Paul: What is the most exciting thing you have encountered on your journey so far blogging, coaching, and educating?
Marco: Without hesitation, for coaching and educating, it has been the interaction with my clients.
I love my clients’ reactions when they achieve their financial goals like becoming debt-free.
For the blog, I would say that the most exciting part was when I launched it. I worked so many hours to develop my website that when it went online, it was an achievement.
Paul: What hurdles have you had to overcome in your journey so far? What hurdles lie ahead that you are starting to work on?
Marco: I think the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was my impatience. It takes a lot of time and patience to start a business from scratch.
However, I tend to get excited when I have a new idea. At the beginning, I was a bit frustrated to see only a few people reading my articles because my goal is to help as many people as possible.
The next hurdle I need to overcome is growing my client base. It has been difficult to find new clients. I don’t have a big budget to spend on advertising so it takes more time to get new clients.
Paul: When it comes to developing your skills, what areas do you want to focus on that will bring the most value to your personal life and career?
Marco: I would say communication, organizational, and analytical skills are the three most important skills I need to improve continuously.
My job is to understand my clients’ financial situation and help them in their path to financial freedom.
- Communication – I’m constantly interacting with my clients
- Organizational – I need to make time in my schedule to grow my business the way I want it to
- Analytical – I need to understand my clients’ needs to give them the best advice for their financial situation
Paul: Any sports or healthy activities that you embark on to help reduce stress or keep a level head?
Marco: Sports play a big part in my life. I played a few team sports like soccer, volleyball, and handball when I was in college. And I still play soccer as much as I can here in California.
Another activity that helps me reduce stress is meditation.
Paul: What is the best non-finance book you have read in the past year and why?
Marco: I’ll say The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book is eye-opening for me.
Before reading it, I tried meditation a few times, but I hated it. I didn’t understand how it worked and my mind was not open to it.
Now, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning. It changed my life!
Paul: What are some of the most challenging topics in finance that you must explain? How do you break it down for your audience?
Marco: In personal finance, the most challenging topics are the ones that trigger emotional reactions like debt or budget.
Debt is a tricky one because it’s a touchy subject. People get in debt for multiple reasons, but it’s not because they want to. As a financial coach, you need to understand the reason behind it, so you can find the best solution for each situation.
Most debt relief businesses offer plans for their clients to follow in order to pay down their debt, but it’s not enough.
Let’s take the water leak analogy to illustrate my point. Your ceiling is leaking water. Are you going to dry it out and move on with your life or are you going to find out the reason of the leak so you can fix it properly?
To learn about the 7 step plan to become debt-free, you can read this article.
Paul: As a financial coach, how would you encourage people who are living paycheck to paycheck during these times to get by, that was recently furloughed or laid off?
Marco: The first thing I would tell them is to keep calm. Taking financial decisions when stressed or letting emotions control your finances is not a great idea. Keep in mind that every situation has a solution.
The next step is to assess their financial situation. Before trying to make things better, they need to understand how bad it is. Most people know that their financial situation is not in the best shape, but they don’t know how bad it is until they look at the numbers.
Then, they can find a solution to get out of this paycheck to paycheck cycle. If they can’t save money on their salary, they are living above their means. Creating a budget is a great way for them to take control over their finances.
Paul: Do you have any pet peeves regarding the topic of money and poor stewardship of it?
I could probably write an entire article on inconsistent behaviors around the topic of money. But here are a few of them.
- Buying items you can’t afford
- Predicting the next bull or bear market
- Paying bank fees for free services
Also, here are a few financial myths you may have heard of.
- “Only rich people can invest their money”
- “Buying a house is always better than renting one”
- “You need to work until retirement age”
Paul: For someone in their 20’s or 30’s, what advice would you give them to not fall into a debt trap?
Marco: The best advice I can give millennials and generation Z is to only buy what you can afford. In Jay-Z’s words: “you can’t afford something unless you can buy it twice.“
Other advice I give my clients is to use their credit cards as debit cards. That way, they can pay off their credit cards every month on time and not pay high interests.
Paul: Through coaching individuals financially, what methods have you found the most effective at seeing positive changes in their spending or debt tempting habits?
Marco: I don’t think there is a universal method that can work for everyone. We all have different life experiences, backgrounds, and things we love to do in life. So it really depends on each individual.
However, the most effective way to improve your finances is the willingness to change. For example, if someone wants to improve their household finances, but only one person in the household is willing to make changes, it won’t work.
Thanks, Forehand Financial for inviting me to do this blogcast. If any of you are interested in financial freedom, I started a new program that aims to help you in your pursuit of financial freedom.
Nothing stated in this article is a recommendation from Forehand Financial to buy or sell a particular security or asset class. You should wisely consider your tolerance for risk, time horizon, and financial goals before making an investment. With investing, you run the risk of losing money, always read an investment prospectus and make an informed decision before allocating capital to a particular investment.