Continuing Your Journey in Financial Counseling

The Certificate in Personal Financial Counseling provides professional counselors (i.e., CFPs, chaplains, psychological counselors, pastors, and others) the tools they need to guide them regarding personal finance and the counseling of others. Money management problems can be a root cause of many personal, family, and business problems. Properly trained counselors can lead their clients to resolution of these problems. Training in a biblically based approach to financial priorities and planning for counselors will aid them in improving the lives of their clients. The curriculum is developed at the master level and available for a certificate. The program was created with working professionals in mind offering courses online. Courses are offered year-round, in seven-week terms each semester.

*Total costs will range from $999 for one course to $5,000 for the completed certificate, plus books. 

Charleston Southern University has partnered with the Ron Blue Institute to create a curriculum based on years of research and proven methodologies. The “God Owns It All” approach to financial planning and counseling is the cornerstone for counseling clients in understanding financial wellness from a biblical worldview of heart, health, habits, and hope (RBI, 2017). The courses include:

Ron blue institute logo
Course CodeCourse Name
BUSI 581Foundations of Biblical Wisdom in Personal Finance
BUSI 582Biblical Financial Health, Wisdom, and Stewardship
BUSI 583Investing for Growth and Generosity
BUSI 584Financial Leadership, Discipleship, and Coaching
BUSI 585Capstone in Family Financial Management

All Personal Financial Counseling Certificate students are required to take BUSI 581 first, however, it is not a prerequisite to any other course. After a student has completed BUSI 581, that student may take any of the remaining courses in any order. All courses will be offered online in seven-week courses.

Certificates will be issued at the end of each course. A diploma recognizing the achievement of the certificate will be issued upon successfully completing all five courses.

Your next step to becoming a student at Charleston Southern

Application Requirements

  • Student’s must have a Bachelor’s degree.

Admission Materials

  • Online Application
  • Official Transcripts
  • Resume

Course Descriptions

This course is an in-depth study of the Biblical view of making and managing money.  The course coaches and trains students in the theory of a biblical approach to money and wealth. It then allows students to apply planning tools and processes that lead to true financial freedom. Students should be able to counsel others on the purposes and processes of a biblical approach to money. Students will learn to be a faithful manager of the resources that God has entrusted and apply these techniques to guide and counsel others.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe a Biblical worldview of making and managing money.
  2. Apply the financial planning tools and processes necessary to achieve true financial freedom.
  3. Develop a knowledge of the scriptures relating to money and possessions.
  4. Learn and defend the importance of personal financial objectives and plans that are driven by Biblical principles and driven by your life purpose.
  5. Develop, measure and assess personal financial plans including for life
  6. Develop, measure and assess financial goals and experience accountability
  7. Distinguish between wise and poor financial decisions
  8. Structure personal financial statements
  9. Evaluate and measure the services offered by financial institutions
  10. Assess different tools to prevent identity theft
  11. Manage and criticize a credit report

This course is an in-depth study of the Biblical view of financial health, wisdom and stewardship. Students will understand the process of developing wisdom and it importance to financial health and stewardship. The Live, Give, Owe, Grow model will be added to the toolbox of students who will be counseling and leading their clients in an understanding of Biblical financial wisdom.

Learning Outcomes

  • Developing Wisdom
    1. Understand the process of developing wisdom
    2. Define Biblical Worldview of wisdom
    3. Define and identify what characterizes wisdom
    4. List the various sources of Biblical wisdom
    5. List the attributes of God’s wisdom
    6. Explain the iceberg model as it relates to wisdom
    7. Describe the process of establishing personal convictions
    8. List various actions that can lead to personal convictions
    9. Define the attributes of a Christian financial counselor, coach, counselor, chaplain, etc.
  • Understanding Stewardship
    1. Review the Know, Believe, do aspects of financial stewardship
    2. Explain where financial stewardship fits in whole life stewardship
    3. Define the core message of Biblical financial stewardship
    4. Understanding financial stewardship as it relates to the Live, Give, Owe, Grow model

This course includes the study of investment theories, characteristics, and principles to practice in making an investment portfolio. The course examines various investment tools such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and alternative investments (donor advised funds and gifts to non-profits) from the investor and analyst’s perspectives. It also includes an in-depth study of the Biblical view of investing and generosity.

Learning Outcomes

  • Perspectives of Advanced Investing
    1. Describe and apply investment theories, characteristics and principles to practice of making an individual portfolio
    2. Understand the various investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, derivatives, and alternative investments from the investor’s and analyst’s perspectives.
    3. Discuss risk-return analysis techniques for assessment of investments.
    4. Examine investing using key models and practices of modern portfolio theory.
    5. Examine different strategies and techniques for personal investing using some self-reflection.
    6. Apply ethics to investing and security analysis.
  • Donor Advised Funds used for Giving, Growing, and Granting
  • Perspectives and Principles of Giving
    1. Describe the five reasons to give.
    2. Explain the process of moving from minimal spontaneous giving to maximized systematic giving
    3. Describe the three levels of giving
    4. Identify and support where giving should be done.
    5. Explain the spiritual benefits of influencing clients to give.
    6. Explain the economic benefits of influencing clients to give
    7. Explain the benefits to you the counselor of influencing clients to give.
    8. Articulate and explain the motivations people have to give.
    9. Explain how the right view of God impacts our money
    10. Summarize how counselors engage clients in conversations around generosity
    11. Explain how to engage non-believers in conversations about God’s ownership
    12. Identify issues that may arise in client conversations regarding generosity

This course helps students understand the role of leadership and why a good leader must be a good coach.  Students will explore core values of an effective coach: people, performance, and process. Students will describe and demonstrate the skills of coaching others in financial matters.

Learning Outcomes

  • Leadership
    1. Explain the components of the Disciple-Making Counselor
    2. Identify various characteristics of leadership
    3. Explore ways in which to define leadership
    4. Differentiate leadership from management
    5. List and explain the Five Attributes of a Leader
    6. Identify questions followers ask of Leaders
    7. Describe what leaders need to know about their followers
    8. List the characteristics of discipleship
    9. Explore the results of intentional discipleship
    10. Explain how faith is integral to our lives as a leader and disciple
    11. Explore how personal convictions are integral in our calling
  •  Discipleship
    1. Explain the importance of skilled craftsmen in our current culture as it relates to financial professionals
    2. Describe the five stages of the spiritual continuum
    3. List the two methods used to identify where a person falls on the spiritual continuum
    4. Explain the importance of Faith Statements and Diagnostic Questions
    5. Determine how to minister to those in all six spiritual continuum stages
    6. Describe biblical scenarios for each stage of the spiritual continuum
    7. List ways to encourage clients and prospects in every aspect of the spiritual continuum
  • Coaching Conversations
    1. Identify traditional financial measures that Christian Financial Counselors should not use in their practice
    2. Explain the steps in discovering your client’s story
    3. Describe the four “Questions that Matter”
    4. Explain the four steps in the Biblical Model for Active Listening
    5. Describe how to engage in active listening with both new and existing clients
    6. Identify the impact of money conflict within the confines of a marital relationship
    7. Describe a biblical example of a couple and the principles extracted from this illustration
    8. Explain how to use biblical principles in our own lives and in the lives of clients
    9. List the four keys to effective heart-level conversations with clients
    10. Describe the L.O.V.E acronym to be used in heart-level conversations
    11. Identify how to overcome common marital issues within a financial planning session

The course will include an examination of the components of full financial planning for individuals including cash flow and budgeting, investments and savings, retirement and estate planning, tax planning, insurance, and real estate. Students will learn to be a faithful manager of the resources that God has entrusted and apply these techniques to guide and counsel others in Family Financial Management.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding Lifestyle
    1. Contentment and controlling lifestyle
    2. Cash flow Planning
    3. Sequential investing
    4. Net Worth perspective and principles
    5. Impact of finish lines
    6. Borrowing and Debt
  • Life Planning and Goal Setting
    1. Review and explain the Perspectives and Principles of Life Planning
    2. List the Biblical Precepts of Life Planning
    3. Describe the three characteristics of money
    4. List Life’s Priorities
    5. Explain the various forms of Capital
    6. Describe Purposeful Life Planning
    7. Define Goal Setting
    8. Articulate Biblical Wisdom as it Relates to Goals
    9. Explain why goal setting is important
    10. Understand inappropriate ways to set goals
    11. Define Faith Goals
    12. Explain how to set faith goals
    13. List ways you can counsel clients in goal setting
  • Decision Making
    1. Explain the principles behind decision-making
    2. List the traps associated with decision-making.
    3. Identify the decision-making objectives.
    4. Describe the common barriers to decision-making
    5. Explain the 10-step decision-making matrix
    6. Identify ways to test decisions