My First Year at The Financial Gym: Caitlin Lyttle

Although I am a full time employee at The Financial Gym, some people may not know I was a client before I started at The Gym. It’s not a fun fact I like to hide . . . I ALWAYS like to share it. It speaks highly of our services to know that I loved the mission and my experience with The Financial Gym so much - I wanted to help spread the love.

And here we are! I have been a part of The Financial Gym team for 10 months now, but it’s been a year (and a month) since I became a client. And I am still a client! Crystal, whom many of you know, is my Financial Trainer and we still meet to make sure my finances are in tip top shape.

My first event at The Financial Gym!

My first event at The Financial Gym!

I found out about The Financial Gym from two current clients, Emily and Chary, who founded a (what was at the time) a female-only networking platform aimed at empowering women and just pushing females to make new friends called thecnnekt. I went to an event they were hosting with TFG and instantly knew this was something I needed in my life for the below VERY important reasons.

  1. I felt like I was always good at saving my money - but was I saving enough?

  2. Where else was I going to turn to and make sure I was making smart financial decisions?

  3. They were women close to my age that understood what I wanted in life - not some old bald, white guy sitting in a cold, gray bank office. No thanks!

  4. Did someone say investing? That sounded so scary, but I wanted to learn more!

  5. TFG team just seemed like a down-to-earth, real group of people I wanted to surround myself with.

So I signed up right away! Crystal and I got paired and soon enough I was sitting across from her, palms sweating, ready to get financially naked. We went over everything about my financial situation and then she asked me - what are your goals?

I had to stop and think for a few minutes. I never thought of concrete life goals before. I was just trying to get to age 26 for crying out loud! But I rattled off to her what I thought I wanted in life.

  1. Travel (short term goal)

  2. A car (short term goal)

  3. To purchase my own home in New Jersey (medium term goal)

  4. A wedding with my boyfriend whom I had been dating for one year (medium term goal)

  5. Kids (medium to long term goal)

  6. Retirement (long term goal)

  7. Beach house (never-in-a-million-years goal)

Crystal took all of that information and within a week I was back in that chair, getting instructions on how to reach those goals! We went over everything from making sure I set up an emergency fund in a high-yield savings account, opened up a credit card for travel rewards, helped me start investing, and decreased my retirement contributions. I was contributing too much to my long-term goal of retirement that I didn’t have enough money to save for my medium term goals.

Once I had my plan in hand, I skipped home (just kidding I took the smelly NYC subway), and got to work. I did as much as I could on my own in terms of opening up new accounts, applying for my new credit card, but I did need help with that scary brokerage account. I was back at TFG a few weeks later and Crystal sat with me as I opened it, transferred my money, and helped me set my asset allocation.

After that meeting, Crystal checked in on me frequently and all was well! I continued going to Wine & Learns on Wednesdays, meeting other clients, and getting to know the team more. And within 3 months time, I joined The Financial Gym team as a full time employee! That’s a different story for another time, though :)

And here we are now. One year at The Financial Gym and I am currently achieving the goals I never thought were possible without going into debt or taking loans from my mom. Below I wanted to share what my status is on my original goals.

  1. Travel goal:

    1. Ireland

    2. Boston, Massachusetts (2x this year)

    3. Manchester, New Hampshire

    4. Beacon, New York

    5. Portland, Maine

    6. Long Beach Island, New Jersey

    7. Newport, Rhode Island

  2. Car goal: Going to buy a car this Monday (September 24th)!

  3. Home fund: I have $16k saved for this, but it is becoming less and less of a priority to buy quickly. Why tie myself down?

  4. Wedding: I got engaged in July and will be getting married September 2020!

  5. Kids: Still a few years away so we will cross this bridge once the wedding is fully funded

  6. Retirement: Contributing less so I can pay for the home/wedding, but still saving!

  7. Beach house: Once a never-in-a-million-years goal is now seeming more and more realistic as I see my medium terms goals coming into fruition

I am super proud of the above goals. It isn’t easy staying on track of your finances, but having the help and support from TFG has been monumental. I can say, with my right hand over my chest, I would never be where I am today without The Financial Gym. And I promise I am NOT just saying that because I work there!

And my most important takeaway? Knowing that I CAN have what I want out of life. Yes, I may need to make sacrifices in certain areas, but I’d rather shop at J. Crew less than not have the wedding of my dreams or a car to see my family more. It feels great to have shifted my mindset from “Oh I’ll never be able to afford that” to “Crystal, give me the plan to achieve this and I will be on my way”.

In proper TFG fashion, with a glass of wine in my hand, I will end with this:

Cheers to taking charge of our finances!

Cheers to working hard for our money, and making it work hard for us!

And cheers to living the lives we never thought possible!

Want to hear my get financially naked? I am on Shannon’s latest podcast episode here talking about it all. Yup, you’ll hear what’s in my bank account, how much money I make, and probably have a good laugh or two. Listen here!

Caitlin Lyttle