See below for answers to the questions we’re commonly asked. Please contact us if you’d like to know more, or want to talk about whether financial coaching is right for you.
Wise Monkey FAQs
Being good with money is just another form of fitness. Just as with losing weight or getting physically fit, it takes the same sort of commitment to get on top of your finances and remain motivated so that you reach your goals.
At Wise Monkey we use proven coaching techniques and technical expertise to help you identify and understand your financial goals, and put in place realistic and measurable strategies to meet them.
People seek financial coaching for many different reasons. Some require information and only minimal guidance. For instance, you may simply want to discuss whether the plans you have in place are sufficient to meet your future goals.
Others may want considerable support facing up to financial difficulties, which often involves examining the emotions surrounding their relationship with money. For example, you might want to tackle a long-term issue, such as out-of-control spending habits.
The first stage of the process is exploration, where we will ask you questions and listen deeply, to discover what matters most to you in your life. We’ll then take you through some exercises and challenge you to help you create the most exciting, compelling vision for your ideal life. Once your vision is clear and vivid, we’ll support you through any obstacles that surface and then help you work out ways to create the financial plan that can support those life goals. No advice is provided, simply guidance and support.
We support you to make decisions and initiate any changes, usually through a series of regular meetings. We work in total confidence - the coaching sessions provide a safe place for you to acknowledge and face your money concerns.
Although most of our work is based in London and the South East, we have clients across the whole of the UK and around the world. The beauty of Wise Monkey’s service is that we also offer coaching and support by Skype or phone, so you’ll be able to gain the benefits wherever you live.
We’ll conduct an initial phone or Skype consultation (free of charge) to collect some basic information, which will enable us to decide, together, whether financial coaching is right for you.
We also have forms for you to complete in preparation of our coaching sessions, so that the time we spend together in our first session will be as productive as possible.
Many clients find that simply picking up the phone and booking their first coaching session reduces their stress levels. It's worrying to be in debt, or to feel out of control with your spending. And it's frustrating to feel that you don't understand what you need to know to make good financial decisions.
With Wise Monkey on hand to look out for you and your money, the benefits of financial coaching quickly become obvious.
Yes, I do a lot of work in this area, including working with clients who want to split up from their partner but feel financially trapped to their marriage.
While I am not a lawyer, mediator or financial advisor, I can help you navigate the financial aspects of divorce and separation and facilitate money discussions between couples. More information on this area of my work can be found on the Divorce and separation page of my website.
The first coaching session usually lasts two hours, and we prefer to conduct this meeting face-to-face if possible. Otherwise, Skype is always an option. We can conduct subsequent meetings in the same way, although we find that coaching is just as effective by phone or Skype if that suits your circumstances.
During the first meeting we'll talk through your financial situation, identify what you hope to achieve from the coaching, and start working towards meeting these goals.
Some clients find that a single session is all they need, while others prefer to book a series of meetings - for instance an hour a month, for several months. While this type of arrangement often helps the coaching process, there is no financial commitment - you only pay for the coaching you receive.
At the end of each session we'll summarise the action points from the meeting and agree what needs to be done by the next meeting. This may involve gathering information from financial companies or completing a budgeting worksheet. While we work at a pace that suits you, we also work with your goals in mind. We find that the coaching process works best if you can complete any action points before the next meeting.
This document sets out how we see some of the main differences.
No, there are important differences. Financial advisers provide financial advice - they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are bound by its rules. Most financial advisers aren't set up to support you if your finances aren’t in order. Their role is often about selecting financial products to match your individual needs.
Our role is to make sure that you are fully informed about your financial issues and to support people who, although may not have money to invest, still need some financial help and guidance.
Unlike financial advisers we won’t suggest that you choose specific financial products such as pensions, investments, insurance or mortgages. Nor will we suggest that you vary, alter or discard an existing product. We do, however, offer generic money guidance such as guiding you through the options available to finance your retirement or helping you understand the features of financial products.
Our service is not regulated by the FCA. If you need regulated financial advice, we will help you understand the different types of financial advice available, including any free advice agencies, and direct you to websites where you can search for a regulated adviser who can help.
Many clients use financial coaching as an affordable alternative to financial advice, understanding that only guidance is provided, not advice; others use Wise Monkey to complement the service provided by their financial adviser or investment manager. Following our initial consultation we will be able to decide whether a financial adviser would be better suited to your needs.
Generic advice is a term used by the Financial Conduct Authority (previously the Financial Services Authority or FSA) to refer to something that is advice rather than information but which is not regulated because, although it may relate to investments, it is not about the merits of buying or selling a particular investment.
The regulatory bodies and consumer organisations such as Which? (formerly Consumers' Association) have identified the need for a low-cost money guidance service, not involving selling any products, for many years now.
The FSA were instructed to set up an independent 'Consumer Financial Education Body' (CFEB) by the government in the Queen’s Speech on 19 November 2009, to help consumers understand financial matters and manage their finances better. They changed their name to the 'Money Advice Service' in April 2011. The Money Advice Service's job is to raise the profile of their financial capability work and roll out the Money Advice Service nationally.
The Money Advice Service defines generic advice as the guidance and information people need on the money matters that shape everyday life. It covers areas like:
- Budgeting weekly/monthly spending
- Saving and borrowing, and insuring and protecting yourselves and your families
- Retirement planning
- Understanding tax and welfare benefits
- Explaining the technical language used in the financial services industry.
Money guidance is also completely sales-free.
For more information on this topic see:
I can definitely help, but the challenge is whether he's ready for this help.
In my experience (I've had lots of siblings/parents/kids in a similar situation wanting to help a family member in this way) it only works when the individual themselves are at that decision stage of wanting something different. I would definitely suggest he contacts me and then he and I can chat it through. Sometimes, as painful and frustrating as this may sound, people have to get to the end of the road before they're prepared to do something drastic.
If it would help to talk it through, I'd be happy to arrange a time for you and I to talk. If you can encourage him to call me, even better. I can then explain how I work and find out if he's ready. You may also like to suggest that he listens to one of my recent interviews/podcasts where I explain more about my work.