Fiona* was one of my first clients, and her story really struck a chord with me. A full-time professional, mum to 3 teenagers, wife of Peter* and a great friend to many.
The family had 20k debt and her husband ignored it. She had cut back on spending and tried paying debt, but he did not, so she had given up. She had no idea how much money they had coming in or going out. Bank statements, bills and credit cards statements were never opened. She “managed” her finances when her cards were declined – then she couldn’t spend.
That first step
She was petrified when she signed up to my Your Money Sorted course.
“I am so scared, but I know that I am more scared of doing nothing and of passing my problems onto my boys. They are the main reason that I have signed up to do this.”
Fiona was asked to record her spending for two weeks prior to the course. This was a real eye-opener. On day one she said:
“I feel like I have already saved myself money, by keeping watch on what I was spending”
We spent some time looking at what was really important to Fiona, and at what she really wanted to get out of the course. Her main priority was paying debt, save for her children’s futures and to start sleeping! After identifying her priorities, we looked at how we could achieve that.
The family had been in debt previously, had paid it all off, then got in debt again……..and paid it all off and were now, for a third time, in a considerable amount of debt. This can be a common problem, if the real root of the problem is not dealt with, while paying off the debt.
By examining her attitude and values around money, Fiona identified what was causing her problems. She realised that she spent a lot of money with her friends. First to the bar; always first to pay for coffee, she loved treating her friends.
Calculating how much she had spent on her friends in two weeks, it was fair to say she was horrified! If this was a regular pattern, it would account for a lot of monthly outgoings.
The bottom line
Calculating average income and expenditure over 3 months, helped Fiona to understand other issues, and where changes could be made. Every single month they overspent, which is why the debts were increasing.
The step-by-step process in the course, allowed Fiona to identify problem expenses to reduce or eliminate them.
Fiona created a monthly spending plan and started to think about how she could stick to it. Various methods are suggested in the course, with Fiona deciding the envelope system would work best for her.
We looked at various methods of reducing the expense of the debt. Fiona had paid minimum payments every month, and had never missed a payment. Discovering that continuing to pay the minimum payment, would take over 40 years to pay back the debt was horrifying to her. Yes, 40 YEARS!
After learning about various options, Fiona shifted some debt to 0% credit cards, immediately reducing interest payments. With that, and money from reducing expenses, she planned to be paying off debt much more quickly. She is determined to pay back every penny and to do it within 8 years. Eighteen months later she is beating her target and hopes to be debt free in just over 5 years.
She has enjoyed the “game” of paying down her debt, using a debt repayment app, so that she can see her debt reducing every month. She is excited about paying extra money left at the end of the month towards her debt, because it is taking her closer to her debt-free day.
Fiona’s enthusiasm and motivation, made her a joy to work with. She approached every task with a great attitude and completed it to the best of her ability.
What surprised her most about the course was:
“The fact that I really loved doing it. That’s been kind of bizarre. I had been putting it off for years because it felt so scary, but I actually looked forward to turning on the laptop and doing it after dinner each night.”
The home straight
Fiona was asked what had changed the most for her. Her attitude to spending had changed, she was far happier and best of all, she was sleeping at night.
“Removing the stress of the money and getting to sleep again, means that Peter and I are happier than we have been in years. I quite like him again!”
Around a year after the course I got an excited email from Fiona – she had some great news and wanted me to be the first to know. An unexpected promotion at work had come her way! She was so excited, because this meant extra money. She felt that if she hadn’t got on top of her money worries, she would never have been in the right frame of mind to apply for this promotion.
This was news to me!
This was a surprising to me, I was just starting out as a financial coach and thought I was just helping people to sort their money!
After reflecting, I could see where Fiona was coming from. She had grown in confidence, motivation and enthusiasm for life as she progressed through the course, so it was only natural that this should spill over into her daily life.
“If it wasn’t for you encouraging and supporting me to take those stepping stones towards my goals, then I don’t think I would have had the guts to apply for the promotion. Thanks a million Eileen.”
Would you like to find out more about how I could help you to achieve your personal and financial dreams and goals?
*names changed to protect client identity