Update: March, 2020 - Well, it looks like the recession has arrived suddenly! With the Coronavirus/COVID19 pandemic currently sweeping the world, I put together a FREE Financial Crisis Survival Guide (blog post with available printable PDF) to help those of you either preparing for or responding to a cut in hours, layoff or termination.
Here's the blog post for the guide: Financial Crisis Survival Guide (Version: COVID19) Blog Post Version
Here's the free downloadable PDF version of the guide: Financial Crisis Survival Guide (Version: COVID19) Downloadable PDF version
When you're working on eliminating debt, sometimes you get stuck and need some help. This is where a coach can be useful.
A financial coaching is a coach/mentor that meets with a client/mentee and helps them to identify their financial issues and goals.
One of the most common areas people use financial coaching is for debt elimination.
Rightfully so I suspect. With 78% percent of the population living paycheck to paycheck, it seems we need all the help we can get as a culture.
Once the areas of help needed have been identified, the financial coach then helps the client strategize a reasonable pathway to conquer their problems and to reach their goals.
Pretty self explanatory so far, right?
Now let's talk about some important differentiators between two professions that are often confused; financial coaching versus financial advisement.
Financial coaching (FC) is different from financial advisement (FA) or certified financial planning (CFP) in that an FC takes more of a holistic view of your financial picture.
For example, whereas a financial advisor (or CFP) can sell financial products like stocks, bonds, mutual funds as well as others, a financial coach has no traditional financial products to sell.
As such, a financial coach can arguably be much more objective when analyzing a client's overall financial picture.
With a financial coach, there is no conflict of interest between the client's interest and the coach's interest.
Why? Because the coach is not compensated based on selling a traditional "financial product" (i.e. stock, bond, mutual fund, ETF, life insurance, etc). The coach is normally compensated on an hourly or per grouping of sessions model.
For this reason a lot of our clients actually use both: 1) a financial coach for overall strategy and perspective and 2) a financial advisor (or CFP) to execute the purchase of certain financial instruments (i.e. stock, bond, mutual fund, ETF, life insurance, etc) to meet their goals.
In the case of Zero Debt Coach, financial coaching normally means helping clients to:
1) learn and improve budgeting skills,
2) eliminate debt and
3) chart a roadmap to "FI" or Financial Independence.
Practice, practice, practice makes permanent, permanent, permanent....
It's also important to keep in mind that, financial coaching is a highly individualized endeavor. Every situation is unique and requires detailed conversations around strategy.
Sure, there are general principles that apply to every situation (i.e. spend less than you earn, live on a budget, learn how to hate debt, etc.), but there quickly comes a time where individual circumstances might need a bit of help navigating with these newly acquired principles in mind.
You may be here because you're in debt and are having financial struggles, so you're looking for some real help in getting your problems resolved.
There are tons of resources here that can help you accomplish that on your own as well as with the assistance of a coach/mentor.
You also could be here because you're somewhere in the middle of the process and have stalled or just need little more encouragement and/or information to get moving forward again.
And while we always encourage using the resources on this site for "self-coaching" and enrichment purposes, we fully realize that even the best self-coaches sometimes get stuck.
For that, we've created the following three coaching options 1) to meet you where you are and 2) to help you get immediate results.
Our desire in this framework is to get you to success as fast as possible through a highly personalized set of action items.
Ready to get on track? Let's do it!
This site is full of free articles and resources (i.e. guides, budgeting forms, etc.) that you can use to self-coach.
The content has grown out of years with working with clients, listening to their stories, compiling their experiences and curating all of it into consumable content for you, the self-coaching debt eliminator.
So, everything here is for you to have the resources you need to be able to "coach" yourself.
Binge all you like and come back for more!
If you get to a place where you're stuck, it's always helpful to have someone to reach out to.
We offer a 30 minute Zoom call intended for you to share the details of your situation and see where coaching might be able to help you.
This is where we listen intently and try to point you in the right direction.
If you feel like you need additional coaching, we can outline what further coaching sessions would look like given your specific circumstances.
In this first session, we grab a focused topic like budgeting or debt reduction and comb through the details of your situation.
During this time, we take your details and develop an action plan.
This session normally produces a focused 5-10+ step "to do" list that will serve as a companion for your next steps toward accomplishing your goals.
Once we've helped you determine your goals in the initial session, we typically schedule a series of financial coaching sessions to help you reach them.
Here again, particular situations require differing levels of accountability and meeting frequencies.
So with these bundled sessions we want to help you achieve your goals as rapidly as is reasonable.
Maybe you do. Maybe you don't. Here's a blog post with a little more detail about the coaching process: "The 4 Most Popular Reasons People Reach Out For Coaching".
You can also just pick up the phone and call or shoot us an email.
I can usually help you clarify if/how coaching might be helpful to you (or not) with a brief 10-15 minute call.
Back in 2004, I went through Dave Ramsey’s, Financial Peace University (FPU) and read his book, Total Money Makeover after the fortunate intersection of 1) hearing him on the radio and then 2) someone giving me a CD of one of his talks.
These were game changing resources for me.
Brad & Angelica, aka "Brangelica"
At that point in time, a combination of my poor money habits and a recent career change had lead me into’ $43,000 of consumer and second mortgage debt.
To say that there was more month left at the end of the money would be a gross understatement.
I was broke and utterly hopeless, when I discovered this material and subsequently immersed myself in it.
As a result, I was able to eliminate all of my debt in just two and half years. I go into more detail of that part of my story here.
Once my debt was gone, I found myself fostering this growing passion to help other people do what I did in eliminating my own debt.
I immediately became an informal coach for friends and family, helping them to navigate the process of budgeting and getting out of debt using the same methodology I used.
I was immediately hooked on coaching!
There really is nothing like the thrill of helping people get their arms around this stuff.
After coaching students informally for about a decade, I decided to go through Dave Ramsey’s ‘Master Certified Financial Coach’ training in January of 2017 to become more “official”.
My years of helping people get out of debt continued to infuse a passion for coaching and I had basically turned it into a side hustle/ministry.
So, the training really helped me formalize my own coaching process and interactions with students.
At this point, my wife (Angelica) and I have helped over 1000 individuals, families and businesses navigate the debt elimination process and we are poised to reach many many more with the help of this blog as a platform.
So, the question is, how can we help you?
There are lots of free resources to get you started as well as a growing bevy of articles intended to be mini-coaching sessions for you.
So again, please binge and self-coach all you like. And let us know what’s working and what kind of resources you would like for us to create/provide the make the process easier.
0. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)2. Starter Emergency Fund of $10003. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)4. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses5. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)6. College Funding (if applicable)7. Pay Off The Home Mortgage8. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!