I’ve discovered that this site is about Money Coaching – which was news to me because I’ve never called it that. But thanks to a recent client, I’ve discovered that is what most people call it.
It is an illustration of how important our perceptions (rather than actual objective truth) are – my perception was that I was helping people tame their finances, think more sensibly about money, find happiness, learn useful skills like goal setting etc. And with this site, the book (which is also on e-book) and with individual and group coaching, workshops, seminars etc., I was making that help readily available. But I never called it Money Coaching. Yet that’s the word that 10,000 people a month search for – so their perception (your perception?) is that what I’m doing is money coaching.
That makes sense – it’s about money, and what I’m doing is coaching, either in person or via the site, the book or a workshop etc.
I’m still having a hard time persuading educators, Government, the financial services industry and the media that it is important. Which is strange with the emphasis on money in society and the fact that “coaching” is everywhere, the Olympic athletes have coaches, there are coaches for business executives in the private sector, the public sector is always putting out tenders for “coaching programmes”.
I was in touch with National Numeracy recently, which is a charity trying to help adults with numeracy. I made the point about financial capacity that I’ve made before. I pointed out that if people didn’t manage to learn maths at school that was probably either because:
1. They lacked the ability to learn – in which case trying to teach them now is pointless because if they couldn’t learn then, why will they suddenly be smarter now?
2. They didn’t see the point – in the same way that people often don’t learn Latin, history etc., because they think what is the point? So they don’t learn it or remember it because they don’t have any motive, it simply doesn’t seem relevant or useful.
So it was probably about motivation, because generally if people are motivated they can learn (like people who say they can’t do maths who tell you in a fraction of a second what a three dart finish is counting backwards in triples and ending on a double). People will say they “can’t” do things, but when they have enough reason to do it, they learn.
So if National Numeracy (or anybody else) just tries to teach people maths, why are those people going to learn to do calculus (or whatever) any better than they did at school? If you give them a reason, however, they will learn. If you teach them, for example, why they tend to want to buy everything now (which requires borrowing to afford it) and therefor why understanding interest rates, APR etc. is important, then they have a reason to remember percentages, what interest rates are, how compound interest works, etc. And they will remember it, and suddenly they are actually quite good at maths.
They generally agreed, but they aren’t about finance, they’re about maths, so it doesn’t seem likely they’re going to use my ideas!
Similarly, I’m going back to the PFEG that I’ve contacted before, to see if they’re going to incorporate the elements of money coaching into financial education, contacting local authorities about providing it for adults and within the education system.
Maybe I’ll have more luck this time, but the prevailing idea remains that if you force feed people (adults or children) with a diet of APR, budgeting, avoiding pay day loans etc. the people will suddenly become master money managers, not get into debt, save for pensions etc. This, of course, ignores the fact that most people know that pay day loans are a poor idea and that the APR on those loans is astronomical, yet 70% or so of the population have large rolling credit card debts and the payday loan companies proliferate and their management pay structures make merchant bankers look poorly rewarded.
And it’s not exactly rocket science to work out that “I ought to save more for retirement” – but the powers that be still haven’t understood that it isn’t that people don’t know it’s a good idea to save. People know it, but find that they can’t actually make their good intentions into actions (which is where coaching comes in) any more than the Government can “educate” people about finance by dictating that people should be told things they already know (like cheap borrowing is better than expensive borrowing and no borrowing at all is best) instead of understanding why people don’t use the knowledge they already have more effectively. Unfortunately, the Government (and charities, local authorities etc.) aren’t amenable to coaching so I can’t explain to them that:
with money, the important point is not learning how, it’s learning why.
But in the meantime, until I can get it mainstream, if what you want is not simply “what do I invest in” or “where do I borrow cheaply”, but “how do I get control of my money and understand where the money goes and why I do the daft things with money that I do”, or you want someone to help you be happy and get the life you want, and to work with you on managing your money – please get in contact.