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Combating Financial Sabotage with Melissa Meagher

With Melissa Meagher - Talking Money

Melissa Meagher is owner and Financial Coach at Talking Money, a business that helps clients develop financial confidence. Melissa has found that sometimes people who work very hard, who are earning big money and are big spenders are the people who most need her help.

Melissa says, “I find, particularly with professionals that are on reasonably high incomes, they're very successful at what they do, but that doesn't equate to being in control of their financial situation. More times than not, when I've dealt with CEOs of companies and people in very high management, they're very out of control with their money and their spending, and basically, they still fundamentally need to sit down and work with someone about doing a budget, and get that control back.”

Melissa understands how to help her clients take back control. It’s not pretty and involves words like ‘budgets’, ‘facing the truth’, ‘thinking and planning’ and ‘delaying gratification’ but reigning in spending and understanding how to maximise income through good debt and bad debt in fact ultimately leads to a greater sense of control and freedom.

TRACK YOUR SPENDING

When clients agree to work with Melissa, the first thing she gets them to do is to track their spending for 30 days. Melissa says, “It builds that very strong awareness around where they are, but it also empowers them to move forward and take action. Just going back and looking through credit card statements of what you've spent is the past.” What she is interested in is the present and the future.

Melissa gets clients to record, “…every single cup of coffee, every sneaky takeaway, every bottle of wine. You need to record everything that you spend. You can use an App, you can write it down in a notebook, you can put it into an Excel model. However a client wants to do it, that's the deal. That's the commitment people make to themselves when they engage with me, because people usually are ready to do something about it when they engage with me.”

Melissa continues, “I'm using the ASIC Money Smart Budget Planner at the moment because it's just fantastic. It's efficient, it's free, it's obviously backed by the government. I have built my own budget planner to give to people at seminars that's got the Excel formulas in it. I give them a hard copy at the seminar, and then I email them the one with the formulas in it if they want to use that home, so they've got options. There's an App you can use. Money Smart's got an App you can have on your phone so that every time you spend money, you put it on the App.”

She adds, "Your little costs - put them in the app. Your big costs, like your groceries, maybe keep the receipts and just plug them into your Excel spreadsheet at the end of the week. Really, it doesn't matter how it’s tracked. It just needs to be done in the easiest possible way because it can be very confronting to do, because it's taking ownership and being accountable for spending.”

ASSESSMENT STAGE

At the end of the 30 days, Melissa and her clients sit down, talk about the results and work out how to proceed with a budget. She explains, “First of all, I look at the costs, the fixed costs, and ways that we can minimise those, because more times than not, they're in a negative balance. We look at reviewing insurances, phone, internet, car insurances, home insurances. It's time consuming, but it is worthwhile, because people can save hundreds of dollars by just going through and reviewing those areas - and you've got those facilities like ‘Compare The Market’ now too.”

Melissa smooths out bill cycles and then advises to “...have a look at talking around the relationship with money and spending, and we try to dig a bit deeper. Clients can start thinking forward and moving forward on what they want to achieve. That can be anything from reducing credit card debt, being able to pay for an annual holiday or having paid for an annual holiday instead of going on a holiday, putting it on a credit card, and feeling sick the whole holiday because you know you actually can't afford the holiday. I had a couple recently,

and I said to them, ‘How did it feel to you to know you've got this holiday coming up - it's paid for, in cash, and you're spending on that holiday is already accounted for, sitting in a bank account?’. They just said, ‘Oh’ - they nearly burst into tears.”

Melissa very much holds her hand with her clients. She says, “I'm more of a financial mentor than a financial coach, because I'm not about just giving them the tools and saying ‘You go and sort it out yourself’. I'm very hands on, very hand holding, and very supportive, because I think that's the difference that I make in working for people, as opposed to them trying to do it on their own. It’s coming in and making a difference with their financial situation.”

For more information please see: http://www.talkingmoney.net.au/ https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-andapps/budget-planner

Melissa will be speaking at The Complete Leader Conference in Sydney on 7th & 8th September 2016. SMS 'Leadership' to 0416 906 800 for instant information.

 

 

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