Do you need a helping hand?

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Although I hated sports activities when I was at school, I’ve always taken my physical fitness seriously.

When I turned 36, I decided that I needed to add more lean muscle and improve my overall strength. I had no shortage of motivation and was very disciplined about doing my workouts. I read books, watched videos and spoke to some fitness friends about how to improve my fitness regime, but I never seemed to make much progress.

Then I met Cliff, a personal trainer at the gym I used near my office. Cliff took time to find out my current level of fitness, what I wanted to achieve from my workouts and what level of effort I was prepared to put in and, more importantly, sustain.

Cliff devised a workout program that started out quite intensively, but which then eased back to a more manageable schedule. Over several months he taught me a range of resistance exercises and techniques, he educated me about nutrition, and he showed me how to keep my workouts varied and interesting.     

After about a year I had reduced my body fat, increased my energy levels, added muscle and reduced my waist size by about 2 cm. I checked in with Cliff every few months, but after about two years I decided that I no longer needed to see him regularly. I could always have a catchup session with him if I needed, but he had succeeded in helping me make a paradigm shift in my physical wellbeing.

Fourteen years later I have the same level of body fat, weight and waist size as I did back then, primarily because of the techniques and habits Cliff taught and the fact that I maintained them year in, year out. The £3,000 I must have spent with him over those few years was money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

I had always wanted to try yoga and so, when I sold my business in 2015, I decided to do something about it.

On the recommendation of a friend I attended a local yoga class taught by a lovely lady called Diana Malone. From the moment I joined my first yoga class in June 2015 I’ve never looked back. My flexibility has improved, and I’ve become more present. In addition, I enjoy sharing the yoga experience with the other lovely members of the class.

So why am I telling you this? To make the point that sometimes you need to work with an expert or group of likeminded people to help you learn better skills, habits and techniques. You need their support, encouragement and accountability to help you get better and stay the course. And nowhere is this more important than when it comes to your relationship with money and developing your financial wellbeing.

I am a big fan of qualified money coaches. Unlike a regulated financial adviser, a money coach will help you to help yourself be better with money. They will help you define what a good life looks like and the role of money in achieving and sustaining that life. They will help you understand the obstacles and challenges you face, including any unhelpful money emotions holding you back. They’ll also help you develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to make wise financial decisions.  

You might still need and get value from working with a regulated financial adviser, particularly if your circumstances are more complex, but a money coach should be your first port of call. A good coach charges between £40-80 per hour and usually delivers their service via video call, so it’s easy and reasonably affordable for most people.*[i]

Learning the money rules of the road and how to be more intentional with your finances should not only help you be happier and healthier; it should also give you more freedom and choice. It could be the best investment you ever make.  

The following are excellent money coaches whom I all know personally, should you wish to find out more.

Simonne Gnessen  Catherine Morgan  Fanny Snaith Hayley Tink

[i] If you are suffering serious money problems such as problem debt or can’t meet your essential expenses, you can get free personal help and advice from a money adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Jason Butler