I met Linda & Tom in October 2019 – they were referred to me by a former client. They lived in Chicago, I lived in Baltimore, and we met on Zoom in the days before my financial coaching business went totally virtual (thanks, Covid).
I don’t remember much of what was said in that first conversation, but I was struck by the heaviness in their voices when they spoke about their finances. “How could I help them?” they wondered aloud. Their consumer debt had been steadily increasing for over fifteen years. Tom wasn’t even sure how much debt they had because after fighting about money for so long, they decided Linda would manage the bills.
When clients come to me with significant consumer debt, they have previously tried to get rid of it, usually many times over. They have often transferred high interest balances to 0% interest credit cards, used debt consolidation programs, tried out several budgeting apps, cut back on all the things, promised themselves (and each other) to “do better,” and asked for advice from financial advisors, family members, friends, and Google.
Meeting with a financial coach is usually not option number one (or even #20!). People want to figure things out on their own, and embarrassment, pride, determination, and fear stop them from seeking help.
When we first met, Linda and Tom had tried out all of the options above without lasting success. They didn’t have much hope that working with me would provide the relief they were looking for, but they showed up anyway. And for that I am grateful.
The first thing to know about financial coaching is that it’s not a quick fix. If you have substantial debt or bad money habits or no clue what’s really going on with your overall financial situation, it took time to get there. It will also take time to create positive money habits that lead to clarity, confidence, and peace of mind.
The second thing to know about financial coaching is that it’s my job to believe in you more than you believe in yourself. At least at first. Your personal finances are personal to you but they aren’t personal to me. I see your money objectively and find ways to save, pay off debt and invest in what’s important to you when you see NONE. That’s the gift of a good coach.
The third thing to know about financial coaching is that you will be successful to the degree to which you are coachable. Coachable means that you show up, you put it all out onto the table, and though you may feel scared, embarrassed, or ashamed, you won’t let any of that get in your way. I don’t care how much you’re in debt or how much you have in savings, you came to me to make changes. Are you ready to take the coaching?
Linda and Tom let me believe in them before they had built that belief in themselves. I can share about my amazing budgeting system, my debt reduction tools, my clients’ success with paying off debt, etc., but none of that matters if my clients don’t give me the chance to believe in them.
People talk a lot about accountability with financial coaching, personal training, weight loss, etc. It’s important, I agree. But, when my clients like Linda & Tom show up for calls with me, they step into my listening. I never falter in my belief in them. THEY falter, they question, they sometimes despair, but I never do. I hold a space for what’s possible. I see their numbers and their holistic financial picture objectively and with no attachment.
Eventually, with coaching, time, and results, my clients adopt the way I listen to them. They see what I see, and it’s magical. They see possibilities arise that they never before thought were attainable. For Linda and Tom, it was moving across the country to live closer to family. It took a year for them to mention that this was a far off dream and to ask if I thought it would ever be possible. “Of course it’s possible!” I said. And it is.
On June 1st, 2022, Linda & Tom will pay off their final payment from $94,000 in consumer debt. I may fly to Chicago to celebrate with them!
In the end, it’s not about how much money you have, it’s about having options. My goal with ALL of my clients is to create options – the ones they desire on our first call and the ones they haven’t yet dared to speak out loud. I want that for everyone because who knows what’s possible if we all had confidence and peace of mind around our finances? I’d like to find out.
If you’re interested in learning how we could work together, let’s talk.