Specialty

Where Is Your Money Going?

By: Melissa Meagher • 4 years ago •

Have you ever heard someone say “We are on good incomes, do not lead an excessive lifestyle, but have no idea where our money goes each month.”? There is usually a resounding nodding of heads around the room and some even dare to say “That is us – we could use someone like you”.

That is the fundamental reason I started my financial coaching business, Talking Money. I believe there is a huge need to provide individuals and couples with guidance and support around their personal financial situations. Many people are looking for a framework and structure to help navigate their way out of their current financial situation and start moving toward achieving their financial goals and aspirations.

After nearly 20 years in the financial services industry, predominantly in financial planning, I decided to leave employed work and look at my options. I had always had a yearning to start my own business, but there is always that small point of what business should I start! I kept reflecting on the areas of financial planning that I was passionate about – empowering clients about their financial situation through knowledge and education – both via individual consultations and through presenting seminars. I got a great deal of pleasure out of being able to alleviate some of the stress for people around their finances, and hopefully allow them to sleep a little better at night!

My business idea was staring me straight in the face. As far as I could determine, no one was providing this service for individuals and couples, so that is where it all began. Another contributing factor – I was also very motivated to have a flexible work/life balance, a high priority for me was being available to my 2 young children. So if I could establish a business doing something I was passionate about, be around for my children and make some money along the way, I really had struck gold!

That was nearly 2 years ago now and it had been a very steep learning curve, understanding everything about starting a new business from scratch. I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by some wonderful people, who made the journey much easier and cheaper than if I had tried to navigate the way myself. I worked with a wonderful business coach who introduced me to many concepts I didn’t know about, but also connected me to the right people to help and guide me through. Being exposed to the self-employed/small business environment was like entering a whole new world for me. I was surrounded by like-minded people, always so willing to share and support. I had definitely found my tribe!

I have been exposed to many different facets of coaching throughout my life –being both the coach and the coached. I have been coached to compete in triathlons and various aspects of the Health and Fitness Industry. I completed a Certificate IV in Workplace and Business Coaching a number of years ago and coached Financial Planners to present seminars for a large superannuation fund. The one underlying theme that I have taken from all those experiences into my business is that a coach is not there to tell people what they should and shouldn’t do, or what is right and what is wrong for any given situation. A coach is there to provide a framework, to guide and support clients towards ultimately uncovering the solutions for themselves. That said, an extremely important aspect of coaching is also keeping people accountable and committed to whatever it is they have implemented to get them to the end goal. Whether it be completing a triathlon or being able to stand up in front of a room full of people and present a seminar. To a certain extent, if you have done your job effectively, you will be making yourself redundant as a coach. You have to empower clients to a point that they feel confident they have the skills and knowledge to go it alone, always knowing that you are there if further support is required.

As a financial coach, I aim to provide my clients with a solution to their current relationship with money and spending. I usually find they struggle with:

  • Living pay cycle to pay cycle or not even making it and having to rely on credit cards for fundamental living needs
  • Being totally reactive to ongoing financial commitments and
  • Feeling out of control of their financial situation.

I aim to provide individuals and couples with access to financial confidence, through empowering them with knowledge and education around clearing the space in front of them. Once they know their current financial position, they are able to start working towards achieving their financial goals and aspirations.

A very successful and important mentor said to me on a number of occasions that when he thinks about my business and what I achieve with clients he is reminded of the saying – “The best map in the world is no good if you don’t know where you are.” My aim is to assist clients to know where they are now and then work with them to develop that map to financial empowerment and confidence.

Another wonderful aspect of coaching is that you don’t always know where it is going to take you. It can morph into different areas that may need attention and provide solutions to problems that the client wasn’t aware existed or hadn’t recognised as an issue. I have experienced this a number of times with my clients and think it is due to the very fundamental essence of what coaching is all about – listening, guiding and supporting.

One particular client that I dealt with last year initially engaged me to help sort out her finances and put in place a spending plan – let’s call her Pam. Through getting to know Pam, listening and spending time with her, I realised the issue was so much more than implementing a budget. The eventual outcome was that I helped Pam get a Carer’s Pension from the Government, which meant she did not have to go back to work and was able to stay at home and care for her mother, who had early onset dementia. This was a fantastic outcome financially, but for me it was more about the peace of mind that this provided Pam, who was feeling very torn between having to generate an income for the household, whilst knowing her mother needed full-time care.

As well as a financial coach, I also see myself in the role similar to a triage nurse. I assess and assist clients in my area of expertise but also uncover many other gaps that need attention to get proper financial foundations in place. I have built a network of wonderful professionals that all have the same common goal. We provide the best possible outcome for the client. I work in conjunction with these referral partners to ensure that the client’s bases are completely covered. One example of this that I continue to experience is couples with young children and significant levels of debt who have no wills and very little life insurance in place. Quite frankly, this keeps me awake at night! I am able to facilitate meetings with the right people to remedy these situations quickly and with little fuss.

Someone asked me the other day if I would do anything differently if I was to start this journey again. I think I can honestly say I am happy with how I have gone about putting in the foundations of my business. What I would like to share is some of my learnings along the way.

  1. Everything always takes a lot longer than you think. I underestimated the time it took to have a fully functioning business up and running and ready to go to market.
  1. There is never a perfect time to get started. If you wait for that elusive moment it will never happen – paralysis by analysis!
  1. Don’t get in the way of yourself. If there is a block to getting something done, don’t ignore it and hope it will somehow miraculously fix itself. Give it to someone else that can do it!
  1. Not everyone in your circle of family and friends are going to be on board with your business idea. You need to surround yourself with “like-minded” people that will support and understand your dream.
  1. Find your passion! I have read about this a number of times over the years and never understood it. Now, when I am leaving a client appointment and know I am changing their lives, I get it.

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Ready, Set, Go! Everything you need to know to start coaching from the legends in the field. As well as the Business and Life coaches, our launch edition features David Parkin (AFL), Lisa Alexander (Netball Australia), Adam Commens (Hockey Australia), Simon Cusack (Swimming Australia), Sean Douglas (FFA) and many more!

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