Case 1 – Coaching and Debt
Gerry, who is self-employed, came to me to discuss why he was being “targeted” by the banks and other institutions over his debts. He felt that no matter what he did he was being treated badly and bullied and was not getting anywhere with regard to reducing debt or simply being listened to. He had substantial mortgage arrears and was juggling over 8 other creditors. He was experiencing significant stress and isolating himself even further from family and friends. He had been to a financial advisor, but it had yielded little.
Over 3 sessions of coaching, Gerry worked on his goals and the visualisation of what he really wanted to get out of the sessions. Leaving the debt aside, his underlying anxiety and sadness was due to his lack of organisation in his life. He felt that he couldn’t get things moving in the direction he wanted. He felt powerless and out of control of his destiny which manifested in his debt and detrimental work patterns.
Coaching on both the work and money front, we clarified why he was doing what he was doing, and he admitted a disregard for money and structure since childhood. He came to realise he was in a spiral of denial about his responsibilities. He developed a plan based on his goal to get more organised. He also started a morning walk routine to collect his thoughts and plan his day. He relied on me to monitor and support his motivation and progress.
One of the sessions was dedicated to education around the arrears landscape in the country and addressing his concerns. We covered topics such as:
- personal insolvency & bankruptcy
- the law and regulations around debt management
- banks, vulture funds and their strategies
- court appearances
This was invaluable as it reduced his anxiety and “fear of the unknown”
Contacting the Revenue, creditors and banks, and discussing with family were all items on his task list, something which he had always been terrified to do. He used me as a springboard for ideas but also as an accountability partner, something he really needed. Equally the development of a budgeting, record keeping and debt management plan. Once he had taken the first step he felt better, clearer and more focussed. The taking of small additional actions generated power to take further steps. He started feeling better about work and became more organised, embracing technology to help market himself and increase his income.
He has a long way to go but now he knows where he is financially and knows what he can control, influence or just accept. He sees himself as less of a victim and more in control of his destiny, both financial and otherwise.
Case 2 – Coaching and Spending
Claire was a solicitor with a steady income. She really wanted to buy a house and get on the property ladder. Several years ago, Claire had racked up debt to the tune of €13,000 on her credit card. Her parents had come to the rescue and paid it off in total. The problem was that Claire had started to get into the same problem again and her credit card debt was climbing to close to €6,000. She was frustrated and angry that this had happened to her yet again and became anxious about her situation. She wanted to buy a house and she was told it was going to be more difficult with this debt history. She estimated that she needed a deposit and stamp duty of about €35,000 of which her parents would give her €15,000. Her spending on entertainment and food was very much at the high end.
After our initial conversation we decided to look at her goals and visualise what she really wanted:
• to be in control of spending and credit cards
• saving for a deposit and not dip into it
• To be moving towards what she wanted, a house in a good area
• Not to worry about money and break the pattern of anxiety about it
Following an initial session where we looked in detail at spending and income, she confessed she had never really paid any attention to cost of things, ever! She felt she was moving away from her goals if anything.
Analysis of spending showed her patterns:
• Spending way too much at weekends. Being overly generous going out, paying for taxis, paying for drinks, paying for dinner. She was wrapped up in a spiral of thinking she needed to be seen and conspicuous socially. She never wanted to stay in. Subsequently she revealed that she didn’t really like her flatmate and went out a lot when she could have stayed in with friends. Her flatmate never went out.
• Her overriding money characteristic was status-seeking and this showed in her need to pay for things to be seen to be generous, but also to hide the truth about her mismanagement.
• Christmas was “out of control” spending wise and she had so many nieces and nephews and extended family. It was a whirlwind of family visits and she felt she had to buy them presents when she came around.
Over six sessions she came up with actions to complete including:
• Planning to go away for Christmas and not to buy presents this year
• Looking for another flat to enable her to entertain more and not feel the need to go out
• Take out the credit card to a zero-interest switcher and took it out of her purse. She took a concrete decision to only live on her debit card and within certain spending limits on food, clothes and entertainment. This was monitored closely
• Start going to friend’s houses more and non-expensive nights out like theatre and cinema
• Set up a savings plan for her deposit. Her budget savings went directly into paying off her credit card and building up a deposit.
The results were so empowering to her. She felt she had regained control and saw that there was a real plan in place now. The best thing about it was it was a plan that she came up with and was managing herself. This not only saved her spending on what she didn’t’ want but also moved her towards her main goal.