By Daniel Rodriguez | Dr. Budgets
I love it when we feature client success stories on the blog! Although we work with these clients for many months and see the progress they make through the coaching program, I love hearing their perspective on how much Dr. Budgets has helped them. It’s incredibly rewarding and I’m always proud of what they’ve accomplished.
This month, I wanted to do something different. Since Rachel had so many great quotes in her success story, I wanted to highlight some of my favorites with you:
“I think my total debt balance wasn’t because of one big splurge, but an accumulation of many years of small, poor decisions. Mostly, it was just me living outside of my means.”
Daniel: I see this a lot. When I work with clients who have a lot of credit card debt, it usually isn’t just one thing (a medical emergency, a big splurge) that caused them to go into debt. It is things like eating out too often, frequent trips to the coffee shop, buying lots of clothes… and, when you think about it, that’s unfortunate because they’re 1) usually still paying for purchases they made years ago, and 2) generally, they don’t have much to “show” for their debt… they ate the meals, drank the coffee and wore out (or threw out) their old clothes. They’re paying for the past (with interest!).
“I felt like I never had a plan… money just came and went.”
Daniel: I see this a lot too! When you have a spending plan, you’re telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went (that’s my favorite quote by John C. Maxwell).
“I’m in the financial services industry and I have access to thousands of financial advisers who can help me… if I had money. But, I didn’t have money, I had debt. Financial advisers don’t typically do budgeting.”
Daniel: It is a common misconception that financial advisers can spend a lot of time with their clients on their budget. This is simply not their area of expertise (which is why they are one of my biggest referral sources!). Financial advisers deal with investments, insurance, and their client’s overall financial picture… I know this because I used to be a financial adviser. If you’re looking for help with your day-to-day spending, then you need a money coach.
“(Looking at my spending) helped me to identify the things that are important to me (that I want to keep spending money on) and the things that aren’t – it helped me to spend with intention.”
Daniel: I love this. I’m probably going to write a whole blog post on the idea of spending with intention. When I work with clients, this is exactly what we want to achieve… it’s not about cutting spending, it’s about spending money on what’s important.
“I think that working with Dr. Budgets is really positive, supportive, and realistic. We started every session by looking at the progress toward on my goal (my goal tracker) and ended every conversation with accomplishments and recognition…”
Daniel: Even my own wife thought that our monthly money conversations were going to be uncomfortable! At Dr. Budgets we try to make the money conversations as painless as possible. We also talk to our clients about what they might need to improve in order to achieve their goals… people don’t necessarily like to hear “you can do better,” but after our clients achieve their financial goals, we hear time and time again “it was the accountability that got me here.”
“Also, I have money in my budget to contribute to charities and nonprofit organizations I support. With everything that’s happened lately, hurricanes and the fires in California, I feel good being able to say ‘yes! I have money to give to that’ without guilt.”
Daniel: I love this too! Charitable and nonprofit organization donations should be a part of your spending plan. My wife and I set money aside each month to contribute regularly to organizations we support, as well as extra money so that we can give when the opportunity arises, including school fundraisers, GoFundMe campaigns, and organizations that help in extreme times of need (like when hurricanes hit the southern states and Puerto Rico, or the terrible fires in Northern California). You should feel good (not guilty) about giving to these organizations!
“If you’re thinking about it, just have the conversation with a money coach and don’t be intimidated or embarrassed by the process… it’s simple. Doing the work is not always easy, but it’s achievable.”
Daniel: Yes! Please don’t be intimidated or embarrassed… there’s nothing to be ashamed of! And, yes, it will not always be easy… but the process is simple, and we want you to succeed.
“Just talking about money allowed me to put it out in the open and feel less shameful about my situation. I can talk to my parents now about money and debt. I’ve talked to others and learned they’re in similar situations. Many people go through difficult financial times, but don’t talk to anyone about it. It’s such a cause of anxiety for people. Even if you don’t talk to a money coach, talk to somebody. Money doesn’t need to be a source of stress for you.”
Daniel: I wrote about this quote in my recent newsletter. This quote, along with this A Cup of Jo blog post that my wife shared with me got me thinking about how we talk (or rather, don’t talk) about money. I talk about money all the time – it definitely isn’t taboo to me! But, I realize that many people don’t talk about money with friends or family… and I think that hurts them.
So, I’m encouraging you (as Rachel did) to talk to somebody about money if you aren’t already. Bring it up the next time you see your closest friend or tell your parents you want to have a conversation with them about it. It doesn’t have to be serious or even in-depth… simply saying “I’m trying to pay down a little debt… can we do happy hour instead of dinner?” (or coffee instead of drinks!) might be enough to lay the groundwork for an open dialogue.
I think that a lot of good can come from talking about money… so, why not start the conversation?