Is Financial Coaching Right For Me?
Probably. Yep, YOU could probably benefit from financial coaching. That’s the most honest answer I can give you. The fact is, most Americans need some level of guidance when it comes to managing their money. I’m not referring to investment management here – that's a separate topic from today’s post and we’ll cover that later. I’m referring to how intentional you are with every dollar that comes your way.
You see, 78% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. That means most people don’t have the ability to pay for a $1,000 emergency (your car breaks down, the AC stops working on the hottest day of the year) in cash – they have to use a credit card. It also means they’re not saving for their future, and the quality of life for their future self is uncertain. Americans have around $12 Trillion in debt. What’s most concerning to me, are America's astoundingly high rates of money-related anxiety and depression. According to a 2016 study by Northwestern Mutual, 85% of Americans experience anxiety about money, and 36% of those people said their level of anxiety had gone up over the past 3 years. Just how did financial anxiety impact these folks? More than 2/3 said it impacted their mood, their happiness and their ability to pursue their dreams. Let that sink in for a minute. The ability to pursue one’s dreams is significantly impacted, in a negative way, by worry over money. Friends, this is something we can fix. This is something you can fix. You have the ability to choose differently.
These numbers tell me that most folks are simply not in the habit of telling their money what to do each month, at least not yet. I emphasize the word “yet” because I firmly believe it is possible for anyone to develop the habit of being intentional with their money at any stage of life. Becoming intentional leads to freedom; freedom from feeling like a victim, and freedom from constant worry. Now, healthy stress is a part of life and can be very beneficial, but what we’re really worried about here is chronic stress. Persistent negative stress at any level is harmful to our mental and physical well-being.
No matter how much money you make, you can do something to change the course of your future. I promise you – if you are truly motivated to do something different in order to get something different, you will.
My challenge to you is this … what will YOU choose to do about your financial situation? You can choose to stay where you are and ignore the nagging feeling that you really should do something about that debt piling up, or you can do one thing different today to change your life. You could cut up your credit cards. You could choose not to eat out tonight, instead opting to eat the leftovers in your fridge. You could choose NOT to buy those shoes, even if they are on sale. Leave that cup of coffee from an over-priced coffee cart for another day. There are a million ways you could start to shift your spending and savings habits, today. Brainstorm 3 ways, write those ideas on a sticky note, and post it somewhere you can see it all day.
How does this all tie into coaching? Here’s a quick overview of a few ways financial coaching helps you move toward your dreams:
1. The process of coaching will help you create and stick to a budget every month
This is where it all starts. It’s the ultimate plan to realize your dreams. Budgets help you set boundaries by spending all of your money on paper first. This is a different focus for a lot of people – they may know where most of their money goes (see, I can log into my bank account right here on my phone and show you all of my transactions), but they haven’t necessarily told their money where to go there. It just “magically” goes those places. Once you learn the art of telling your money where to go instead of the other way around, you’ll be amazed at the positive feelings associated with this small shift (not to mention the amount of money you’ll likely save each month)
2. Develop the discipline-of-habits that will help you conquer the not-so-helpful habits that are preventing you from taking control of your money
3. Create a step-by-step plan to get out of debt
4. Develop helpful ways to communicate with your spouse or partner about money so you can work together as a team to reach your goals. And if you have kids, learn to talk to your kids about money!
5. Identify your current relationship with money and make a plan to nurture a newer, healthier way of relating to your money
6. Set challenging goals that motivate you, and design a plan to save to reach those goals
Look, coaching isn’t for everyone. I know I said in the beginning that you could probably benefit from coaching. I still stand by that statement. But the fact is some people just aren’t ready to make the shift required for a successful coaching relationship to flourish. They certainly could benefit, but they’re not in the right head space yet to take advantage of it. The key ingredients to a coaching relationship that produces the desired results are client engagement and motivation.
You have to want to do something different.
Coaching helps you tap into the strengths you already possess and harness those qualities to further the realization of your dreams.
It’s not for everyone yet, but perhaps it is for you.
One final, but important, note. If you have any traumatic or deeply negative emotional past experiences that are impacting your ability to make wise decisions with money, you may benefit more from the services of a mental health provider right now. Emotional wounds often need time and targeted work to heal. Make an appointment with a trusted therapist today. Once healed, coaching can guide you to the next level – to thriving and flourishing instead of surviving.
In sum, don’t forget to post your sticky note up today! Remember the homework assignment earlier in the article? Brainstorm 3 ways you can do one thing different today to change your financial situation for the better. Then (and this is the most important step) pick one and do it!
Now, go enjoy the weekend (and remember to always give yourself some grace)!
If this sparked your curiosity about coaching you can schedule a free 15-minute discovery call here to learn more. My promise to everyone who calls is an open and honest conversation about your fit for coaching. There is no judgment here; I’ve made my share of mistakes with money - we all have at some point. But we pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes, and move on to a better future.