What My First Warm-Up Call Was Like
Jessica Weeks has been a client of The Financial Gym since the 2019 New Year (shouts to her amazing trainer Tai Wiggins). She loves cooking, drinking a delicious cocktail, and binge watching The Office.
At the end of 2018, I looked at my finances and couldn’t help but feel a mix of anxiety and discouragement. After a year of trying to get my financial life in order, I had accumulated more credit card debt, had no savings account, and was looking at a shamefully low balance in my checking account. As a person who believes in signs, I would like to thank the Instagram gods (my preferred social media outlet) for having an ad on my feed about The Financial Gym. Out of curiosity, I clicked on it. I combed through The Gym’s website and after reading and researching, I decided this was it. As a Weight Watcher, I knew accountability, support, and a plan was something I needed and that’s exactly what The Financial Gym offered.
When I built up the nerve, I called the Gym and Colleen, a Financial Gym client and warm-up call associate picked up the phone. I nervously told her about myself and when she asked me what my financial goals were, the panicked overachiever in me wanted to say “Everything! I’m drowning!” But, the more realistic side of me settled on “Debt pay off, budgeting, and savings.” I’m not sure if Colleen is some sort of wise, all knowing being, but she immediately knew who I should be matched up with (and she was completely right!). “Tai,” she said. “Tai is perfect for you.” With that, we set a date for the first session aka The Financially Naked Session. Colleen explained that the first call with my trainer would simply be about explaining where I stood financially (outstanding debts, student loans, monthly expenses, income, credit score, retirement accounts, etc.).
The idea of the Financially Naked call made me very nervous. I cringed when I looked at my accounts and the thought of having to tell someone the nitty gritty of where I stood financially freaked me out. But I knew this was part of the process. You’ve got to face up to the bad to get to the good. So in preparation for the call, I followed and filled out the prep sheet Tai sent me. It broke down everything - from income to assets, liabilities, expenses, and goals. Filling it out ahead of time wasn’t mandatory but it did help me to actually face up to my accounts.
On January 2, I packed up my laptop (which had my prep sheet), notebook, and headphones to head to a nearby café. I was nervous for my conference call and decided a bagel and something warm to drink could help soothe the nerves. I plugged in, took a deep breath, and logged into Google Hangouts. One second later, I was joined by Tai, an effervescent spirit whose bright smile immediately made me feel a level of ease. She was super friendly and after a few minutes of light chit chat, I felt like I was talking to an old friend. As we moved along in the conversation, she explained the topics we would cover in the call and I explained why I decided to join The Gym.
We then began to review my prep sheet. I’m not sure if Tai knew it, but this was the part I was most dreading. I wasn’t proud of the low balances in my checking accounts or the credit card bills I had foolishly piled up. I was dismayed by my credit score and lack of savings. And as I had filled out the prep sheet prior to the call, I couldn’t help but feel shocked at the amount of expenses I was shelling out each month on things that didn’t align with what I wanted my life to look like. To say the least, I was a classic over spender.
As we went through the prep sheet, I waited for there to be a wagging finger or a look of judgement. I remember throughout the call I would nervously look up, pausing for any scolding comments I may receive. But none of that ever happened. Tai was extremely understanding and non-judgmental, which made me feel even more relaxed. Because of this, I didn’t feel the blatant shame that I had anxiously waited to feel. We joked as we went through the sheet and bonded about beauty products and other things we had in common. She asked me about my goals and what I wanted my life to look like. I explained I didn’t want to live paycheck to paycheck, I wanted to travel, have an emergency fund, and eventually buy a house with my boyfriend.
Tai then asked me what my three sacred cows (or things I could not live without) were and explained “You can’t have a herd of cows, but you can have up to three.” This was a question I really had to think about. I decided on the following:
· Weight Watchers- I had lost 35 pounds the previous year with the intention of losing more.
· Storage Facility- I had a storage unit since my boyfriend and I moved in together. There were a lot of bulkier furniture items that I was not willing to part with, so the storage unit was a necessity.
· Eyebrows- Although it’s super girly, maintaining well-groomed eyebrows was a must. I don’t trust people with bad eyebrows and would not allow myself to fall into that category.
She laughed at my last sacred cow, but said she completely understood. For me, I thought it was really great that Tai asked me what I cared about and what I wanted out of life. She didn’t try to push a product on me or make the call about what she thought I should want. She was all ears and all in to understand what I wanted and needed. Tai made the Financially Naked Session feel like a chat with an old fried that I could trust and who knew my struggles but didn’t judge me for them.
Before becoming a member of the Gym, I had heard that your trainer would be your B.F.F. (Best. Financial. Friend.) I didn’t understand what that meant until my financially naked call. A best financial friend, in all sense of the phrase, is someone who you can be real about your finances with and who will be real with you. They’re kind, encouraging, never judgmental, and understand that we are people who make mistakes and have random things come up in our lives. They understand that we are not perfect but try to guide us to be our best financially fit selves that we can be. They help us financially prioritize, plan, and live our best financial lives.
In just the three short months since joining The Gym, I have paid off over a fourth of my debt and have plans to pay off more by April. I have a growing savings account, slush fund (for expenses that don’t occur every month e.g., haircut), and travel fund. But more importantly, I have a plan and don’t fear looking at my accounts. The financially naked session may have seemed terrifying at first but after talking with my B.F.F., Tai, I now understand that it is a gateway to financial freedom.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Financial Gym process and how our team of Financial Trainers can help you reach your goals, schedule your FREE 20-minute consult call here.