Innovation That Matters

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Advisory service applies fitness training to managing finances

Work & Lifestyle

An in-house 'financial fitness' trainer helps people get their finances into shape and stick to their budget.

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When people want to tone their muscles, they often use a trainer to help them get into shape. Now, New York’s Financial Gym is taking a fitness-inspired approach to helping people tone up their finances. During the initial ‘workout’, clients are first asked detailed questions about their finances. This includes how much money they make, how much debt they have, and their financial and personal goals. From there, clients are assigned a trainer and a customised financial fitness plan that breaks financial goals down into a series of simple, achievable steps.

We have seen many apps that offer to help people with their finances, including an app that helps people find the best exchange rates and an app that helps freelancers even-out their income.The Financial Gym does not use apps. Instead, clients are given a paper folder of detailed to-do lists, including what types of credit cards to apply for, how much debt to pay off each month, and the amount of money they need to save to reach their goals. Over the following months, trainers check in with their clients to make sure they are on target. They will also adjust their plans if necessary. Clients are graded on their financial fitness – straight A’s will earn a badge, failure to save could earn a D.

Financial advisor Shannon McLay was inspired to open the Gym. She realised that many ordinary people wanted to talk to someone honestly about how to manage their money. The Gym offers a human connection where people could feel comfortable talking about their finances. Plans start at USD 85 for a monthly meeting, an on-call financial advisor, and an individual financial fitness plan. The Gym also has weekly wine and learn sessions on topics such as Money Mindfulness and the Art of Travel Hacking. What other services might benefit from a similar in-person approach?



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