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What the Gym Can Teach Us About Money

October 29, 2020
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In high school, I became so obsessed with exercise and getting in shape that I read everything I could on the subject. I went on to get a college degree in fitness and obtained national certifications for personal training and sports performance.

Little did I know, I was also laying a foundation for my philosophy on managing money. It turns out that staying healthy and taking care of your finances have a lot more in common than you might think. You’ll see why in just a moment.

When I started in fitness, it was eye opening to see other trainers essentially making their clients do the same workouts that they did. Imagine a 28-year-old female athlete giving a 57-year-old man a similar training regimen. Different stations in life, different goals — it made no sense. Or seeing a trainer read the latest magazines for various routines and using that same workout for a majority of their clients. Sure, sometimes they worked. But often they didn’t. And you had clients shelling out $50, $75 or $100 an hour for advice that left them feeling frustrated, dissatisfied, and sometimes even injured.

When I started working with clients, I took a different approach. I took note of their habits, goals and outlooks. And instead of handing them a list of exercises to work through, we came up with a plan together. I was their coach. And their partner. They owned their success as much as I did. The strategy worked, I still have past clients come up to me and say they still remember much of what I taught them. 

So you can see where I’m going with this: Cookie-cutter financial plans make no more sense for you than those plans fitness trainers handed out to unsuspecting clients.

For the last 20 years, I’ve been a financial planner and consider myself a “financial coach,” of sorts. (I can’t use that title for regulatory reasons.) The reason I say I’m more of a coach is that money is a lot more complicated than simply managing an investment portfolio. There’s emotion, there’s surprises, there’s family. You need someone who knows you and can help provide guidance through all those minefields.

As I entered this profession, I found many advisors were all about selling a product, making money and then moving on. That’s when I realized the first similarity to fitness. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan. Everyone needs their own customized plan. And coach.

 The relationship I have with my clients is ongoing as events and their personal economy changes. If I do my job, communicate often and live up to the client’s expectations, the relationship could be decades long.  While many people don’t exercise or think much about fitness, we all think about money. And that’s where a good coach comes in.

I sum up my philosophy on being financially confident this way: “Educate the client to make the best choice possible so they are confident in every financial decision they choose.”

That is why when I work with new clients, I explain that this is a process. It should not stop after we solidify their financial foundation in the initial 3-5 meetings. In fact, it should be just the beginning. What’s happening today could look totally different for each one of us in a year and most likely it will in five years. The year 2020 is driving that home in a way none of us could have imagined.  

And so, here’s my pledge to the people I work with; I’ll be your coach as times change, new goals replace old ones and challenges spring up. As the economy shifts and new laws are written, I’ll be here to keep you informed. Sometimes I may remind you of a sports coach that made you run those wind sprints over and over again. And while you may have briefly hated that coach, when game time came around, you were happy they pushed you harder than you normally would have yourself.  

I joke with my clients that I will tell them things they may not be excited to hear. In the long run though, they know I’m looking out for their best interest. And they’ll be happy when they see the results on their economic playing field: financial stability and the balance to enjoy the life they want to live.

Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. Keith Taylor is a Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS) 6115 Park South Drive #200 Charlotte, NC 28210 704-552-8507. Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Centerpoint Wealth Strategies is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. CA insurance license #0G13915. 2020-105363 Exp 07/22