I’m Simonne Gnessen, co-author of Sheconomics and Money Coach & Financial Life Planner at Wise Monkey Financial Coaching. I help clients build a better relationship with money and feel calmer, more in control and confident about their finances. I’m not a traditional financial adviser and I don’t sell financial products or receive any commission or payment from third parties.
If you want to create changes in your life, I strongly suggest that you watch this TEDxTalk: Draw your future: Patti Dobrowolski.
The talk is both entertaining and inspiring. It shows you how to leverage your power of imagination and visualisation to actualise the desired vision of your future. I've used this exercise personally, and with many clients, with remarkable results.
The act of focusing on what is truly and profoundly important to you, and identifying your bold steps, has a powerful impact. Clearly, you have to take action too. But change always starts with clear, sharp, focus on what you want.
It’s that time of year again – the time of New Year resolutions and goal-setting. This year, though, let’s do something different and focus on habits instead.
Think of a goal as a result you want to achieve. And habits – the things you do regularly without even thinking about it - as the process that will get you there. Of course, goals are crucial in helping you determine the direction you want to do, but it’s far more important to spend time designing the right process.
With habits, thinking small can be the best way to bring about big change. Behaviour Scientist at Stanford University, BJ Fogg, invented the method of creating Tiny Habits. His philosophy is that motivation is only temporary and the easiest way to make a habit stick is to tack it onto an existing habit. BJ Fogg describes a tiny habit as a behaviour you do at least once a day, that takes you less than 30 seconds and one that requires little effort.
The habit-formation technique of ‘pairing’ is one form of automation that I personally use. When I turn on my computer in the morning, I check my bank account online. It’s a manual action but it’s so ingrained in me now that it’s an automatic habit – I do it without thinking.
My work as a financial coach is often focused on working with people who want to change their financial results, sometimes having buried their head in the sand with their finances for several years. This usually involves helping them change their behaviour with money and form new, positive habits that requires small and consistent action – small, because it’s more achievable; and consistent, because this helps habits ‘stick’.
￼￼Some people are good savers. Regardless of how much they earn they always seem to have money set aside for special occasions and rainy days. Others, even when they have a good income, seem to be permanently broke and waiting for the next pay cheque. You probably recognise which you are.
A new study has found that more and more people have an account or credit card hidden from their partner. Money secrets can be just as harmful to a relationship as cheating. Interesting article by Anna Maxted about financial infidelity in The Times, with commentary from Simonne Gnessen.
While December is a month of splurging, January is typically associated with cutting back – whether that’s on food, alcohol, or spending.
If one aim this year is to improve your financial situation, increasing income is just as important as reducing spending. One area often overlooked is finding ways to claim everything you’re entitled to. This is especially important if you’re one of more than 10 million people completing their self-assessment tax return ahead of the 31 January deadline.
Self-assessment is a system used by HMRC to collect tax. If you’re an employee, tax is usually collected automatically from your monthly salary and shows up on your payslip. But if you’re self employed, or have additional sources of income such as savings interest or rental income, you have to declare your income to HMRC and offset against that any expenses that attract tax relief. The more tax relievable expenses, the less tax you have to pay, which means more money in your pocket.
So when you’re completing your tax return it pays to make sure you’re claiming all the tax relief you’re entitled to.
While celebrating the success with a client of her new job and impressive payrise, I suggested she ask some questions of her existing pension provider, and the pension provider at her new job, to explore her options.
During our discussion, I asked whether she was claiming higher rate tax relief on her pension contributions. She wasn’t aware that this was something she needed to do. She didn’t know she could claim, or that it was up to her to claim. Nor that by not claiming she could have been missing out on thousands of pounds.
I'm just back from another incredible WOW event, this time for the first Women of the World Festival in Exeter.
It's such a privilege to be asked to run a workshop on my favourite topic at such a prestigious event and to have such an engaging audience to talk to. There is something quite magical about WOW - being part of a movement that both celebrates the incredible achievements of women and girls, as well as talking through some of the tough subjects that get in the way of our success or of achieving our full potential. My workshop was called 'Getting personal with finances' ...
It’s all well and good for me to tell you what my Financial Coaching Training course is like from my point of view, but the best person to give you a real insight is someone that has done it. I asked one of my trainees (who has just begun practicing as a Financial Coach) to tell her story.
What made you want to become a Financial Coach?
I wanted to help others with their financial journey. Training opportunities were limited but through my research I found Simonne’s website and did a bit of reading around her philosophy and her work. The turning point for me was when I listened to her podcast and I felt like I was listening to a kindred spirit and it was then that I decided to train with Wise Monkey Financial Coaching.
How did you feel when you arrived?
I was nervous when I turned up on that first day, I wasn’t really sure what to expect! Would it be all chalk and talk? Would I be able to keep up? Well, I needn’t have worried at all! Simonne was so warm and welcoming that all my fears and nerves just disappeared.
Flic Everett, 46, is in debt, has no pension and does not own her own property, so she put her trust in me to help her get a grip on her finances, and to improve her relationship to money.
This article in the FeMail gives you Flic’s account of what she got out of our sessions and from the work she prepared in advance of us meeting. It also gives you insight into what goes on in a coaching session and some of the exercises I use.
I want to share with you the most profound and inspirational story about one of my clients. She first came to see me just over 3 years ago, having inherited money and wanting to experience self-empowerment. Her wish was to do something with the money which was meaningful to her. To extract purpose and meaning from the money that was not entangled in emotional connections to money in her family. She was aware that over time her relationship with the money had become tense and uncomfortable, sometimes tainted by shame and guilt - she wanted to heal this along the way.
I'm thrilled by the progress she's made. The way that her relationship with money has changed. How she has carefully and methodically selected the right investment approach, and advice, to have confidence that her money is working well for her and aligned to her goals and integrity. How she is gaining confidence in her understanding of the complex financial landscape. And is standing in her power in so many different ways.