Simonne is a certified life coach, Master NLP practitioner and Registered Life Planner, who has a great deal of experience in helping her clients manage their finances.
She is also founder of Wise Monkey Financial Coaching and co-author of Sheconomics – a personal finance book which provides practical and actionable money tips for women to take charge of their finances. Using a non-traditional approach to financial planning, with a blend of skills and experience gained as an ex-independent financial adviser (IFA), Simonne has successfully motivated her clients to take control of their finances, take responsibility for their financial future and most importantly transform their relationship with money.
So what exactly does a financial coach do? And how can a financial coach help me overcome my money worries? Find out in our exclusive interview with Simonne.
1. You’re a financial coach. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I originally came from a financial services background and was an independent financial advisor for 10 years. But I realised that there was a need for something else which supports everyday people with everyday needs, and I created financial coaching to fill that gap.
It’s guidance and support with money, but without the products. I help people take control over, and responsibility for, their financial lives.
We deal with practical issues, while also helping with the complexities of their emotions surrounding the subject of money. I don’t promote a particular opinion on any course of action, but rather help clients take action towards their goals, and work through decisions that have financial implications.
I tease the information out of them rather than telling them what to do. Financial coaching combines financial life planning and solutions focused coaching, with advice about strategies and tools, rather than financial products.
2. What is financial therapy?
Financial therapy is the name The Guardian gave to my financial coaching. I wouldn’t necessarily label it as that: it’s definitely therapeutic, but I’m not a therapist.
Unlike therapy, financial coaching is not about analysing your past; it’s about the here and now, and how you can go forward. But I do ask people questions that help reflect at a deeper level on their relationship with money.
Money is an emotive subject and I’m also trained to work on an emotional level too, which is especially important when I’m helping someone shift their behaviour or reduce their anxieties.
I’m a Master NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner, which helps clients untangle the emotional roots of their behaviour and shift their mindset.
I can help people challenge beliefs that don’t support them, and ultimately start taking action to reinforce positive beliefs that do serve them.
3. Tell us about Do Money and how it works
The Do Something Different team run simple, easy to do programmes, which cost only £25 and last six weeks.
They help people with subjects such as stress, finding happiness, and stopping smoking.
Their programmes are diagnostically driven, stretch your comfort zone, and are underpinned by over 30 years of scientific research.
I’ve worked with the team to develop the Do Money programme, which focuses on shaking up your money habits and changing your behaviour for the better.
Each week you have three simple tasks to do (called ‘Dos’). To give you a taste, one example of a ‘Do’ is “Spend 10 minutes today starting one financial job you’ve been putting off.
Play your favourite music as you work and tap along to the beat.” I trialled the programme before we launched it last year and found, even in my own life, that a couple of the Dos have made a significant difference to my own relationship with money.
We’ve had some great feedback so far, with comments such as: “a few tears but good insights”; “this conversation opened new doors in a friendship and we talked for ages about our relationship with money”; and “Massive weight off my back. I’d been putting this off for months.”
The purpose of Do Money is to increase your behavioural flexibility when it comes to dealing with money, which not only helps you take better control, but will also reduce your levels of stress.
4. Why don’t women like to talk about money?
I don’t think it’s just women.
Money is one of the last remaining taboo topics: we’re more likely to talk to other people about our sex lives than talk about money.
It’s deemed rude to ask someone what they earn. I think it’s especially a problem for the British, because we typically see money as something very private.
I’m personally trying to shake people up on that, and encourage people to talk about money with others.
That way, we’re more likely to be respectful of our own needs and financial limitations and not led by others. Plus we can learn from each other and become better informed and aware.
5. Do you think women are more affected by money worries than men?
Typically, women are more emotionally attuned to men.
That’s not to say that men don’t worry, but I think that when it comes to money, women are more willing to express their fears and anxieties.
Often our worries about money are disproportionate to the reality. When you look at the truth behind the fears, usually the problem no longer seems insurmountable.
The difficulty is that when we worry, we can get caught up in a particular narrative we tell ourselves, which then leads to more worry.
To get out of that situation, it’s helpful to talk through your concerns, to help you look at it objectively. I know this from personal, as well as client, experience.
I provide a sounding board to help people express their worries and concerns, while offering practical and emotional support to help them take action to improve things.
Being in control of your money provides freedom.
6. As a financial coach, what is your best financial advice for women?
First of all, don’t leave all the finances to one person. Clients often share with me their sense of financial immaturity.
You don’t have to do everything together if you have a partner, but make sure that you understand what you have got, what you need, where money is going, and make plans for the future.
Don’t leave that responsibility to someone else or cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Secondly, being more financially secure and confident is not always about earning more money, or getting a windfall.
It’s not about what you earn, it’s about what you keep. Managing your money well means you can get by with less, and more options may become available to you.
People often think that being careful with money impinges on their sense of freedom, whereas in reality it’s the opposite: being in control of your money provides freedom.
Managing your money well means you can get by with less, and more options may become available to you.
7. Where should women go for more information?
As a first stop, get a copy of Sheconomics. You can buy it on Kindle and it is also available in paperback. It gives you tips, strategies and case studies to take charge of your financial destiny.
For anyone looking to retrain and learn the skills of a financial coach, I’m delivering my next Financial Coach Practitioner Training Course in Brighton 3-7 October 2016. For more information about the training, visit this page of my website. You can also stay up to date with Simonne by following her on Twitter @simonnegnessen.