Wrap up w/ The Financial Gym; goals & more!

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!

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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.

Balancing your Finances with The Financial Gym

Talking about money or even just thinking about money can be difficult and really just make you want to bolt to the nearest exit to avoid it at all costs, especially when you are just starting out on your own; maybe you own a business or are learning how to manage your finances. For the last few weeks, I've been fortunate enough to work with amazing women from The Financial Gym to help me to all of this - better prepare me for my future; help me set goals, balance and manage my finances, make all of this feel less intimidating, and present it in a way that was comforting and just easy to understand. Trusting someone to talk over your finances with can be difficult but I felt at complete ease when I was discussing my future plans, where I was at now, and the little information I knew about my money currently with one of the financial trainers. It is almost as if you are talking to a friend; a casual conversation that flowed effortlessly between money, finances, goals, to more personal topics or off conversation topics that naturally found their way into our first Skype sessions. A little background first: can be found here on The Financial Gym website.

For most of us, we leave this magical land of college where our lives were pretty carefree and somewhat tied to your parents (possibly) compared to the reality post graduation looking for a job, apartment, moving to a new city, and the burden of budgeting your paycheck, saving for retirement, a family and maybe even trying to throw a vacation in there! Feeling unprepared we just go through the motions, living our lives and not too concerned as to how we are spending our money. We may be oblivious to the $5 latte or $10 smoothie we buy every day because we are only thinking in that moment, not realizing that it truly does add up; month after month and year after year! For me, it is always out of sight out of mind. When I do not look at my finances in front of me, then I don’t always know what I am spending.

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After leaving my stable job this past April; one where health benefits were covered, I received a paycheck each week guaranteed, I had vacation days, and paid sick time…life was pretty good. Yet, I decided to pursue my true passion, leave that job to start my own business (of blogging, writing, teaching yoga, and anything else that came my way) and knew it was a risk, but it would be worth it. 

Living in the city, with things like high rent cost, blogging and teaching yoga isn’t the most ideal job to have especially when you are first starting out because you are constantly wondering when and where your next paycheck is coming from AND you are working 24-7. Just because Friday comes, does not mean you receive a paycheck, in fact there are some weeks that I do not even get paid! It is a constant struggle to manage your money, balance your spending, while constantly finding new projects for the future as you always need to stay a few steps ahead of the game, while working on current ones, all while staying afloat, manage your stress levels, stay relevant and most importantly, not burn out! 

I wanted to change all of that, now that I have established my own business. It is a goal of mine to be more aware of how I spend and save my money so I can better prepare myself for the future that I hope to have. It is always important to think about goals, what you want in the next few months, next few years, and where you see yourself in the long term future. Speaking with the women from The Financial Gym helped me with all of this! On their website, they have a podcast, "Martinis & Your Money," if you want to tune in where their CEO, Shannon, speaks with 3 clients who go over their process and experience of working with them! So, not only can you read about my experience here, but you can hear from others as well and Shannon! There is also another great article on the blog that talks about the top ten ways to save money! Click here.

In a nutshell, you, have the opportunity to work one on one with one of their financial trainers that offer you tools, resources, and their full support to make sure you stay on track once they have gone over your full financial profile. The best part is you can do all of this online! For me, I was paired with Joy, one of their financial trainers and so far we’ve had two Skype meetings, each lasting about 1.5 hours. During our first conversation I will admit that I wasn’t prepared for the call at all. I was slightly embarrassed but Joy was so easy to speak with, she wasn’t intimidating, and constantly reassured me that it was OK that I wasn’t prepared for the meeting. The first meeting with one of their trainers, is the discovery session and the second is the plan delivery where they give you a financial roadmap! During the first meeting the trainer literally discovers everything about you and during the second meeting they lay it all our for you and act as your accountability partner and money mentor to help you and hold you accountable along the way to accomplishing your goals! 

To summarize, in our first meeting, Joy talked through different points; such as setting goals, mapping out my journey, how their approach is private, judgement free, answering the question: what is the most important to me, and what my current financial situation is now, etc (a total of 8 points). We went through all 8 step by step and it was a real wake up call, but in a good way! It really allowed me to think about my future goals, how I spend my money, what areas I need to be better with spending my money, and most importantly allowed me to think about what I want to be doing in a few years financially or even in general. It didn’t necessarily cause any added stress, yet this first call was a proactive way to begin to think about the ways in which I can prepare now wisely in how I spend my money so I can have the future that I have always dreamed of having. 

The second meeting is a week later and before this meeting, Joy, had sent over a spreadsheet of everything that we had talked about during our first one; my income, assets, liabilities, my goals. It was amazing to see everything put together as I have never taken the time to actually put this type of information down on paper myself. You could tell that she was truly listening during our first conversation and also made notes on the documents, suggestions as to how I can save money, areas in which I can manage my money in order to reach certain goals that I have set for myself. Nothing was out of my reach. Once again, it wasn’t intimating at all, nothing was forced upon me and it was as if I was once again conversing with a friend!

I think my favorite part was, their Financial Gym Training Zone. Here, you link your credit cards, bank accounts etc, and you and your financial trainer (which would be Joy for me) can keep track of your money together, what you are spending, how you are spending it, where etc. This truly does make you more aware of how you are handling your money especially since someone else is watching how you are spending your money too! It almost feels as if you have your parents watching you spend your money on something you shouldn’t be buying!! 

After the first two meetings with one of their financial trainers, the next time you officially speak with your trainer again is in a few months. The reason being, is they want to check in on you then to see if you have essentially done your homework. Have you saved money, have you reached any of the goals you have set for yourself that you discussed, have you changed any of your spending habits and so forth. So for me for example, I am trying to set aside money to re do my blog, I also want to become better at spending money at the market, and I want to begin to save money each money and set it aside for the future.  During this time, you can still email your own personal trainer at any time and use any of their resources, such as the Financial Gym Training Zone or even attend any of their events in you are in the area! 

I am excited to see how far I have come and where my life is at then. Blogging is a different world because it is different every single day, week, and month, for me at least, yet that is what makes it exciting for me. I have set certain goals for myself, yet things are constantly changing and evolving but I am excited to make certain financial changes, be more consistent with my spending and saving, and reach the goals that I have set and discussed with Joy. I can’t wait to continue to share this journey with you all too! 

So far, I think that this has been a really great resource and is especially great for anyone that feels lost or intimidating by handling their finances. 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.