Are you scared to face your financial situation? Avoiding getting professional help because you’re worried that a financial planning professional might judge you or that you’ll be embarrassed or ashamed of what they find?
That’s a pretty common feeling, actually. And what I find usually happens is that something BIG comes along — a new job, a new marriage, a new baby — that forces the issue. At that point, people have to start to ask themselves: Is remaining ignorant (and anxious) more important than facing the truth?
One of my clients — we’ll call him P. — had this exact Money Moment, and agreed to share his experience with us.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My wife and I have been in the Pacific Northwest for a decade now. We’re in our mid-30’s, and like many Seattle-area people our age, we’re into the Seahawks and Sounders, piling our dogs into the Subaru and going for a hike, eating local, telling out-of-town friends we listened to Macklemore before he was famous, and complaining about traffic and rent prices… but we absolutely love it here.
What was your money moment?
We had both recently changed jobs, managed to buy our first house together (after dealing with the emotional roller coaster of losing out in previous multiple offer situations), and were ready to try to start a family. Even though we weren’t ready to say out loud that we were trying — we knew it was time to talk to a financial planning professional and wrap our heads around our money situation.
Did you have any fears or hesitations about meeting with a financial planner?
My main hesitation was anxiety about seeing what our financial situation actually was, and also wondering if financial planning would be ‘worth it’ in terms of actionable advice. We’re glad that we powered through those hesitations though, because understanding our financial situation was a lot less anxiety-provoking than worrying about the unknown, and because the guidance that we received was both actionable (e.g., immediate action items), and do-able (longer term things that were practical and simple enough for us to put into practice).
We actually found out that we were expecting not long after we met with Mindy, and felt much more prepared and in control by the time our son was born.
What was your money mindset before?
I would characterize our money mindset as “avoidant.” Not that we avoided money — but that we avoided thinking about it! We’re both healthcare professionals, which meant many years spent in training while picking up very little advice about managing money in our careers.
Having a baby thrust us into #adulting, and we knew we had to plan to save for different things than what we’d been spending money on before: diapers and daycare, cribs and college, holy crap we should probably stop being avoidant! A big part of preparing for his future and ours was wanting to purposefully get on top of our finances.
What’s the biggest lesson, takeaway, or aha moment you got from this experience?
It’s also not that much work, as long as you’re willing to do some homework, come up with a plan, and stick to it — and get good professional financial planning advice. We wouldn’t trust our baby’s health, care, or well-being to just anyone who wasn’t trained to do this for a living, and it was good to think of our finances in the same way.
Good professional advice not only helped us develop an overall plan, but also answered very specific questions on which we’d otherwise be winging it (what to do about our multiple 401Ks, paying off loans vs. investing, how to think about stocks and mutual funds in this current market environment, etc).
What would you most like people to know about money?
That it’s entirely within your control.
Here’s an oversimplified analogy: one of our dogs used to be a little on the chunky side, which was both mortifying and motivating when we realized it, since we were 100% in control of everything this dog eats and how much exercise she gets. It just took some planning, and willpower (hard to say no to those begging puppy-dog eyes!) to get back to a happy and healthy desired result. Managing money is kinda like that. If you put in the time to plan and the work to execute the plan, you’ll see great results.
Have you had a “Money Moment” that taught you something about money, yourself, or your money mindset? I’d love to help you build on that money moment! I always say that you can’t just “work on your finances” once and be done…it’s an ongoing process. So come over to my website and get access to an entire library of free resources!