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When it comes to goal setting, there's something to be said about the power of accountability. Committing to concrete action steps and sharing them with others could provide the motivation you need to actually bring your goals to life. It speaks to the power of social support, which can increase your sense of responsibility to follow through.
This is where financial accountability groups come in. As the name implies, financial accountability groups are designed to help everyday folks achieve their money goals.
What Is Financial Accountability?
Financial accountability is exactly what it sounds like—it comes down to owning your financial goals and finding ways to stay accountable to them. In practice, this will look different from person to person as everyone's financial situation is unique. Support can come from an individual partner, a small group of friends or a large online community. Regardless, financial accountability groups are structured in a similar way. Participants share their financial goals, along with concrete steps they plan on taking to achieve them. Common financial goals may include things like:
- Creating a budget
- Building an emergency fund
- Paying down debt
- Improving your credit score
- Saving for retirement
- Buying a home
From there, accountability groups usually prompt participants to provide updates on their progress. They are also meant to be a safe space where folks can share their challenges and setbacks while receiving support and some "You can do it!" encouragement from the sidelines. And when you do cross a milestone, the group will likely be there to recognize the accomplishment (and potentially reward you for it).
How to Find a Financial Accountability Group or Partner
Financial accountability can take a few different forms. Many personal finance coaches and certified financial planners (CFPs) provide clients with access to private accountability groups on Facebook, for instance. Some have a general focus while others may specialize in a specific demographic, such as women, parents or entrepreneurs. You can search around online for a financial planner that's geared toward your unique needs. ( This tool from the CFP Board can help you do a deeper dive.)
Alternatively, you might choose to create a private group of your own if you have a network of like-minded friends working toward their own financial goals. Some folks might prefer to take things offline and meet in person with a small group or one-on-one accountability partner. You won't get the guidance of a financial professional, but the social support on its own can go a long way.
Do You Have to Share Financial Details?
Working with a group can be a powerful motivator, but it doesn't mean you have to publicize personal financial information. Let's say your goal is to pay off debt. Sharing your target with an accountability group can open up a dialogue that helps you create an effective repayment plan. It can also connect you with other people who've accomplished a similar feat, which can be motivating in itself.
That said, there's no reason to disclose account numbers, bank login credentials or other personal financial information. If you're in a group that's asking for this kind of sensitive information, that's a red flag that you might be getting scammed.
It's important to maintain some guardrails whenever you're sharing details about your financial life. Disclosing certain information privately with a financial planner is very different from sharing them with strangers in a Facebook group. Depending on your comfort level, all you choose to share with strangers might simply be "I made a credit card payment today."
When to Seek Help From a Financial Pro
If you choose to partner with a friend or join an accountability group that isn't moderated by a financial professional, it may not offer the level of support you need. A CFP can provide personalized guidance that goes beyond encouragement. This can include everything from investing advice to retirement strategies that are built around your unique financial situation.
Those who are looking to improve their credit and strengthen their money management might also look to credit counseling for help. Credit counselors are certified professionals that specialize in financial literacy. Nonprofit organizations like the Financial Counseling Association of America and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling are good places to start.
The Bottom Line
Financial accountability groups can be a great resource for people who need a little motivation to achieve their financial goals. Lots of financial professionals offer them, though partnering with friends or family members might prove to be just as helpful. Let your individual financial needs be your guide. In the meantime, Experian has plenty of free resources that can help you improve your financial health, including the ability to get your credit score for free.