When the Student is Ready

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When the Student Is Ready

Earlier this week, I sat down for the one-year review meeting with my client 0. Client 0 is the person I credit with being the original client of my new company, and she signed on for annual training, so this was the first time we had seen each other in a little over a year. We were both shocked at how fast time had flown by, and I think we were both pleasantly surprised by how far she has grown financially in just one year’s time.

For those of you who are curious, Client 0 lives in New York and earns $59,000 a year. She is getting her masters and needed to balance saving money and student loan debt planning.

Impossible Goals Accomplished

When I first presented her with her financial plan last year and told her that she needed to be saving $740 a month, she looked at me like I had two heads, took a big gulp and informed me that this was an impossible goal.

I shared with her that I would never give clients impossible goals and it was actually on the low end of the 15-20% savings range that I wanted her to achieve. Before this date, if she had $100 left at the end of the month, she felt as though she was doing well.

When she left my office last year, I did fear that she would have a tough time reaching the goals that I set for her, but I was hopeful that she was committed to the plan. Over the year, I checked in with her every quarter, and to both of our surprise, she hit her goal every quarter. She struggled a little bit over the last few months; however, over the period of a year, she grew her assets over 70%!!

Tools for Success

When we met this week, we discussed what worked and what didn’t work for her over the year and the biggest thing that she said that worked for her was having a specific goal. Whenever she made her $740 goal every month, she somehow knew that things were going to be okay. When she didn’t hit her goal, she got down on herself and her progress.

She proceeded to tell me that she has recommended me to her friends, and they have responded that they know they should sit down with me; however, they are “not ready yet,” and herein lies the biggest takeaway I gleaned from this sit down.

For me, Client 0 was bound for success because she was ready to make a change in her life. She heard about me, reached out to me, and despite the fact that she didn’t have a whole lot of money in savings, she committed to investing in a financial plan for herself. She is what I call “the student,” and I specifically only work with students.

What’s a Student?

A few years back, while working with my life coach, I questioned why it took me so long to make changes in my life when it was clear that I was unhappy and he shared the quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will enter.” He basically said that I would not have made the changes I made, if I wasn’t truly ready to commit to them.

He went on to say that the teacher does not necessarily have to be a person, the teacher can be a situation or an event that propels us to the point of change; however, if we are not ready to make the change, we will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

I told my client that I had no interest in forcing any of her friends to work with me. In fact, when I first start engaging with a new client, if they do not proactively seek me out and follow up with me, I am less inclined to follow up with them. My proactive clients are always the students seeking a teacher, and for me, this is the biggest reason why all of them are experiencing financial successes since working with me.

If you are not ready to be a student…you won’t learn

The journey to financial fitness is often a long and difficult one with ups and downs and twists and turns. It takes a great deal of energy to stay on the path and if you are not ready to commit to it, then the first time you hit a bump in the road, you will give up and turn around. A student hits a bump in the road, learns from the situation, and commits to avoiding it in the future.

If you are someone who continuously fails at your financial goals, the question is not whether or not you have realistic goals; it’s whether or not you are really committed to those goals.

None of us is perfect at everything, therefore, we are constantly on a journey to learn and improve, but if we don’t see ourselves as students, and open up to learning opportunities, we miss the lessons.

If you really want to see your financial goals get kicked into overdrive, commit to being a student and seek out your teachers. If you want to save more, follow frugal bloggers. If you want to earn more, follow side hustling bloggers. If you want to invest more, do your research and figure it out, listen to podcasts, talk to others. The more you commit to being a student, the faster you will achieve your goals.

What or who has been your best financial teacher? What’s the best financial lesson you have learned?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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