On October 1, 2019, Money Mentor Group celebrated four years of being in business! On one hand, it’s hard to believe. My idea of starting a financial coaching practice has blossomed into a bigger version of a dream than I ever imagined possible. On the other hand, the past four years had moments that seemed to last for an eternity, as being an entrepreneur can be gut-wrenching! The truth is, I wouldn’t change a thing!
The seed was planted
The seed of the concept of financial coaching was planted during the many years I spent in the Financial Services arena, where I had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of clients about their money. I witnessed behaviors that fascinated me:
- Those clients who had millions of dollars in their investment accounts who didn’t feel they could afford to replace the carpet in their 30-year-old home
- The client who mentally shut down when they didn’t understand a concept
- The clients who wanted to invest more, but always had an excuse to not do so
- The clients who had been investing for years and still couldn’t tell you what they were saving for
- The couple who had secrets from each other-hiding money (and behaviors) from their spouse
I came to realize these wonderful people needed more than investment advice-they needed clarity around the emotional aspect of money management. I knew what they were lacking-it was what I needed in the years before I was in this profession.
Additionally, it was my own money story that kept nudging me to start this career. I knew that the emotional empowerment with money was a game-changer because I had lived it.
When I am asked about “my why” I always say that my entire life led me to this calling. I grew up in a household where scarcity was the theme and was articulated repeatedly. The foundational concept that we “couldn’t afford” resulted in confusion, anger and shame-both my brother and I felt guilty for wanting anything that wasn’t deemed a necessity. There were many occasions where I stuck out like a sore thumb for not having what my friends had-new clothes, resort vacations and going on extracurricular field trips. These were the types of things I learned not to ask for, as the response would always be the same and met with anger.
Although I aspired to become a teacher, I was drawn to social work and psychology as my major in college. It was a perfect fit for me and would serve me much later in life when the concept of financial coaching started to become the direction I wanted to move towards.
In the years after college, the journey I labored through with my own finances was filled with guilt, shame, overwhelm and fear. When my husband and I hit rock bottom financially I became paralyzed. I wanted help desperately, but there was no one to turn to. I searched the yellow pages under the “Financial” category and was upset to find financial advisor advertisements that promised me they would help me reach my financial goals-NOT! I couldn’t imagine calling one of them-I knew they couldn’t help me dig out of the nightmare of extreme debt we were buried under. I felt isolated.
The hopelessness and shame took a huge toll on my physical and emotional health. I couldn’t sleep at night, I was overeating and undereating, I was calculating every penny that came in and out of the household-over and over. I was hopeless…
The silver lining
The silver lining to these circumstances was that my husband and I were talking about money. It was the first time in our marriage that we were approaching the money topic at all. The conversations started with our calculators and bills in front of us. We would strategize on what to pay and when; we paid the bills together once a week, building a team approach to tackling the issue.
After a couple of months, we both felt defeated. The debt was not budging and life through us a few curveballs-unexpected medical bills and increased daycare costs put us even further behind than when we started.
Having never been a “numbers” person, I had an idea – what if we made this issue more about our emotional goals rather than goals about numbers? I had daydreamed about having ten thousand dollars in savings and no debt. I started obsessing about it-not because of the numbers, but because of how I would feel if we could accomplish this. I would be calm, confident and secure. Every time I thought about it, I could feel the weight of the world lifted off of me. I could breathe!
I shared this vision with Mike and we decided to focus on having every financial decision support the emotional outcome we desired: confidence! I immediately felt empowered to shift my financial decision making towards that outcome. With every spending decision we made, we asked ourselves if it would lead to financial confidence. If the answer wasn’t yes, then we had to tell ourselves “no.” We held each other accountable to this and began to prioritize our needs and goals.
It worked! It took years to finally pay down the huge amount of debt and to save even more than the ten thousand dollars, but we were able to stay on track with using the desired emotional outcome as a guidepost. We implemented a debt repayment strategy and were able to begin saving, too! Little did I know that this gut-wrenching experience lead to a calling to help others with their money!
Money Mentor Group was born
Money Mentor Group is committed to providing the tools that bring clarity and confidence in managing money. We constantly strive to level up the client experience. This elevation in service took a huge upward trajectory when Karen Smith joined the company two years ago. Her expertise in bookkeeping combined with her passion for promoting a proactive method to guide clients in getting their crucial documents organized has proven to be a perfect fit for the company. Her book, I Didn’t See That Coming has been a game-changer in motivating her readers in preparing for a life event.
I am proud of the work we are doing and the continued growth of the company. My “why” hasn’t wavered, but has become even stronger as the years have gone by. I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store!