• The Family Money Coach

When is Financial Coaching NOT about the Money? When it's about the Family.

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

Over this weekend I managed to spend an afternoon with my newest Niece, H. My brother and sister-in-law are some of the nicest people that you would ever meet. They run a few very successful businesses that my sis-in-law built up before she met my brother-in-law; and they continue to run them together now. Their daughter is now 11 weeks old on Monday, and she is lovely. A tiny, squashable adorable human being, she reminds me of Rosalind when she was first born.


But sadly, H has not had the easiest birth or first quarter of life. She suffers terribly with silent reflux, unable to eat without getting acid that reverberates back up into her throat along with a tongue tie (the operation for which has already failed twice) and the inability to sleep without being held upright by my sister-in-law. It’s safe to say that they are KNACKERED. Totally and utterly spent, their emotional batteries are running on empty and then some.


I asked my sister-in-law how she (not the baby) was doing when we finally got some sis-sis bonding time together and she broke. She couldn’t keep up the “new mum” façade any longer and told me that she wasn’t managing. I guess you could say there was a sense of failure about her.


The interesting thing about this revelation is not that my sis-in-law felt like a failure as a new mum (I think we all do, on many levels, for different reasons), but that the sense of failure doesn't just focus on parenthood – it pervades into other areas of our lives - leaving us, as a parents feeling like we fail as a businesswomen, as a modern feminists; on top of already feeling like we fail at being the mums we wanted to be.


The reasons for those feelings are simple – but the weight of them are heavy to carry alone: balancing what we want, with what we feel we have to do.


Now the reason that I share this personal story with you is that my sister-in-law is, quite literally, one of the most successful businesswomen that I know. I admire her greatly. But I don't think she feels successful. I suspect she doesn’t feel like she deserves admiration.


My sis-in-law is the “Sun” in her businesses – in that their success revolves around her. She is the central cog that keeps all the wheels turning; and has been for the last 9 years. In the 12 weeks that she has been off on maternity leave (yes, she really did only stop working 6 days before giving birth) she has already had to go back to work 3 times for business meetings that no-one else could attend. Were she an employee, by contrast, she would have been entitled by law to 52 weeks maternity leave, and would not have “had” to attend any meetings at all until she returned to work.


You could, easily I suppose, think that my in-laws are lucky. Their businesses are successful enough that they could pay for round-the-clock care for H, pay for private medical care, and bring in a host of Personal Assistants to help them both run the businesses. Yet, for all their “paper” luck, they are in the same position as many new parents that I know – feeling totally lost and unable to make a decision about the “way forwards”.


My brother-in-law asked me what my business was about – what exactly I do with couples, and whether it is “financial advice”. I didn’t want to say to him that “actually, you two are clients for what I do” – but I can share that here, with you.


The reason that they need support like a Family Money Coach is because my business is BUILT AROUND clients like my in-laws. My in-laws don’t have “money worries” in the traditional sense – they are not struggling to afford things that they need. But they do have worries. “Life worries”. Life worries that will ultimately, affect the MONEY.


They both recognise that my sis-in-law isn’t ready to go back to work, that she is desperately needed by their daughter, that she should be focusing on getting herself, and H, well. Yet they feel unable to make a decision to permit my darling sister-in-law that time, that space, because of the fear of the financial repercussions that will create for them later down the line.


When I provide clients with family money coaching; I’m not dictating to clients how to “use” money, or what to save or spend on. I'm not dictating to them at all. What I am doing is coaching - but not necessarily on the money. Coaching on how to make DECISIONS. How to make decisions in a way that respects each other’s views and needs. How to make decisions that work for the whole family. And once we have made those decisions; we turn to the money. We view the money as the “resource” to achieve the decisions that my clients have made; the decisions that are right for them.


Family financial coaching isn’t the right fit for every new parent – I know it, you know it. But for some people, it’s about giving yourself a gift when everything else feels like rubbish. What is that gift? It’s yourselves.


That’s right. Family money coaching is about giving yourselves the gift of re-finding what YOU WANT TO DO, not what you think YOU NEED TO DO.


When we talk about financial coaching, people fixate on the money. Rightly so, of course – but they forget one really important lesson. Money is, at it’s core, just a resource. Like water, or air. You need it, of course. You need it to be able to achieve the things you want, to live the lifestyle you would like. But it doesn’t define you.


What defines you are your goals, your desires, your dreams. Your future, your family, and your vision for the future that your family will live.


Having a baby throws EVERYTHING up in the air.

That’s true whether you have a traumatic and difficult postpartum period like my darling sister-in-law, a relatively easy 4th trimester like me; or if you’re somewhere in between. The things that you thought you would want, that you would do, the friends you would have, the groups that you would attend, the support you would rely upon.


All of that will be different than you imagined – some in better ways, some in worse.


So the key thing that family money coaching offers you is a chance to reset.


To recuperate, to renew your relationship as a couple, to refresh your vision for your family, and then, once that is done, to re-plan. To re-plan how to use the money you have, the money that you will have (once your decisions are put into action); to achieve the family future that you both want.


If you look at my website and think “I don’t need this, we’re successful, we have a plan, we’ve got this in the bag”, then know two things. First, I salute you, sincerely. I wish you all the best and I hope you have the beautiful family future that you’re planning for. Secondly: I’m here for you. If you find that things don’t go quite as you planned, things are harder than you expected, or that the plan needs a “refresh”, then I’m here.


I am here for my sister-in-law, for H and for my brother-in-law.

I can be here for you too.

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