September 19, 2016 7 reasons you should employ a coach for your health and financial fitness
A few years ago I was feeling tired and unfit.
My exercise regime was non-existent and my diet was getting progressively worse.
One day I decided to go for a run.
Wow, what an eye opener, I could hardly run 1km and I was panting and wheezing.
I needed help.
I decided to give a personal trainer a go, but I didn’t know how to choose one.
Should I pick a trainer based on their fitness level or qualifications? That’s a good start, however it didn’t tell me if they were going to be able to help me get the best results.
After trying a few trainers and experiencing a variety of personality types, I found my perfect trainer: Emlyn.
He was someone who motivated me, educated me, coached me and had all the technical skills and experience required to get great results. I ended up going every week for more than two years. The only thing that stopped me from continuing with Emlyn was moving to a new location when I had a family.
So why did Emlyn work?
He made me do what I would not have done if I didn’t show up – work consistently to achieve my objectives and make smart decisions.
It’s just down to that.
Keeping on top of personal finances and wealth is the same: it’s hard to do the right thing.
Sorting out our finances and keeping on top of them is important, but often our finances get pushed down the priority list.
It’s just not easy to know if you are making the right decision, so you put it off.
It’s all about finding a partner who will motivate, education and coach you to living the life you want.
Just like when you’re looking for a good personal trainer, when you seek the help of a financial adviser, background, reputation, and service offerings are among the most important factors to consider.
But the biggest determiner of whether or not to work with a financial adviser should be how they approach their client relationships – do you feel like they fit you?
And just as my relationship with my personal trainer helped me to transform my physical health, your relationship with your financial adviser can help you have a healthier and more productive approach to your money.
Let’s look at the similarities between personal trainers and financial coaches, and how working with the right financial adviser can help you transform your life for the better.
Why you need a coach for your health and financial fitness
1. Some things are harder to do on your own
I know a bunch of fitness enthusiasts who regularly exercise on their own without the need for a personal trainer. They have good discipline and don’t need help keeping motivated.
Good on them, but for the rest of us it’s a bit harder.
Our habits around exercise and food can be average, even though we genuinely want to do better.
The same goes for our finances: we know we need to stick to a household budget or have a more disciplined approach to savings, but we lack the motivation.
And then what do we do? We try to figure it out on our own.
We’ve all been there just after the New Year: we make a resolution to lose weight or spend less, so we look up the latest exercises online, download an app to track our spending, or subscribe to a health blog or a financial advice podcast with the aim to get in shape for summer–or start a home-buying fund.
The challenge is keeping to the plan for more than a couple of months and maintaining the momentum as life gets in the way. It’s hard to make long term, lasting change to your health fitness and your finances.
That’s what a good coach does:
Motivates you to do the hard things and lays the foundation on which you can build better habits over the long term.
2. Once you identify your mistakes, it’s harder to keep making them
When I first came to my PT Emlyn, I had no idea what kind of diet or exercise plan I would need.
I assumed he would jump into making recommendations, but Emlyn understood that the key to wellness isn’t just about what you do–it’s about how you think about your overall health.
He spent quite a bit of time assessing not only my level of fitness, but also learning about my lifestyle and my level of basic understanding of how exercise and diet contribute to weight loss/gain and health.
And then he identified the key mistakes I was making: too much sugar, too much alcohol, and irregular exercise.
Week on week we talked about each of these and over time and with his guidance I changed.
A financial coach can do the same thing:
- Help to assess your financial situation and how you currently approach your finances
- Identify some unhealthy financial habits
- Coach you over time to adjust your behaviours
Here are some common financial mistakes you may be making:
- Living beyond your means
- Bad debt
- Not having a money system
- Not having clear goals and priorities
- Deferring financial decisions
A financial adviser will also help guide you to make decisions you’ve been putting off: whether it’s a smaller decision like the best way to buy a car or something bigger like preparing to change your career or buying a family home.
3. Coaches provide an objective view
One thing that holds people back from getting a physical trainer or a financial adviser is a sense of embarrassment.
After all, who wants a stranger to see how out of shape they’ve gotten or what a mess their finances are in?
But here’s the thing: sometimes we need to hear just how bad it’s gotten in order for us to understand the kind of work we need to do to make improvements.
My experience with Emlyn was a real wake-up call: after a health check, he gave me a frank assessment of my fitness level and told me it would take a lot of hard work to achieve my fitness goals.
But he also gave me hope: he knew that these goals were achievable and could create a plan to get me there.
Like a fitness trainer, your financial adviser should also give an honest assessment of your present finances and the kind of work it will take to help you meet your financial goals.
A financial adviser brings insights, experience and knowledge. So as your situation changes and you need to make decisions, they guide you in the appropriate way.
4. Coaches hold you accountable
The very first thing Emlyn wanted to know was what I wanted to accomplish by working with him.
Did I want to lose weight? Build strength? Was there a marathon or other event I was in training for?
He didn’t assume I had the same goals as all of his clients, because each of his clients had different goals.
Then we created a plan that I could stick to (with a bit of help), and he walked me through each step so I could understand the purpose of each exercise and diet component. As I progressed in the program, Emlyn would help me re-define short term goals like daily calorie intake or amount of reps so I could continue to work toward my long-term goals.
Goal setting and plan creation are also part of working with a financial adviser: while some people dream of getting rich, they often have more pressing, realistic and relevant objectives like saving up for your kid’s education or retirement or starting a business.
A modern financial adviser will take the time to understand your personal goals and objectives, check in with you regularly, and tune your financial plan as your lifestyle changes.
5. Coaches teach you new things
Another reason why some people are reluctant to seek the help of a personal trainer or a financial adviser is that they know they’ll be asked to take risks and leave their comfort zones.
But our comfort zones are the reasons we fall out of shape or fall into debt.
A great fitness trainer or financial coach understands how to motivate you to try things you otherwise might not–whether it’s a new exercise or a mini-challenge around your spending.
6. A coach keeps track for you
One of the best things about showing up at the gym with a trainer is that they tell you what to do and how many to do, you don’t have to think too much about it – this makes it easier.
Finance is the same.
It takes too much time to keep on top of every managed fund, savings and investment product, or market fluctuation. If you are truly committed to creating a long term financial future, you need someone to keep track of all of it for you and advise you on the best options.
7. A coach won’t let you plateau
Every time I met with Emlyn, I’d check the scale and measure my body to see if I was making progress toward my weight loss goals and muscle-building goals.
At one point, we noticed I hadn’t lost weight in a few weeks, despite my sticking to the plan–so Emlyn added some more aggressive workouts to the mix, and the following week I was a few kilos leaner.
As my situation changed, so did my plan.
So it goes with financial advising.
Having a financial adviser means you’ll always have someone guiding you to do better so you can make the best of what you have.