What My Financially Naked Session Was Like

The Financial Gym client Jo Whitney with her boyfriend Stu and toy-poodle, Cooper and Irish wolfhound, Ruger.

The Financial Gym client Jo Whitney with her boyfriend Stu and toy-poodle, Cooper and Irish wolfhound, Ruger.

I was huffing and puffing on the stationary bike in the workout room of my Southern Utah home where my boyfriend and I live with our two dogs. I looked at the incoming call from New York with some amount of trepidation - "I am struggling to remain physically fit,” I thought to myself, "why am I adding the massive challenge of becoming financially fit to my plate?" The holidays were winding down and I was guilty of overindulging not only on food, but also spending too much on more than one occasion - I connected to the video chat anyway. 

This call was my "Financially Naked Session," which I had scheduled the week prior during some over-achieving spell I was under (shout out to the impending doom of new year's resolutions). I had read about the comprehensive approach of The Financial Gym through a daily email I am subscribed to and read religiously. They email had never steered me wrong, so I decided to look into The Gym further. Their approach was appealing to me not only because it served a larger group of the general public (think: people without ample trust funds), but it was also affordable and seemed to be pretty straight-forward - all the things I seek in one, customized package. This approach, however, did not make the thought of the “financially naked” session any easier for me.

Prior to this session, I had been emailed with what is essentially “a guide to your financially naked session,” for dummies. Everything was spelled out for me: “you will need to compile lists of (x,y,z) before your session begins in order to have a successful initial meeting with your trainer.” I went to work printing off bank statements, IRA and 401k account information, credit card and loan statements as well as the previous years W2 and a full (or so I thought) list of my monthly expenses -- I was beyond prepared.

Enter Brenda: the fully clothed, Level 2 Certified Financial Trainer to whom I had been assigned (she must work exclusively with the “impossible” cases, poor thing). We begin our session and she addresses me like we are old friends. I notice that she's working from her home office, which proves to increase my level of relatability and comfort with her. And let me tell you, the ability to relate to and become comfortable with the person to whom you’re about to confess your darkest financial sins to, is extremely important -- especially for a girl who regularly gets wine-tipsy and online shops for doggie life-vests (I live in the desert) and botanical shaped rugs (need I explain?).

Now, back to how proud of myself I was for possessing the skills required to hit print on my computer: as we got further into the call, I realized how little I was really accomplishing in the way of my actual short and long term goals. Turns out I wasn’t budgeting like I should have been: apparently throwing change into a jar and using said change for my weekly coffee date with a friend doesn’t count. I wasn’t saving for my future and I certainly wasn’t taking advantage of the different account bonuses and other investment strategies that had been staring me right in the face for the last five years -- the point being that Brenda was a very useful resource in helping me get my financial act together.

By the time Brenda was done working her financial magic, we (aka, she) ended up squaring away my retirement situation: this involved me rolling over certain accounts into others, which she made a breeze by walking me through each step. We discussed transferring my high interest debt to low or no interest credit cards (she even sent me helpful offer links and other education), as well as the amounts I would need to pay each month in order to meet my goal of being debt free by 2020. And of course we went over my savings goals and much more because apparently I enjoy a challenge. This will, of course, differ between each individual based on their goals, income, debt, etc., but the ease of the plans and the exceptional layout is universal. The intention of The Financial Gym is to get everyday people like me -- one who has had no formal financial training or the wherewithal to truly succeed on her own -- to meet my financial goals. Whether it be something as simple as building your emergency fund (this is essential to adulting, duh...), getting out of debt or saving up for a down-payment on a house: it all begins with the proverbial stripping of your clothes (joking), cash and credit cards during your financially naked session. Cheers to financial fitness!

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.

A Financial Gym Client