What My Plan Session Was Like
You’ve gotten financially naked with your trainer, so what happens next? The good news is that the hard part is over! The planning session is where all that financial information you provided your trainer, along with your short and long-term goals come together, resulting in a plan tailored to you.
I was a little nervous to be perfectly honest. I was scared of making spending changes and how that might impact my day-to-day life, as well as being a bit anxious about whether I could successfully do the things that my trainer might ask me to do.
The planning call is scheduled about 2 weeks after your financially naked session and lasts an hour with your trainer. Your plan will document all the information you provided by summarizing your income, assets, and liabilities, as well as your insurance coverage, monthly expenses and your goals.
I was pleasantly surprised at how the planning session went and that everything laid out in my plan made sense, without unrealistic goals and tasks.
First, is the plan document that I printed out in advance of the call. The plan comprehensively tells your financial story – where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. The Financial Plan includes the following types of goals:
Cash Management Goal
Expense Management Goal
Credit Management Goal
Any other goals that you have provided to your trainer, such as travel, saving, investing, new home purchase, etc.
Within each of these sections, your trainer provides helpful hints and links to additional products to help you meet your goals, along with action items for you to complete. I loved all the information provided in my plan such as links to the Financial Gym activities, webinars, blogs, podcasts, and social media links.
The plan also includes a summary of next steps to complete within the next 30 days and the next 60 – 90 days in order to start meeting your goals. This was what I was anxious about but at the same time knew that some things needed to change in order to see results.
So you will have a bit of homework to do, but I was motivated to move forward and get these things done! Your action items may be things like opening a new savings account, moving money from one account to another, creating a will, etc.
In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed, I approached it as a checklist with my goal to complete all of my to do items within 2 weeks. I then checked them off the list as I did them. For example, one of my items was to increase my 401k through my employer. Right after the call, I logged into my retirement account portal and changed my percentage deduction to my increased amount – easy!
Some of my other to do items included setting up 2 new savings accounts with auto transfers each month. I had to go into my local branch to do this, so I picked a day after work, and got those set up in about 30 minutes.
I also needed to shift an old retirement account into an existing account. I went online and ended up making a call to confirm what was needed. It really was pretty painless, and I downloaded a form and faxed it in. It felt really good to get these things out of the way in preparation for my next check-in with my trainer.
I have to be honest, initially some of my spending reductions were challenging, but easy doesn’t yield results. Instead of mindlessly ordering fun products that I saw on Instagram or yet another pair of workout leggings, I slowed down and paused before making a purchase.
Do I really need another beauty product that promises some amazing result, or do I really need more than 10 pairs of leggings? NO. This stuff adds up, and having a weekly budget and savings goals for important things like travel and retirement are so much more rewarding. I actually found it liberating to say no to spending. It’s empowering to pass on the online ads and emails that jump out constantly enticing us to buy more stuff.
Your trainer will schedule a check in call about 2 weeks after you receive your Plan to see how you are doing, what you have accomplished, and challenges you may be experiencing. All of these meetings are opportunities to ask questions, so don’t be shy.
What I love about the Financial Gym and this process is the lack of judgment or criticism by the trainers on your past spending habits, anything that you know needs to change, or patterns that you may be feeling guilty about. We all make mistakes, and that’s ok!
Please share your non-negotiables with your trainer. These are things that you cannot live without. One of mine, for example, was my subscription cable.
Although it’s costly, and many people have pulled the plug on cable and affordably stream shows through Hulu and other avenues, I love certain shows that I DVR each week.
This sparks joy as they say. My trainer, Joy, left that expense alone but made suggestions in other areas for me to cut back. It’s a bit of negotiation, but it is helpful to keep an open mind and be flexible in making some adjustments. Change will drive progress! Embrace the process – it works!