This is going to be a long blog but I thought I'll share my journey as to how I decided and ended up being one.
I sometimes get asked by people and my clients how I got started, if I had any training etc on becoming a finance coach. To tell you the truth, I didn't get any formal training in financial coaching, managing money and handling my financial house. All of it came naturally for me and I was just really good at it. I started my own budgeting system in 2006. Over time, my system have improved to a much simpler process, which is what I currently teach my clients. What I didn't know and had to study more about was on investing. I actually didn't start actively investing till 2013. Sure I started Roth IRA when I was 20 and bought stocks each year I deposited new qualifying contribution to the account but I had no idea how it worked and I wasn't paying attention to how my account was doing. Luckily most of the stocks I picked (thanks to my aunt) actually did very well (three of the most successful ones which I still have are Home Depot, Chevron and Costco). I don't have a lot of stocks with them but they were the ones with the most gain in my account. I have always wanted to learn more about investing and was hoping there would be some sort of financial professional who would teach me about this on top of other personal finance topics. One day I bump into a friend who's a financial advisor, I told him I wanted to learn about investing as part of the services I expect from a personal financial professional in addition to looking at my finances holistically and see what else I can improve. Our meeting turned out mostly to be him trying to convince me to buy whole life insurance and no questions about how the rest of my finances are doing. I did my own analysis on "investing" (I use quotes since you can't really look at using insurance as investing) with whole life vs using that premium and investing them in the market instead. I got much MUCH more returns by investing in the market so no thank you, I'm not signing up for some stupid whole life insurance after I repeatedly said we might not have kids so who's going to be the freaking beneficiaries?!?! I tried asking about investments but I got blurry answers and it seems the interest lies more with me either buying whole life insurance so they can get that commission (in case you don't know, they can get up to 80% of your premiums the first year and they get ongoing commissions from your premiums afterwards) and moving my money so they can manage it for me with paying a 1% fee. I didn't quite understand how him managing my money is going to benefit me much. I want to learn plus I want to save the fee. It's not rocket science to figure out that adds up to my portfolio "losing" money every year from the fees. I want to learn how to manage my own portfolio and know what I'm doing damn it.
On I move forward and I met another advisor, who happens to be my boyfriend's advisor. After getting some information from my bf and the services he received, which consist mostly of being sold products that was not taught well to him and spending a lot of money on upfront fees and being told it doesn't cost him anything moving forward (which is a bunch of bull crap btw, there's no such thing as free ongoing services, you pay for it in back end expensive fees somehow). On top of that, a lot of these advisors don't care a damn if you don't have any investable assets for them to manage. Who helps those people who can't get their financial house in order, who may or may not be making good income and education but needs help? I tell you no one. If you look at yelp and search for financial coach here in the South Bay, I would be the only one you will find.
What does this tell you? These people who needs the most help, who are living paycheck to paycheck are probably suffering in silence. I so want to help them, I don't want to JUST help people with hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions in investable assets. There are already plenty of advisors hunting them down plus if they have millions, they probably don't need as much help. They can probably survive just fine.
Ever since I found my passion in personal finance and wanting to get into the field, I bump into the credentials CFP (certified financial planning), I then researched more into how to get it and that's how I got into the program at the local UCSC extension. This, however, has nothing to do with financial coaching. They don't teach you much about managing your money and positive cash flows, which is the foundation for financial independence. It has more to do with planning, meaning the future, how do you plan for retirement, income tax planning, kids education, estate planning, healthcare, etc. They are helpful in their own merit, which is what I am planning to add to my services later on since I want to be a one stop shop for most personal financial services: from people who are struggling with positive cash flow (financial coaching) to people who already got their finances in order but want to plan for the future (financial planning) and also tax preparation and tax planning as well.
I hope this blog gives you a better sense as to what I do and where my passion lies. My goal is for my client to become informed and take charge of their finances so they can handle their financial house themselves. There is always hope no matter if you have a lot of debt, what matters is your motivation and follow through. I am here to help. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me.