I can’t believe that my follow up post is already here and the first one that I had written was in August! You can read my first blog post here. I don’t know where the time has gone, but it seems just yesterday that I was sitting down and meeting my Financial Trainer, Joy from the Financial Gym to help better prepare me for my future, help me set goals, balance and manage my finances, and just make everything related to finances seem and feel less intimidating. It is actually coming at the perfect time, this post, as we end 2017 and begin a new year just in a matter of weeks. It allows me to reflect on the last year since leaving my full time job in April and starting my own business, seeing how far I have come and what I hope to see in the next year and the years to come.
Just a quick re-cap, if you are unfamiliar, for the last few months (since August) I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing women from the The Financial Gym and was paired with one of their financial trainers, Joy, to work with one on one who offered me different tools, resources, and her full support to make sure I was always staying on track once she went over my full financial profile. All of our calls were through Skype and lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours! My financial trainer acted as a mentor and accountability partner, holding me accountable along the way to help me accomplish the goals that I had set forth for myself. We dove deep into my finances, liabilities, my budget, spending habits, retirement plans, personal goals for the future; and everything else in between related to finances. You can read all about my first few meetings here and more about The Financial Gym in general, as well as the entire process!
Some of my biggest take away since working with Joy have been:
1. Becoming more mindful of my spending habits
2. Establishing concrete goals in terms of financing, budgeting, & saving in real time as well as for the future
3. Becoming more confident in my finances and taking charge!
4. Feeling less intimidated about finances in general & having more knowledge of how things work
I will admit that my own father is a CPA as well as a financial advisor so previously and to this day, I receive much of my financial advice from him. I am fortunate enough to have someone in my family whom I can trust to handle my money, help me with budgeting, and everything in between. However, working with Joy has allowed me to take more of an initiative with my money and become more involved. Previously, I would just assume and know that everything was being taken care of such as my taxes, money set aside for retirement, and it was simple to be able to speak to my dad about how to handle my money or what I needed to earn each month in order to pay for certain things, save, budget, or just plan for the future; but it was little more hands off on my end.
With Joy, I was able to set more concrete goals, understand how everything works, take action, become more confident in my own work, and realize certain habits that I was making in terms of spending. She was able to draw conclusions as to how I was spending my money & ways in which I could save, hold me accountable along the way, and check in with me whenever I saw fit which in turn made me more aware of my habits. Joy, also would lay everything out for me through the use of spreadsheets, allowing everything to sink in once again in a very clear, simple way. It was beneficial for me to have someone I didn’t know personally, watching over my habits because it actually made me more aware of what I was doing. Every time I would use my credit card, hit a new goal, missed a goal, or put aside money, I felt proud or felt that I could do better next time. It was almost as if I didn’t want to disappoint Joy and the hard work that she was putting in and I wanted to keep up on my end as well! Our relationship was 50/50 and I needed to also put in the work and the effort just as she was for me! Therefore, it was refreshing working with her and not someone personally as I mentioned before. I held myself more accountable for my actions.
Some of the goals that I established while working with Joy:
1. Set aside money to re-do my blog.
1. I want to be able to save enough money in order to work with someone on re-designing my blog. I hope that by Jan 1 I have established this goal. I want to be able to have someone in place by the new year and then begin to initiate the goal once the year starts.
2. Cut back on spending in certain areas:
1. Grocery bills
1. Notice my spending habits, how can I save, how am I wasting food/product, what ways am I overspending each week
2. Misc. spending: Little things that tend to add up that you are unaware of such as: eating out, uber, coffee, where you are buying certain household products or items that you could either buy in bulk or cheaper at different places in order to save money.
3. Credit cards:
1. Increase my credit card limit
2. Take advantage of more opportunities that are available: example: points / rewards
4. Set aside a percentage of money each month or every time I am paid
5. Goals set for work
1. Increase the number of events I host for 2018
2. Blog re-design (mentioned above)
3. Establish longer term contract with companies that I work with
4. Increase my rate
5. Teach more yoga classes
6. Become better at handling administrative tasks
1. Example: I can always reach/hit long term/big goals, but often struggle at meeting smaller deadlines that take up less time because I am looking at the bigger picture.
1. One way to overcome this; I’ve decided to set aside 1-2 hours one day every 2 weeks in order to take care of things such as: paying bills, checking in on missed invoices, follow up emails, organizing my calendar, etc.
These are just a few of the goals that we had established while working together over the last few months. It has been an extremely positive experience and eye opening especially in my spending habits and little areas that I can save money, which will help in the long run. It might seem like not much now, but a little bit here and there adds up in the long run! Working for myself it is increasingly important that I am aware of this because there is less stability versus have a stable / steady income. However, after spending time with Joy I feel more confident in the direction that my finances are moving and even my work. Just in the last few months I have been able to increase my projects with the companies that I work with, my income, and have completely adjusted my spending habits. It isn’t always perfect, but I am 100% more mindful.
In terms of the goals that I have set and if I have reached them or the current status; I believe that they are a work in progress. Every day, week, month should be a goal to cut back on spending money and looking for ways to save, but you also have to adjust at certain times due to holidays, financial expenses (bills), and even times spent with friends! I am however, happy to say that I have cut back on spending in areas such as my grocery bills, uber expenses, and even coffee by walking more, making coffee at home, and organizing a grocery list before going to the store so I am better prepared! I have also been able to increase my pay with companies that I work with and establish longer term contracts as well as teach yoga at a second location. For events, last year (2017) I hosted around 5 but this year I wanted to increase that number and so far, I have scheduled 2 with another one in the works. I am still in the process of working on finding the right person to help me re-design my blog as that will be a big financial expense for me and a big decision that I will need to make! It is something that I want to spend time on making sure I do right since it is a huge part of my brand. For the last two weeks, I am proud to say that I have been more organized with smaller tasks and bigger projects at hand. I have been able to focus on one thing at a time and then set aside certain hours to check emails, pay bills, and take care of any miscellaneous tasks. I’ve noticed that I have been able to complete projects before deadlines, stress less, and take on more. I am happy with where I am right now with the goals that I have set and know that I have to work towards a few more, but feel satisfied with the work that I have completed thus far and continue to do!
I believe that it is extremely important to take charge of your finances now in order to better prepare yourself for your future and it shouldn’t be something that feels intimidating. Even if you do not have a 5 year plan or have set long term goals in place, you can still have a sense of how everything works: budgeting, understanding your assets, liabilities, retirement options, credit card options, how much money you are spending for health insurance, rent and how much you are bringing in each month. By working with Joy closely I was able to grasp these terms and then that allowed me to establish better goals for my future; where I see myself with my own career, how much I want to be making, what I need to do in order to save for a family or even purchase a home or a new car, even if a few of these things aren’t in my immediate future.
My next meeting with Joy will take place after the new year in January and hopefully I will have a few of the set goals above met! I feel that if I wasn’t speaking with Joy or having her watch over my finances, many of these goals wouldn’t have been met or I wouldn’t be as mindful about my spending habits. This isn’t because I lack motivation, it is quite the opposite, it is just that I get caught up in my day to day routine or only look at the month ahead. I often forget to set time aside to take care of things that I personally want to do in order to build my brand because of the day to day tasks or projects that I am working on. With Joy, I was able to establish a few long term goals, set deadlines, and be held accountable for my actions, instead of brushing them off or being afraid to achieve them. Speaking with her also made me excited for the new and the direction that my brand will be going. I have things in mind that I want to take care of and I am excited to implement them!
Hopefully after reading this and my first post, you too will feel less intimated about taking initiative with your finances and actually feel more confident about handling everything! The women at The Financial Gym certainly make it easier and extremely comfortable to talk to them openly and they have been a great resource!
It is such a great start! If you want to try it out, they have been so generous to offer a 50% discount code by just simply saying “balance with b” off your first month of service if you get started in September! You can also sign up for a free 15 min consult call here to learn more about the service and get all your questions asked and answered before making a decision to use them or not.