What qualifies ME to coach YOU?

...and other questions you should ask

Choosing a coach can be confusing. The field of financial coaching is growing very rapidly.  New coaches are starting their businesses every day, and this is something I celebrate, because the need is great in our society these days.  But how do you know if someone is qualified to deal with YOUR situation?  I hope to give you some guidance here on what questions to ask, and the kind of answers you should get, before you decide which coach is the best fit for you. 

Questions you should ask a potential coach
...and why the answers matter

1).  What training do you have as a financial coach?

WHY IT MATTERS:    Financial coaching is not just about knowing what to do in a given situation, it's also about finding out the "why" behind the numbers, the causes that led to the current problem, the possible options available, potential exceptions to the normal solutions, and much much more.  And the financial principles behind the coach's advice should be time-tested and proven.  For this reason, I recommend you don't consider anyone who has not been trained by Ramsey Solutions in their Financial Coach Master Training course, as a bare minimum.

2).  How long have you been in the coaching business?

WHY IT MATTERS:    While the training mentioned above is crucial, there is simply no substitute for experience.  Many new coaches are very gung ho about Dave Ramsey, the baby steps, and Financial Peace University (which they may or may not have even taken, much less led).  But they may be in the early baby steps yet themselves, and as a new coach, their exposure to the myriad of financial issues a coach encounters is virtually nil.  I know everybody has to start somewhere, and every coach was brand new at some point, but do you want to be one of the first clients of someone with limited experience?

3).  What "Baby Step" are you on, personally?

WHY IT MATTERS:    This is a question of authenticity, of whether the coach is actually "walking the walk" and not just "talking the talk".   While it's not necessary for a coach to be on the final baby step 7 (completely debt free including their home), it does mean that person is more likely to have been through the kinds of things you may be going through now (to one degree or another), and to have emerged successfully from those challenges.  And if you discover that the coach is not following the baby steps, in proper order, in their own financial life, how can you trust their advice for your own finances?

4).  How old are you?

WHY IT MATTERS:    No, it's not about age discrimination.   It's about life experience.  Personal life experience can fill in a lot of gaps left by training courses and limited coaching experience.  And the simple fact is that the older someone is, the more life experiences they will have.  Of course, while wisdom comes with age, sometimes age comes alone, so age is no guarantee.  But in combination with other factors, it's still a plus.

5).  What specific, relevant life experiences do you have?

WHY IT MATTERS:    This simply helps answer the question behind the question:  "Can you really help ME deal with MY financial problems?"  This is especially important if you have an issue that seems outside of the bounds of the normal baby steps.  And while it's unlikely any coach will have gone through exactly what you are dealing with, learning about their other experiences can give you confidence they can help you navigate your own dilemmas.

 
So, how does Money Coach Bev answer these questions?

1).  What training do you have as a financial coach?

I am a graduate of Dave Ramsey's Financial Coach Master Training (originally called Financial Counselor Training back when I first took it).  In fact, I am probably the only coach in existence who can claim to have taken the class 3 times. (Long story - ask me if you're interested.)

In addition, I am also a Ramsey Preferred Coach, which means I participate in a program of ongoing (literally, like daily) continuing education in best coaching practices, and have a vast network of resources and other coaches to rely on whenever I need them.

2).  How long have you been in the coaching business?

I started my formal coaching business at the beginning of 2011.  Prior to that I had been leading FPU classes for about 5 years and informally coaching members of my classes on a one-to-one basis as requested.

3).  What "Baby Step" are you on, personally?

My husband and I have been on baby step 7 (marked by when we paid off our home mortgage), since 2001, which was 3 years before I ever heard of Dave Ramsey.  While we never had credit card debt or any other consumer debt other than maybe 2 car loans that we paid off in less than 6 months, we still did not do things according to the baby steps back then (because we didn't know any better).  We made plenty of mistakes, like buying rental properties with no down payment, and getting snookered into bad investments under the guise of tax shelters, back in the 80's.  We never used a budget back then, but luckily our instincts kept us from spending more than we made.  I need to continually remind myself that we are very blessed and in a great place financially these days, but I can't help but occasionally imagine how much more wealth we would have today if we had learned these concepts back in our 20s or 30s.

4).  How old are you?

As of now (February of 2020), I am 62 and my husband is 64.  We are both retired, but work part time (me as a coach) to stay busy and to avoid using our retirement nest egg prior to collecting Social Security.  Our goal is to simply grow that nest egg long term and use it to bless our children and grandchildren.

5).  What specific, relevant life experiences do you have?

Education:  Public school, Bachelor's in biology and chemistry, Ph.D. in biology

Work experience:  Academic research, biotech industry research, marketing and product management (15 years), side business selling custom machine embroidery,1 full year unemployment, physical labor as a gardener & landscaper, side business selling nature photography and fractals, straight commission advertising sales as an independent contractor (13 years), side hustle gig work as a "Looker" for WeGoLook.com, and my financial coaching business.  Hubby by contrast worked for the same company for 39 years, starting when he graduated from college.

Marriage and family:  Married 40+ years to the same man. Raised two girls to adulthood (they're both in their 30's now), put both through private colleges and one of them through vet school, all without debt.  Been there done that with day care issues, marching band, gymnastics, private lessons, prom dresses, etc.....  And planned and paid for two pretty darn nice weddings for them as well (with no debt).

Financial mistakes and successes:  Rental real estate experience including evicting tenants, having copper plumbing stolen, taking tenants to small claims court, paying too much and selling for too little.  Investing mistakes include throwing money down black holes of tax shelters, losing money on rental properties, and managing our own investments which caused us to buy high and sell low instead of the reverse.  Nevertheless, we learned from all our lessons and now have over a 2 million dollar net worth, including two paid for vacation homes in addition to our primary residence.  (Read more here and here.)

 
 

A Ramsey Preferred Financial Coach

"Where your treasure is there your heart will be also."      Matt. 6:21

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