Do You Need Help Managing Your Finances?
I’ve taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and the Your Money Counts class as well. Both were excellent and I highly recommend them to help you to develop a budget and good money habits. However, I felt like I needed something more.
I know that how I spend money is based on emotion and behavior, and not necessarily financial knowledge. So taking a one-time class is a good motivator and gives me a boost to focus on my finances, but I needed something more long-term. After looking back on all of my financial mistakes I also realized that I needed a financial coach. I decided to become a member of the Financial Gym.
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My Financial Gym Review
I specifically wanted a financial coach to bounce things off of when I’m getting ready to make large purchases. I wanted someone from the outside looking in that does not have an interest in the outcome to provide an objective point of view. I also wanted someone to hold me accountable, because there are numerous studies that have proven that accountability helps with reaching any type of goal and helps to build lasting change.
One of the benefits of my financial accountability partner is that she helps me to not procrastinate. For example, I mentioned to Alicia (My Financial Gym Coach) that I was going to call around to insurance companies to find cheaper rates. I knew that we would discuss the results in our next quarterly check-in. So I had to make sure that I completed the tasks. Not that I would have gotten in trouble or anything, but I felt the need to finish what I said I was going to do.
The Financial Gym also offers accountability partners with other Financial Gym members too. I have not tried it, just due to time commitments.
My Financial Gym coach has helped me to broaden my knowledge of financial opportunities. I will share with you some of the things my financial coach encouraged me to do;
My coach also sometimes referred to as a financial trainer, encouraged me to get a travel rewards credit card to help me with one of my goals which is to travel more. Since I’ve had the rewards card I was able to plan a practically free trip. If it had not been for my financial coach’s suggestion then I would have had to pay for the entire trip out of my pocket. I did not do anything different, but switch accounts and let my money work for me.
Another way that I’ve had my money start working for me is to switch to a high interest bearing savings account. I chose to use Betterment. Compared to my credit union the interest difference is 1.74%. This might not seem like a lot, but the pennies add up. For example, let say you put $10,000 into a Betterment account with 1.84% and your local bank with .10% interest. Over the period of a year you will make an extra $172 with Betterment. Over a five year period that is $900 for doing nothing, but switching accounts.
Alicia also reviews my investments and 401k statements to make sure that my rate of return is where it should be. And of course she reviews my monthly budget to see where I may have gone off track for the month and offers suggestions.
Lastly, being a Financial Gym member forces me to take time to reflect and write out my short and long-term financial goals then develop a plan to reach those goals. You can see the total list of the Financial Gym benefits here.
The downside of the Financial Gym is their financial tracking software. The good thing for me is that I did not sign up for the tracking software, but for the financial coaching.
My YNAB (You Need A Budget) Review
The financial software tracker that I use is YNAB short for You Need A Budget. I have been using YNAB for years, but it wasn’t until recently when I started watching the Youtube videos that I realized all of the features and benefits that the software offers.
I had tried Quicken, Mint, and EveryDollar (by Dave Ramsey), but YNAB had more features and was visually more appealing and easier for me to navigate.
For some people the monthly Financial Gym cost might be a lot to manage. I thought the same thing as well. That’s money that I can be putting towards a bill to help pay down a debt or increase wealth. However, when I look at where I am today financially I know that if I had had a financial coach then my net worth would be in a much better position than it is.
I want to make sure that 5-10 years from now I am in a good place financially. And I think the small monthly Financial Gym payment will help me to reach my long-term goals. So yes, it is a short-term sacrifice, but for potentially a long-term gain.
The bottom line is that I recommend the Financial Gym. It’s nice to have a financial cheerleader, mentor, support system that’s affordable.
Financial Gym Versus Dave Ramsey
So you’re probably wondering how the Financial Gym stacks up against Dave Ramsey. The Financial Gym’s philosophy is different from Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey’s financial steps are as follows:
1) Save up an emergency fund of $1,000.
2) Pay off debts using the debt snowball method of paying off the lowest balance first. Then apply that monthly payment to the next balance.
3) Put away 3-6 months of monthly expenses.
4) Then start investing 15% of your household income into a retirement plan.
5) Save money towards your kids college funds.
6) Payoff your mortgage earlier than the loan payoff date.
7) Build wealth, donate and give money to charity.
However, the Financial Gym’s philosophy is the opposite. Their perspective is that you just feel better when you have money in the back and cash to use if something were to happen. Going back to my earlier statement, how you manage finances are based on emotion and behavior. Yes, Dave Ramsey wants you to have $1,000 in the bank, but it’s just not the same feeling.
I had a situation where I needed to payout an extra $1,000 over a 3 month period of time. If I were on the Dave Ramsey plan then I would have needed to use debt to cover the incremental expenses. However, since I am a Financial Gym member and had been saving up 3-6 months of expenses before putting everything towards the debt I was able to cover the extra expense. It felt good and freeing to be able to manage an unexpected $1,000 monthly expense.
Dave Ramsey believes in absolutely no debt. All debt is bad. I agree to a certain extent, but it’s just not realistic for me. I use credit cards to buy groceries, gas, subscription services, etc. Why not earn travel rewards points for things that I would have purchased anyway (as long as the bill is paid in full every month)?
I had looked into using Dave Ramsey’s financial coaching service and called around to a few local coaches, but decided the Financial Gym is better for me at this point in my life.
I think that the Financial Gym, YNAB and Betterment are some of the tools that will help me to reach my financial goals. With a financial coach I feel more confident that I won’t make a lot of really bad financial decisions. That doesn’t mean that I won’t make any bad decisions, but they should be fewer and further apart. YNAB helps me to stay on track with my monthly spending. And Betterment helps me to earn more money on my savings.
If you are thinking of joining the Financial Gym, please let them know that Rhonda referred you. Share below some of your personal finance hacks.