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When I recently retired from Corporate America in my mid-50s, people looked at me like I was crazy. I’m sure they wondered if I had a health issue, a personal crisis or had just decided to give up all my material possessions and go live on an island somewhere. I assure you that none of these were the case! I had actually been planning on retiring early for many years and this move was the result of years of aggressive saving, dedicated budgeting and good money habits. And it was not an easy feat.

I’m now thrilled to announce that I am starting a new career, one that combines my love of personal finance, my desire to help people and my skills as a coach. In joining Money Mentor Group as a Financial Coach, I will work to empower my clients to reach whatever financial goals they set for themselves, whether it’s paying off debt, figuring out a workable spending plan or simply gaining a better understanding of their relationship with their money.

As I’ve started to tell people about becoming a financial coach, they question if this is similar to a financial advisor. I explain that financial advisors give advice on investments, insurance and tax strategies. Their work focuses on the facts – rates of return, tax brackets and risk tolerance. A financial coach, on the other hand, helps people who feel stress around financial habits and relationships, to help relieve that stress and put them on a path to financial confidence. Financial coaches work with the emotional and behavioral aspects of managing your finances. 

In a recent study done by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau researchers found that access to financial coaching resulted in measurable gains in three areas: money management, objective wealth metrics like savings, debt levels, and credit score, and subjective feelings of financial confidence and well-being. So if you feel out of control with your money, that you and your loved one are not on the same page with money, or that you have money habits that have led to an unhealthy financial situation, a financial coach will be your mentor and accountability partner and give you the necessary tools to help you improve your mindset and behavior.

If I’m being completely honest, I’m a little freaked out that I’m starting a new venture in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. As I’m writing this blog post, the tally of people infected is rising, the stock market’s crashing and we’re all trying to figure out which Netflix series to binge-watch next. This pandemic has only strengthened my passion for helping others build healthy money habits for long term financial confidence- now more than ever!

During stressful times, as we’re in today, it’s important to feel like we’re doing one thing every day to move forward in a positive direction. Doing something- anything- makes us feel more in control over our lives and we need that right now. Here are three things you can do to reduce the amount of anxiety you may be feeling about your finances:

Know where all your money goes each month: Make a list of all the bills you pay each month and how much you typically spend on each. This will make you feel more in control over your money. You may also want to use a budgeting website, or app such as Mint.com or YNAB.com (You Need a Budget) to track your spending. Here at Money Mentor Group, we’ve developed a simple-to-use budgeting calculator called the Personal Savings and Spending Plan to help you quickly and easily see how much money you’re spending on three critical categories: monthly bills, variable expenses, and daily spending. This simplified tracking system makes it easy to assess your spending habits and create a plan for the future, including measurable results.

Call one creditor and find out your options for reducing or delaying your payment: Most major mortgage companies, credit card companies, utilities, and even insurance companies have options they can offer you to help you during this time. Each company is different and unfortunately, you do have to call. Hold times are long but hey, we’re all home with not much to do anyway! Don’t rely on the information on their websites, as this information may not be as updated as what you’ll learn from talking to a representative.

Limit your exposure to news and social media: Step away from your phone, your computer and your TV!  You’re likely to feel way more stressed if you’re constantly watching the doom and gloom news, reading articles that are posted on social media and hearing people complain about what they can’t do. We all need to practice self-care right now.  I’ve noticed that the number of ads with ‘amazing’ sales that are popping up on my newsfeed seems to be increasing day by day. Now’s not the time to stress-shop.

If you’d like to find out more about how I can help you with financial stress during this time, give me a call at (571) 419-4770 or email me at Alissa@moneymentorgroup.com.

Financial wellness starts here!

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