now – and how simple tweaks could improve things for my future. 

I was sent away with a to-do list of actions to improve my finances – including writing a will. A financial adviser on the other hand would take on much of the to-do list themselves, but that would cost hundreds of pounds more. 

Sometimes all you need is someone to help you see what you need to do, and to check in to see that you’ve done it – rather than doing it for you.

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