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Old 02-15-2018, 05:57 AM   #1
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Online Money Coach

Hi,

As I prepare for ER I am looking to better control our family expenses (which have got a little out of control). I was thinking that some sort of money coach could be helpful (ideally online). Has anybody heard of such a service? Ideally they would:
- Provide online coaching for a reasonable fee
- Be able to access Mint to look at our budget
- Have some sort of benchmark data to compare our spending with others of our age/situation.
- Help resolve the inevitable family, prioritization, money allocation issues that arise.

If you don't know of anybody I may start this business

Thanks
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:53 AM   #2
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If you want to be a millionaire, talk to a bunch of millionaires. If you want to be retired, talk to a bunch of retirees.

There are many websites you can read, most people writing them are not retired. Any 'retirement coach' is by definition, not retired.

A FA can do it, at a cost. And they are not better than anyone else. They will hold your hand through the process. Put a small amount in a FA account, and see what they say. Or just read different forums and run the calculators.

LBYM is the #1 thing you can do.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Senator View Post
If you want to be a millionaire, talk to a bunch of millionaires. If you want to be retired, talk to a bunch of retirees.

There are many websites you can read, most people writing them are not retired. Any 'retirement coach' is by definition, not retired.

A FA can do it, at a cost. And they are not better than anyone else. They will hold your hand through the process. Put a small amount in a FA account, and see what they say. Or just read different forums and run the calculators.

LBYM is the #1 thing you can do.
Thanks. I have been doing a lot of reading and have a very good financial planner. The coach I am looking for would serve a different role. More like a budget therapist . Somebody that can help us agree how we want to spend our money and then stick to the plan.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:15 AM   #4
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I think your idea is a good one; it shows that you are serious about FIRE and value an outside perspective for some things. I don't know of any such coaches. During our 25 year LBYM and intensive savings/investment period my wife and I created a detailed plan for eventual FIRE. A central piece of "the plan", as we came to call it, was a series of detailed 6-month budgets, which eventually became one-year budgets.

She took over the budget tracking and acted as our operating executive. I took on the investment function. We met monthly to review our activities, performance, etc. We had a lot of fights in the early years as we adjusted our spending, expectations, and tolerances for going off the rails. It wasn't easy, but over time we developed a common understanding such that "the plan" became just about the most important thing in our lives, nearly a third person in our marriage! :-)

We learned an awful lot about wants vs. needs, long term vs. short term, and risk tolerance. We still do our annual budgeting, now in retirement, and maintain our separate roles. Our monthly budget reconciliation meetings now last about 15 minutes and we actually enjoy them. We have managed to stay within about 1% of our budget every year.

I think you are on the right track to try to find a way to do this.

-BB
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by sterlingmossy View Post
Hi,

As I prepare for ER I am looking to better control our family expenses (which have got a little out of control). I was thinking that some sort of money coach could be helpful (ideally online). Has anybody heard of such a service? Ideally they would:
- Provide online coaching for a reasonable fee
- Be able to access Mint to look at our budget
- Have some sort of benchmark data to compare our spending with others of our age/situation.
- Help resolve the inevitable family, prioritization, money allocation issues that arise.

If you don't know of anybody I may start this business

Thanks
You might look into=>

https://www.daveramsey.com/coaching?ictid=E2J7F3804
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:46 AM   #6
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If you posted your budget in this forum I'm sure you would get a lot of feedback.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:34 AM   #7
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Thanks much, that worked.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:40 AM   #8
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If you posted your budget in this forum I'm sure you would get a lot of feedback.
I made that Mistake over on MMM

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ca...r-some-advice/


Happy to take any advice you have.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:08 AM   #9
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We used to spend around the same as you and were able to cut that back significantly while improving our lifestyle. To start we put our budget in the same categories as the Consumer Expenditure Survey and compared them side by side by side and found some big areas right off the bat to cut back on fairly painlessly. Over time I got interested in urban homesteading, sustainable living and bargain hunting, so it has been a hoot how much we have been able to cut the expenses yet live better, go out more, eat healthier, and best of all not have to work. The CES table are here:

https://www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm

We still spend more in some categories like housing as we live in a high cost of living area, but categories like food and utility bills we made great improvements on. Like we used to be at the top of the charts from the utility companies on energy usage for our neighborhood and now we are often in the bottom 20% even with being home all day. For entertainment I've found a lot of discounts on annual passes, some Netflix for live events kinds of subscriptions, and I get a lot of free and discount tickets just from Facebook feeds, so we can go out every day or as much as we have time for and it doesn't cost too much.

You'll probably find a better fit on your expense questions here or Reddit in the FIRE and FatFIRE subreddits than MMM.

On your happiness vs. money question, there are some good Tedtalks on happiness. Those have really saved us a lot of money because they've helped shape how we've been spending our time and money in retirement. Most of the ideas in the talks are not expensive, like making more friends or getting out in nature.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sterlingmossy View Post
Thanks. I have been doing a lot of reading and have a very good financial planner. The coach I am looking for would serve a different role. More like a budget therapist . Somebody that can help us agree how we want to spend our money and then stick to the plan.
I guess the idea that you have a "very good" financial planner and the idea you still need someone to fulfill this role to be somewhat contradictory. A financial planner should be doing much more than just running the investment money. IMO you need to find a new financial planner.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:13 PM   #11
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I guess the idea that you have a "very good" financial planner and the idea you still need someone to fulfill this role to be somewhat contradictory. A financial planner should be doing much more than just running the investment money. IMO you need to find a new financial planner.
Interesting perspective. I have been using Creative Planning who seem better than other planners I have used (Morgan, Merrill and UBS). I always thought of them giving estate planning and income growth advice. What I feel we need now is budget counseling. That seems More like therapy than maths.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
We used to spend around the same as you and were able to cut that back significantly while improving our lifestyle. To start we put our budget in the same categories as the Consumer Expenditure Survey and compared them side by side by side and found some big areas right off the bat to cut back on fairly painlessly. Over time I got interested in urban homesteading, sustainable living and bargain hunting, so it has been a hoot how much we have been able to cut the expenses yet live better, go out more, eat healthier, and best of all not have to work. The CES table are here:

https://www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm

We still spend more in some categories like housing as we live in a high cost of living area, but categories like food and utility bills we made great improvements on. Like we used to be at the top of the charts from the utility companies on energy usage for our neighborhood and now we are often in the bottom 20% even with being home all day. For entertainment I've found a lot of discounts on annual passes, some Netflix for live events kinds of subscriptions, and I get a lot of free and discount tickets just from Facebook feeds, so we can go out every day or as much as we have time for and it doesn't cost too much.

You'll probably find a better fit on your expense questions here or Reddit in the FIRE and FatFIRE subreddits than MMM.

On your happiness vs. money question, there are some good Tedtalks on happiness. Those have really saved us a lot of money because they've helped shape how we've been spending our time and money in retirement. Most of the ideas in the talks are not expensive, like making more friends or getting out in nature.
Great perspective and ideas. Thank you.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sterlingmossy View Post
Hi,

As I prepare for ER I am looking to better control our family expenses (which have got a little out of control). I was thinking that some sort of money coach could be helpful (ideally online). Has anybody heard of such a service? Ideally they would:
- Provide online coaching for a reasonable fee
- Be able to access Mint to look at our budget
- Have some sort of benchmark data to compare our spending with others of our age/situation.
- Help resolve the inevitable family, prioritization, money allocation issues that arise.

If you don't know of anybody I may start this business

Thanks
I think on another thread you implied that your family wasn't onboard with a budget. Even your wife isn't onboard. How do you think that a stranger would make everyone agree to a budget. You need to get together with your wife and come to a budget agreement. When it comes to the kids you both have to stick to your guns. "This is how much we have to spend, period".
You want to compare your spending to what others are spending. It doesn't matter what anyone else is spending.
I don't have to see your budget. It sounds like you spend without a budget and then save what's left over.
Before you start a business you need to clean house first. Though many people do believe "Do as I say, not as I do"
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:20 PM   #14
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I think on another thread you implied that your family wasn't onboard with a budget. Even your wife isn't onboard. How do you think that a stranger would make everyone agree to a budget. You need to get together with your wife and come to a budget agreement. When it comes to the kids you both have to stick to your guns. "This is how much we have to spend, period".
You want to compare your spending to what others are spending. It doesn't matter what anyone else is spending.
I don't have to see your budget. It sounds like you spend without a budget and then save what's left over.
Before you start a business you need to clean house first. Though many people do believe "Do as I say, not as I do"
Wise council. Running a company is so much easier than running a household!
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sterlingmossy View Post
Interesting perspective. I have been using Creative Planning who seem better than other planners I have used (Morgan, Merrill and UBS). I always thought of them giving estate planning and income growth advice. What I feel we need now is budget counseling. That seems More like therapy than maths.
I think the Morgan, Merrill, and UBS type people are best thought of as investment advisors, not financial planners.

A good financial planner is working much more broadly than just running the money. Coaching on insurance needs, estate planning, planning for major financial events like college expenses, helping manage spending to suit needs for savings, coaching/nudging clients to consult estate planners and to get documents like health care poas and health care directives, ... Our lives are financially much more complicated than simply running a few investment accounts.

Many years ago I was talking to a friend and tried to inkle that his choice of IDS/American Express/Ameriprise was costing him a lot of money. His response was this: "I know my advisor is expensive, but if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have anything." That was actually kind of a light bulb moment for me because I had always been focused on the investment piece.

I know a few financial planners who belong to this organization: https://www.napfa.org/financial-planning As you can see, their contributions are much broader than simply running your money.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:54 PM   #16
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I think the Morgan, Merrill, and UBS type people are best thought of as investment advisors, not financial planners.

A good financial planner is working much more broadly than just running the money. Coaching on insurance needs, estate planning, planning for major financial events like college expenses, helping manage spending to suit needs for savings, coaching/nudging clients to consult estate planners and to get documents like health care poas and health care directives, ... Our lives are financially much more complicated than simply running a few investment accounts.

Many years ago I was talking to a friend and tried to inkle that his choice of IDS/American Express/Ameriprise was costing him a lot of money. His response was this: "I know my advisor is expensive, but if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have anything." That was actually kind of a light bulb moment for me because I had always been focused on the investment piece.

I know a few financial planners who belong to this organization: https://www.napfa.org/financial-planning As you can see, their contributions are much broader than simply running your money.
Thanks, great perspective and a useful link.
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