New Graduate-Level Certificate in Financial Life Planning

By Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP®

Crunching numbers is (relatively) easy but facilitating change is hard!

That’s why GGU’s new graduate certificate in Financial Life Planning is designed to provide the trust and relationship skills that will allow financial planners and coaches (as well as therapists) to become more effective change agents for clients. Often, clients have trouble evaluating the quality of the service even after it’s delivered. In other words, financial planning has high “credence” qualities. As a consequence, clients focus on a secondary characteristic: how they’re served as much (or more) than the content of the service. That makes relationship-building a primary skill for Financial Planners.

Certificate Courses

Introduction to Financial Life Planning

Financial Life Planning offers a holistic and humanistic approach to financial planning that encourages students to consider the clients themselves, “beyond the numbers,” to create greater potential for financial well-being, life satisfaction, self-awareness, and resiliency.

Coaching Skills for Financial Planners

In its truest form, coaching is a collaborative approach that recognizes clients as the “experts” in their own lives and the coach as “partner” to co-create a relationship that supports the clients’ goal fulfillment. Coaching is about change. How do we, as financial professionals, help clients do the things they must do in order to create the life (financial and the rest of it) they want? Topics include an overview of the four core coaching skills and ways financial professionals can engage more deeply with clients by using those skills. Professor: Saundra Davis, MSFP, FBS.

Facilitating Financial Health: Tools for Financial Planners, Coaches, and Therapists

Integrated financial planning brings together the fields of psychotherapy, coaching, and financial planning. It enables students to go beyond the traditional boundaries of financial planning to help clients build healthy relationships with money, to explore the roots of destructive financial behaviors, and to develop techniques to support constructive change. Professor: Rick Kahler, MSFP, CFP®

Students will gain the following capabilities:

  • Building deeper insights into their own history, attitudes, and relationship to money
  • Advanced coaching skills to help clients affect positive change and achieve goals
  • The skills necessary to facilitate financial health
  • Understanding of the drivers of client trust and relationship commitment and ability to use this to develop and sustain highly functional client relationships.

Taught by Leaders in the Field

Elizabeth Jetton, CFP® has been a thought leader in the financial planning profession for the past 20 years. She has been in the financial services industry since 1981 and served as President of The Financial Planning Association in 2004. She trains planners how to become conversational leaders and to use group conversational processes to engage, attract, and build trust.

Saundra Davis, MS is nationally recognized as an expert in the financial coaching field and founder and Executive Director of Sage Financial Solutions. She developed a financial coach certification program and received a special invitation to attend President Obama’s 2014 White House Summit on Working Families.

Rick Kahler, MS, CFP® is a pioneer in the emerging field of financial therapy that integrates Financial Planning and Psychology. He has been featured by NBC’s Today, ABC’s 20/20, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and MarketWatch. He is a co-author of books such as Facilitating Financial Health and Conscious Finance.

Guest lecturers include George Kinder, Susan Bradley, Carol Anderson, Amy Mullen, Rick Kahler, Saundra Davis, Roy Diliberto, Elissa Buie, Courtney Pullen, Sarah Asebedo, Martin Seay, Dennis Jaffe, and Derek Lawson.

Why the Certificate is Important

Ultimately, fostering new client relationships or deepening existing ones requires a special set of skills. Anderson & Sharpe (2008) identified some of those skills. They found that higher levels of client trust and relationship commitment flow from a systematic process for clarifying Goals & Values, explaining how advice reflects Client Goals & Values, having the willingness to facilitate difficult conversations about money, and initiating conversations about life changes

As George Kinder, who has been named “One of the 35 most influential people in financial services,” states: “ …a very personal conversation [with a client] is a very powerful vehicle for delivering freedom, starting with trust and relationship skills, and then moving into inspiration, and then rounding it out with the solid foundation of financial planning.”

You can also major in Financial Life Planning through GGU’s MS in Advanced Financial Planning.


About Dave Yeske

Dr. Dave Yeske CFP®, Director of the GGU’s Financial Planning programs and Distinguished Adjunct Professor, designed the new concentration. A Financial Planning Evangelist, he has made national TV appearances, led professional organizations, and published articles and books such as Evidence-Based Financial Planning: To Learn . . . Like a CFP.  The financial planning investment strategy he pioneered—The Yeske Buie Approach—has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal. The Financial Planning Association®(FPA) has recognized Dr. Yeske as one of the profession’s leading minds by awarding him their highest honor—The P. Kemp Fain Jr. Award (2017). He earned a doctorate in Finance from GGU in 2010.

For more information on the certificate, contact program director Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP® or request information about GGU’s Financial Planning programs.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.