Financial Coach Vs. Financial Planner w/ Taylor Westergard

In this episode of Elementality, Jordan Haines, CFP® interviews Taylor Westergard, CFP®, AFC®, founder and financial coach at Evolving Money – a financial coaching firm focused on helping people understand their cashflow and be more intentional with their spending.

They discuss the difference between a financial coach and a financial advisor, specifically when financial coaching may be more appropriate than financial planning. They also discuss how advisors can introduce other services to introduce value sooner in a client’s journey

If you’re wondering if financial coaching is right for your practice, then this episode is for you!


Taylor Westergard: [00:00:00] especially with the clients that already have financial advisors. So a lot, I think I have a good chunk of clients that already have financial advisors. They’ve had a financial plan created for them, but they don’t believe the plan because they’re like, well, that’s a very future oriented thing.

Like you’re telling me what’s going to happen in the future. You’re telling me I’m going to be good for retirement, but I don’t believe you because I’m so not sure about my cashflow right now. I don’t, I don’t truly trust those numbers. And so that’s what we work on. To figure that out 

Jordan Haines: Welcome to L mentality. Everyone. I’m Jordan Haynes, financial vitals expert here at elements and your host for today’s show. Now today we have the pleasure of having a great conversation with Taylor. Westergaard. She’s a longtime friend of mine and the founder and owner of evolving money, which is a financial coaching business. Who works with clients. In the areas of budgeting, cashflow, habit, forming and behavior tracking. The reason I call that out is this is very different from the traditional financial planning or financial advice business. In fact Taylor describes what she does is preparing people [00:01:00] for a traditional planning relationship. One where we optimize someone’s finances. The reason I’m really excited to bring to you. 

This conversation is Taylor and I spent a lot of time talking about that first valuable aha moment that a client experiences. Now, this is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. Because I believe. That we often forget the valuable interactions clients have with us before we ever deliver them recommendations or a financial plan. And oftentimes that first valuable interaction is just orienting someone to their reality of their situation.

So, if you’re curious to learn about what financial coaching is and how it works, or potentially how you could apply some of the principles of financial coaching to your business, then this is a fantastic conversation for you. 

And with that, let’s get onto my conversation with Taylor. Westergaard. 

Taylor, you and I have known each other for how long now? Has it been like a decade? I feel like maybe we first met a decade ago. Has it been that

Taylor Westergard: It might have been. I don’t know. It sounds like that [00:02:00] sounds too long, but it might have been.

Jordan Haines: think it’s been a decade. Yeah. Cause I first started. So, so let me, let me introduce Taylor and then I’m going to let her talk about herself. Taylor and I know each other. Um, we’re both young whippersnappers and we’ve been in this industry for about 10 years. So we’ll say nine, 10 years. Um, we both came up in Utah Valley university’s financial planning program, which is amazing.

Um, Can’t recommend it enough. Um, and I actually got to know Taylor in a, uh, a small center that they had there called the money management resource center.

It just gave us an opportunity to have like real conversations with people about money. I like, it was, I think out of anything that I did in school, that was probably the most transformational for me. It’s stuck with me and it stuck with you, I think, because of your, where you’re at right now, which we’ll talk about.

Um, tell us about yourself. Most people here don’t know. About you and who you are. You’re very different from most of the people we have on there. So tell us about Taylor, where you came from, how you got interested in this whole thing. And, uh, then we’ll dive into what you’re doing today.[00:03:00] 

Taylor Westergard: Yeah, deal. So, uh, I grew up in Utah. Uh, so I went to school at UVU again with Jordan, uh, like you said, and it was an incredible program. And I stumbled onto it because I wanted to be psychology major, but I also really liked math and I couldn’t decide between the two. And then Luke Dean of the program grabbed me and was like, Hey, like you got to check this out.

And I just fell head over heels in love with finance. Like I’ve never heard of a financial advisor. I’ve never heard of budgeting. Like I was just so new to me, but it was. It was a little fire in me. So, uh, started with the financial planning program, got the CFP, got the licenses at 766, uh, while I was, uh, in school, uh, before we even graduated, which is what the program does.

Cause it’s incredible. Um, and just started working as a financial advisor for a couple of years or working towards, uh, being that financial advisor. And it was an incredible experience, but of course, like you said, like that finance, the money success center was what. Drew me so far into finance. Like, I just felt like everything we were learning in college was applicable to everyone I knew.

And [00:04:00] especially the financial counseling class. Uh, and I just love that. It was like literally a degree in how to adult. Uh, I felt like everyone I talked to could benefit from what we were learning in school. And that was just incredible to me. So the financial counseling class, even more so like just learning about credit budgeting, a debt, uh, just things that everyone has to deal with.

And there were, I mean, I still to this day, the number one thing that people are like always shocked about is the credit utilization ratio. Like you’re not supposed to use more than 30 percent of your credit line to improve your credit score. And so many people don’t know this, like the number one like fact I like to give them is like, Oh, wow, like it’s just like so cool.

That’s like such small things can be like so mind blowing and so helpful. And we were just learning this in these, you know, smart college classes. Just incredible. So,

Jordan Haines: Yeah,

Taylor Westergard: that was a little bit of a tangent, but I love that program so much.

Jordan Haines: No, yeah, no, I think it’s perfect. And I love like your background. I didn’t realize that you were interested in psychology and money or psychology and math. I love that because, uh, that, that I think that feeds into probably where you’re at and probably things we’ll talk about [00:05:00] today.

But I think most advisors are thinking about this, this relationship between emotions, uh, and functional jobs. Right. Like money seems functional on the surface. We all know it’s emotional. Right. And so that’s an interesting part of this. So you mentioned, uh, you went off to be a financial advisor. You’re obviously, I don’t know.

Would you call yourself a financial advisor today?

Taylor Westergard: No, not at all. I try not to use that term because that doesn’t mean like you are registered and you do investments. I don’t do investments, insurance, taxes. I am not allowed to do that. So,

Jordan Haines: Okay. So, so before we get into that, I want to understand about your firm, but tell us what, so you graduate, you’ve done, had all this experience, you get your CFP, you get your AFC, those of you who don’t know that that is go look it up. It’s fantastic. Um, you do all this, what happens between then and where you’re at now?

Taylor Westergard: so, um, So I guess what happened was, so when you first get into the advisor industry, you’re not like immediately advising, you’re in client meetings, you’re doing the financial plan, they’re teaching you how to use the software, they’re having you do all this stuff, you’re presenting to [00:06:00] clients, you’re educating clients, like you’re doing all this stuff.

core part of what I think some people do is the part of the operation side of things too. Um, so you’re moving money, you’re doing trades, you’re, uh, doing that kind of stuff. That kind of stuff stressed me out, which is the, not like the core piece of financial planning, right? That’s not what the point of a financial planner is to do is like to submit, yes, submit trades, submit wires, like, Sending those things, but it was so stressful for me.

And I was just like, I hate this part of planning. I love talking to people. I love doing the number crunching. I love figuring out like how people can make their dreams work. Right. But the operational side was just a nightmare. And so, um, I was just want to cope with that, like that stress of that side of things.

I was doing a financial coaching just like for, uh, like with friends, with family and just on the side, like for free, like nothing major, nothing formal, but I just like would help them set up a budget on like a budgeting app or the spreadsheets at the time. Uh, and at the end of the day, I just realized that that’s where, uh, that’s the reason I was getting out of bed in the morning was to see my coaching clients, not really to do the financial advisor work anymore.

So the investment side of things, while I love, like I’m a huge [00:07:00] nerd with investments and taxes, I wish I could dive into that. But at the end of the day, it just, it was the, the budgeting, the spending, the day to day, the psychology of money. That really, really drew me.

Jordan Haines: I love that. So tell, tell us about what you’re doing right now then. What, um, I’m just going to leave it there. Tell us about what you’re doing right now. What’s the name of your firm? What do you do? Like this whole world of financial coaching and counseling is probably very foreign to a lot of advisors.

Um, and so I want to create some visibility to this in this conversation and then talk about kind of some principles here that I think would be valuable for advisors who listened to this to hear, but tell me about your business, what are you doing?

Taylor Westergard: So, uh, I, my business is called evolving money and it is one on one. Coaching for people who need to get a budget together to, uh, they’re normally high income earners, but they have a lot of debt. They haven’t been able to save as much or they are saving, but they’re just pulling it right back out at the end of the year.

Uh, and so. What I do is kind of help [00:08:00] people. I think of it as like trying to get them to graduate from this, this initial stage to, uh, get their finances in order to understand, have some financial clarity, but then eventually graduate to work with the financial advisor. I want them to have a savings rate that they can confidently go to financial advisor and say, Hey, this is how much I can save every month.

Can you help me? Invest it and start doing the things like investing and taxing and all the important things that you need to be doing. Um, but I think there are these bound, uh, building blocks that you have to start with, uh, that are very critical. And some people, I will say some people are doing this during the financial advice relationships.

I have lots of clients with. You know, uh, hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in a financial advisor, but they still need to come back to the basics because lifestyle creep can happen at any stage in your financial life. It’s not just at the beginning, when you’re first getting your salary, it happens as your kids start to go to college, as you’re, um, as you, when you move to a new city, right.

It can happen. It creeps up on you really quickly. And so it’s something that advisors don’t often catch. And so they need a coach to come in and clean [00:09:00] stuff up so they can be back on track to those long term goals that the financial advisor helps with. So that’s, that’s where my focus is, is those the, the day to day.

Jordan Haines: What I’m hearing from you is that you mainly deal in the world of behavioral and habits. So like you said, savings rate is a great example. We, those of you who are followers of elements, no savings rate. It’s just what percentage of your annual income is going towards savings. If someone is only saving 2%, that’s not a great situation for them to be in.

And now they’re going to go and optimize their investment strategy with their financial advisor. Right. I think what you’re saying is there’s kind of these table stake behaviors and habits that I work with people specifically on before they go to optimize their investments or their tax planning strategy or whatever it is.

Is that, am I accurately understanding that?

Taylor Westergard: Yep. Yep. You’re exactly right.

Jordan Haines: Yeah, why don’t invite? 

Well, let’s start here. I know that you mentioned that some advisors are doing this. Why don’t, [00:10:00] why, why is there an opera? I guess I should say this. Why is there an opportunity for you to have a separate and distinct service as a financial coach from a financial advisor?

Why are financial advisors not focusing on these things that you focus on?

Taylor Westergard: I think that’s a really good question. And for my time as a financial advisor, I would say one of it, a big part of it is just not having enough time to do it. Do this. If you’re doing the investment side of things, the investment management, you have to do all the, uh, the operational stuff that comes with that.

The, uh, as well as just all the planning that you have, as well as the client workflow that you have. I don’t think that there’s a ton of time. To really dive deep into someone’s cash flow. Like I’m looking at my clients last three months to a year’s worth of cash. So I’m organizing that data. I’m showing them, uh, trying to move out those one off expenses so that they, uh, so that they can see like what their regular monthly expense are, as well as the things that are throwing them off, which is normally the things that are causing the problems that are adding to that, pulling from savings, those ones.

[00:11:00] This things that are not monthly. Um, we have to, I have to find all those and I have to talk through, through the, uh, those situations with them. It’s, it’s a lot of conversation. My first meeting with a client is two hours long because we have to talk through like, what does Christmas shopping look like for you guys?

What does it look like when you guys go to visit family on the, for Thanksgiving? We have to talk through all those expenses because it’s not something that, uh, you know, it necessarily is readily available. Like a financial advisor doesn’t normally have access to that data. If they start using my money, of course, they, they might be able to, but even then it’s still kind of hard to pull out.

So I really think it is time time issue that, uh, the financial advisors service model, there’s just a lot they have to do it. They do a lot of valuable work. And I don’t know if they’re, uh, Just have the time and capacity to handle this. Now, I think that there is an opportunity for financial advisors to add a person to do this.

So like a, like a coach in their firm to do this kind of work. I think that would be incredibly valuable. I don’t know if the financial advisor could do this for all their clients or the clients that even need it,

Jordan Haines: That’s

Taylor Westergard: but I [00:12:00] don’t know.

Jordan Haines: idea. That’s a really interesting idea, right? I think like it most, okay. So I, I spend a lot of my time with financial advisors in their business, a traditional, like a classic financial planning practice. We’ll have a lead advisor, maybe a junior advisor, maybe an associate advisor.

They’ll have maybe a pair of planner to kind of help support them, a client services admin. And for what purpose? Well, the purpose is get all the data I need. So that I can run analysis and create a quote unquote financial plan and present that to the client and optimize their life. And I think what you’re saying is there’s, Hey, look, like that’s all fine and dandy.

That’s great. There’s value in that process. Some people aren’t ready for that. Some people might need to take a step back from that process because we’re trying to optimize the wrong thing, right? Where they just don’t even have the habits or the behaviors in place. And having someone like a financial coach to be more hands on.

It’s super valuable. I think what’s interesting too, and I don’t want to get into the financials of like what you do, right? I think if it’s a good enough business for you, it’s a good enough business for you, those of you who are interested, go look up what is the financial coaches network, there’s a couple other places you can look up to see like, what [00:13:00] does a traditional financial coaching business look like?

Sure. You can go to that. We don’t need to get into that today, but I think what most people would look at is the type of clients that you work with, probably maybe you tell me if I’m wrong here, probably don’t or can’t afford a traditional financial advisor fee. Right. So there you’re probably not charging as much.

Actually. Tell me if I’m wrong here. I don’t even know. Uh, first off we might not include this. I don’t necessarily want to get into the numbers as much. Do you charge as much as a financial advisor or are you getting paid less generally?

Taylor Westergard: No, I’m definitely getting paid less than a financial advisor. I was actually joking with a friend of mine. I’m like, if you had this many meetings as financial advisors, I do, you would be making so much more money than me. I have a lot of meetings for how much money I make for sure. Um, but I think you’re right.

I think there is a limit to what people are willing to pay at the same time, though. I see coaches that are paying way more than financial advisors and people are paying for it, like for courses even, uh, that do this and not even one on one coaching and they charge a lot of money. So there’s people that are out there willing to pay for it.

They can afford it. And it. Probably helps them. I don’t know for sure. I haven’t gotten the results of their courses, [00:14:00] but, uh, it’s out there.

Jordan Haines: much, so you’re really hands on with people.

Taylor Westergard: Yes,

Jordan Haines: that sense. You’re really hands on because I think you see that, Hey, we need to help them get the right habits in place behavior so that we can graduate them to this next stage. I really like that’s a healthy outlook. How much time would you say that you spend in conversation with clients versus outside managing, you know, analysis and admin and things like that?

If you were to put numbers on it, percentage wise, how much time do you spend with clients versus not?

Taylor Westergard: I think it’s about 50, 50, um, 50 percent meetings, 50 percent outside. Cause there’s not a ton of like data, like a monarch does so much for me, like monarch, as far as like gathering the data, giving me the reports I need, um, as long as I can organize it to start, but like my prep and post and the emails and all the operational side of, you know, serving the client, like the direct things I’m doing for the client.

It’s probably about 50, 50 meetings and outside work.

Jordan Haines: I really like that. And I’ll tell you why I really liked that. [00:15:00] Michael Kitsis did a study. Everyone is probably so sick of me referencing the study. It’s my favorite study in the world because it just proves a lot. Um, he does a study in 2022 about how advisors spend their time. And I think the general theme of it is advisors that spend more of their time with clients generally are more productive in terms of revenue.

Right. Their business is more productive, things like that, which sometimes feels counterintuitive. Right. Like I’m going to spend all my time talking to people. And for some reason, my business is going to be better. Well, what are the, what are the downstream effects of that? Well, I think it means that you are become more referable.

You spend more time thinking about the problems that you’re actually solving in people’s lives. You’re moving the needle forward. You’re helping them, right. You’re doing the thing that you’re uniquely suited to do as a human being advisor. Now the, and, um, don’t take my word for this. Go look at the study.

I believe that the average and typical time for. Most of I, I think the top performing advisors was like 38 percent of their time. And you’re already saying like, Hey, I’m spending 50 percent of the time. I’m sure you wish maybe you could spend more time with customers or with clients. [00:16:00] And I think that’s incredibly valuable.

And the type of work that you do doesn’t warrant you having to do this optimization strategy behind the scene and organizing all of it. It’s all just, Hey, it’s right here. Let’s have a conversation about it. So I just wanted to note that I think that’s a really interesting comparison there. Um,

I want to shift and talk about something here that is really near and dear to me.

You know this because we were talking about this before we hit record. Um, I am really passionate about client activation around this first step. This, this initial interaction that someone has with the financial professional. I think we miss a lot of things in the world of financial advice. We’re so focused on the optimal path forward, the plan, the recommendations that we miss a lot of these underlying to habits and behaviors.

What have you found that you do? That is really, really valuable to clients that maybe a lot of financial advisors don’t do currently today.

Taylor Westergard: You know, I think this is, it’s going to sound really simple, but Jordan, it’s, [00:17:00] uh, do you remember that sinking fund worksheet we did at the MMRC and it has all the months in the year and it lists out all the things that is probably like the biggest thing that I do for clients. Like it is probably the most mind blowing thing.

Cause that’s like 10 to 15 percent of someone’s monthly, if you average it out, it’s about 10 to 15 percent of someone’s monthly spent. On average, it’s, it can be quite substantial. It could be less. It could be way more. Um, and advisors don’t normally do that side of things. They look at the bills, they look there, you know, the grocery budget, their shopping budget, like that kind of stuff.

That’s a big piece of that. They don’t realize that is the reason why they feel like they’re constantly stressed or the paycheck to paycheck, their bonus goes away so fast that they add the debt on and they have to pay it back off, like going through that worksheet and most of the clients, when I give that to them, I give that to that, a worksheet to them as like a pre, uh, a pre worksheet.

Uh, intake form and almost no one fills it out. They don’t know how they don’t even know where to start. So it is always a conversation we have to work through. Like, well, what do you, what do you spend on your birthdays? You guys tend to go all out. You just do a little party. Like, what do you, what do you do?

And they tell me about their lives. They tell me what [00:18:00] they do with their friends. And, and I help them figure out about how much they’re spending. And they, of course, give me good estimates too. And, uh, honestly, I think that that’s probably the biggest game changer of helping people feel more confident about their financial situation, which might sound.

Really simple, but

Jordan Haines: Is it just, is it, so tell me about that sheet. Is it mainly just showing them? Like providing clarity around their cashflow. Is that mostly what this is?

Taylor Westergard: yeah, so it’s a, it’s a calendar. So it’s January through December and on the, so, and that’s the top, like the top of it is January through December. And then on the side, it’s just all of the sinking funds. And if you’ve heard of sinking funds, they’re just the things that, uh, you don’t spend their non monthly expenses.

And so this is a Christmas, birthdays,

Jordan Haines: type expenses.

Taylor Westergard: Travel, home improvement, um, irregular, your, uh, six month insurance policy, the property taxes, uh, all of these things that are just non monthly that they don’t put in your budget. Advisors are only good at figuring out property taxes and insurance. Obviously, they, they account for that stuff.

Um, but the things like, uh, I ask people, like, do, what do you do [00:19:00] seasonally? Like, if you’re in Utah, you’re buying ski passes. That’s, like, 2, 000 to 5, 000 depending on how big your family is, right? Like, um, plus all the ski gear and like, and then that’s normally happening around, I don’t know, whenever those come on sale.

I’m not a skier, unfortunately. I’m sorry. But, um, so that’s, that’s all it is. And we just, we just talk through lifestyle expenses. What happens in the summer months? Do you do a lot of back to school shopping for your kids? When is your kid’s tuition due? Like. All those things that are non monthly. Um, and that’s the things that are normally messing people up financially.

Jordan Haines: somewhat predictable expenses that come out through the year gives you an opportunity to, for them to have a lot more clarity beyond. Like, I think what’s interesting here is I sign up for. No, I mean, it’s no longer, let’s say Monarch money. Cause you use that. I signed up for Monarch money as a consumer.

I want to use it. I start budgeting and I think what’s my month to month budget. What’s like the subscriptions I pay for and like grocery expense and all these things. What I’m usually missing is the fact that I have to pay for all of our summer vacations. And I only do that once a year, and I have Christmas and I have things like that.

And [00:20:00] what you’re describing to me is oftentimes the value. One of the most valuable things I do for clients is literally just showing them. Just showing them, look at all these other things. Are you providing recommendations around that? Or are you finding that the value sometimes is, is just in saying, here’s your sinking fund or here’s your regular expenses. What do you think about that? Or is that where the value is? Or is it, is there a step further that you’re taking and saying, this is what I think you should do.

Taylor Westergard: So what’s actually interesting, and I haven’t even thought about this until you just said this. So, uh, I put it all together. They showed them the results. This is what your average monthly spend would be, which helps them conceptualize, because if you show someone like, Hey, you’re in surplus in March, but then you’re in a huge deficit in April, and then a surplus in

Jordan Haines: break it out and yeah. Okay.

Taylor Westergard: Right. And that’s normal. That’s normal to be in a deficit around Christmas. You save for Christmas, you’re in a huge deficit at Christmas. That’s totally fine. Um, but, uh, the interesting thing is that’s normally when we put the budget together, uh, and we’re figuring out and we’re, I’m showing them what the average looks like in their monthly budget that they normally Or, you know, maybe conceptualize already for [00:21:00] themselves.

I show them what that looks like. If they put the average in there, the thing that is negotiable to them is not the yearly expenses. We don’t even touch that. Normally SG is set and we put it aside and we’re like, this is how much you need to spend, save every month for your sinking funds. So save and then spend.

Um, it’s the day to day stuff that they’re willing to negotiate and push back on, they want to change their groceries. I want to change the shopping. They’re not normally willing to change those yearly expenses. Cause those are the normally things that are really important to them. Like Christmas, holidays, birthdays.

Um, and so we actually don’t really spend a lot of time on that, but the fact that we do it helps them then make the day to day decisions or the day to day changes to the lifestyle, their daily average lifestyle changes to make all that stuff that’s really important to them happen. It’s the reason why most people try budgeting apps and they end up trying like 15 apps because they put their monthly budget to get there.

It doesn’t work. This app sucks. I move on to the next one. They try again. And it’s really just because they’re missing that yearly expenses. That’s that shit that I put together. Sinking fund categories, um, because they’re the most important [00:22:00] things that you’re not normally willing to negotiate. You’re going to, you’re willing to go into debt for that.

Most people will choose, will never say we’re not going to spend on Christmas. Cause we don’t have enough funds. Like you’re willing to go into debt for those. You’re willing to pull it out of your investment

Jordan Haines: It’s important to you. Yeah. Hi. Okay. So the principle that I’m pulling out here, um, and I talk about this a lot, the aha moment, right? Right. Like this is probably one of them. And I want to talk to you about some others. The, uh, one of the big aha moments for your new clients is just an awareness, an understanding, um, an orientation around that part of their, their cashflow. And, um, I think this is really important to double click on because I would venture to guess that most advisors that do financial planning and most coaches that do coaching that initial value, that initial valuable experience, that aha moment is not necessarily recommendations. I would go as far to say that it’s probably financial orientation, orientation around something.

Right. And I like the [00:23:00] word orientation because it comes with it, some level of awareness, but also an understanding of how this fits in my life. Right? Because I, I’m sure you get this all the time. I get it all the time, and I’m not actively practicing right now, but people say, I just want to know how I’m doing.

I want to know where it’s all at. I want to know what my life looks like. Right? Finances are convoluted, and there’s so many people telling us so many different things. I can listen to Dave Ramsey, or Suze Orman, or Rick Edelman, and all these people. I can listen to them, and I’m going to get different answers to different things.

And so I’m sitting here confused. I don’t know what’s going on. And I think the really interesting, and I wish more advisors would think of is that first valuable experience does not have to be the advice and the recommendations you give. In fact, sometimes the advice and recommendations is probably pretty obvious just from being oriented.

To your situation. And I think like what you’re saying here is, okay, if I do this irregular expenses, sinking fund where we just show them, Hey, look, this is how much you need for your, your Christmas budget in December, rather than pull that out of debt now that I know about it, I think the natural reaction.

You tell me if I’m wrong here, if I’m a [00:24:00] client, probably the natural reaction is going to be, oh, well, I just need to make sure I save enough so that I’m fine for that when it comes. And that’s like, great. Like I didn’t have to recommend anything. I just showed them where it was and decided what it was. Um, you can disagree with me, but does that, uh, do you feel like you resonate with that as well?

Have you found that to be true in your own business?

Taylor Westergard: A hundred percent. And that’s something that I noticed, especially with the clients that already have financial advisors. So a lot, I think I have a good chunk of clients that already have financial advisors. They’ve had a financial plan created for them, but they don’t believe the plan because they’re like, well, that’s a very future oriented thing.

Like you’re telling me what’s going to happen in the future. You’re telling me I’m going to be good for retirement, but I don’t believe you because I’m so not sure about my cashflow right now. I don’t, I don’t truly trust those numbers. And so that’s what we work on. To figure that out.

Jordan Haines: Taylor

Taylor Westergard: The day to day is connecting to the long term thing that they’re being shown.

Jordan Haines: this is beautiful. I like, I think you’ve articulated, you put words to something I felt for a long time, and I don’t know why I have not put that together, but [00:25:00] why is it that advisors need to focus on the present moment and stop focusing at least for this younger clientele and frankly, for our older clients too, you know, Because the clients don’t believe the plan, right?

Like it’s just, it’s vague. It’s in the clouds. It’s in the future. And yeah, we could do a Monte Carlo. We can do predictive success. We can model this out and say, if you continue to, this is what it’s going to look like. But if I’m sitting here feeling uncomfortable about my life, because something that I don’t know what’s happening is happening.

I, you know, I don’t know what to do. 

Taylor Westergard: No, I love that. I think that’s a perfect example of making sure that people are in a position where they understand what is Like what that plan actually means and the only way they can do that is if they know what they’re doing today is actually affecting that plan. And how is it affecting that plan?

How do we make that path? Like how do we connect that?

Jordan Haines: Yeah.

Taylor Westergard: And I think it’s something that’s in a financial plan.

Jordan Haines: yeah, you’re not focusing. Like, I think what you’re doing is preparing people for the future, but not necessarily projecting into the [00:26:00] future. And I think that that that’s an important principle here. Like you are saying, what are we going to do today? To help us feel more prepared for the future so that we can optimize.

I’m curious, Taylor. So you have the sinking fund spreadsheet that you do with people. Pretty simple, plan out your regular expenses. It helps you just orient yourself to this part of your castle. Are there other things that you do to kind of get clients oriented to their financial life?

Taylor Westergard: So once we Put that sinking fund together. Of course, we’re talking about any of the long term goals with, you know, I asked them, do you want an emergency fund? There’s always a question. Uh, and if they say yes, like what would make you feel safe? I don’t pull out the three to six months as a rule. You should probably do three.

Like, I’m like, what, what’s the number in your head. And if it’s too high, I’ll like educate them. Well, I don’t think you need that much, but you know, like, I don’t think we need quite that much, but you know, um, You know, I asked them, what, what does that look like for you? And then, you know, we look at the debt.

What is, what, what’s the timeframe you would hope you would pay that off? And so what we do is like, we kind of put everything on the table of everything they’d like to be happening. And of [00:27:00] course it’s realistic. I’m not like, I want a hundred thousand dollars in a year. Like, right. It’s not, it’s all realistic, uh, projections, but we put that all on the table and there’s always a deficit.

Right. Because we’re taking their, I’m taking their average monthly spend. I’m getting that from Monarch. I’m looking at their average, everything for just the normal monthly spend. Um, talking about their goals, their sinking funds, and then their debt payoff plan. We put it all on the table and I show them what the deficit is.

And then we talk there’s either, there’s two ways to make the budget work, right? There’s the increase income or decrease expenses. Which way are we going to go? And they, and they are the ones to start figuring that out. They’re like, well, you know that goal. I’m okay putting that off until we pay off today.

Okay, fine. We’ll take off that goal. Oh, you know, like I definitely see that we’re spending too much on groceries. Monarch definitely helps with that though too, because so many people show them their hours and they don’t believe me. Like, no. No, I don’t send that. And so I can pull them up and say, here, here’s all the gross charges.

Are these all correct? Are we pulling the right data? And they’re like, oh yeah, those are correct. And it’s like, okay, so this is your average spend. And they’re like, yeah, I guess so. And so it’s helpful for them to [00:28:00] like really make sure that I’m not, you know, just pulling out random numbers here. Um, and then we just, we just keep having that conversation until we find that balance.

And sometimes it doesn’t end in a perfect solution. Sometimes there’s still a deficit at the end of the meeting. And sometimes where we made it work, we have that zero and we know exactly what we need to do to make all those changes. So that we can achieve the goals that they’ve expressed that they want to make happen.

Jordan Haines: Yeah, I love this. Like this theme is coming up to me. Like you even brought it up there. Like sometimes they don’t like, they don’t believe you. They’re like, if you just showed them the number there, so you have to go and show them the data, right? Like there’s some aspect of this, of education orientation.

Hey, look, this is your situation. I’m not lying to you. I’m not just saying this so that you feel better or so that you feel worse. This is where you’re at. You’re the hero of your journey. I want to help be a guide. And my initial role here is to. Primarily just show you I’m getting the sense that that’s a lot of what you’re doing is just orienting people to this part of their finances.

And for the type of people that you’re working with is savings rate, cashflow, budgeting, debt, payments, uh, repayment strategies, [00:29:00] things like that to get them ready for that. Optimism optimizing in the future. And I, I absolutely love that. So that that’s the thing that I would take away from this. Um, as we finish up Taylor, I know you do a lot of work with financial advisors.

What do you want the advisors listening to this call to know about and how can people get in touch with you?

Taylor Westergard: Well, I think that what I would like advisors to know is that I work very in conjunction with your clients. I work before them and I work after them. Like there’s the financial coach can kind of fit anywhere in our financial advisors model. And it’s not any, we’re not competing in any way. Again, I don’t do investments, insurance taxes.

Like I am doing almost nothing. The advisor is doing, uh, so my clients are, of course, the people who are, uh, Not quite ready for the financial advisor, but there’s also clients who have too much cash flow and they’re not willing to like those clients that are, you know, there’s, uh, they have a whole bunch of cash chill in there and they don’t want to do anything.

Cause maybe their income is fluctuating, uh, and they are so stressed and they saw they have a massive emergency fund. You’re like, we really want to invest this. And they’re like, no, I must have [00:30:00] this. Um, and if you’re doing that back and forth and you really think it’d be better for them, that’s where the coach comes in to make them feel more secure about their fluctuating income, just to see what their actual true expenses are.

Um, but it’s also people who. I think a big one that I wish advisors would be watching out for a little bit more diligently is a lot of my clients have a great savings rate, but they take it out at the end of the year. They, so they’re, they have a great one. They’re putting, you know, 800, a thousand, several thousand dollars into an investment account, but they keep making big withdrawals at the year.

And I think it’s really hard for advisors to say, Oh, it was one time this year. They didn’t quite meet their, like, here’s a savings goal. Maybe it was a one time thing. We’ll try again next year. And then it goes on again. They keep putting that monthly savings rate, and then they have to take it all again because they’re not planning for those yearly expenses.

Um, and so it can take a while for the advisor to recognize that they do have a cashflow problem. And so I hope that they’d look out for that and maybe, and enlist the help of a coach to help them so the client can consistently save without having to make those big withdrawals.

Jordan Haines: Yeah, I’ve, I found it helpful just on that point. Um, [00:31:00] that, uh, the framing and the education was really important there with the clients that I’ve worked with. I always call that delayed spending, right? Like you’re going to save and then you’re going to pull it out. And then we get them that, that vicious habit of the client says, Hey, I’ve got the savings rate of 20%. Turn to find out that, uh, it’s actually more like 5 percent because 15 percent of it’s going towards a cash count that they’re going to use for a big vacation next year. And then they’re going to do it all over again. Um, so I think that education is really valuable. I love this. So, um, how do advisors get in touch with you on, on your website?

Taylor Westergard: Yeah. On the website, I have my email on the website. Uh, happy to do a one on one chat to make sure that, you know, what I do and what you do with your clients aligns that our philosophies align that, uh, I’m not going to say anything crazy to your clients. I go totally happy to get to know them. Uh, and then I also do free consultations for any new clients.

So if they do send a client over, it is a free consult, 30 minute chat. We talk to make sure it’s a good fit and they understand what I do versus what you do. Um, I really do also make sure that they stay with you. If you have clients that have a lot of money in there, but they like [00:32:00] So many clients start working with me and they start asking me questions that like, your advisor is actually the one to answer these.

Like you should talk to them. I make sure they understand the full services that the advisor is giving them and provides them, but they may not have known that because they haven’t had those conversations that we have when we talk about cashflow, it starts to open up. Well, what should I do with a 401k?

I’m like, great question. That’s where your advisor is going to come in. So I make sure that they really are utilizing the financial advisor services. Uh, once we can square away the stress of the day to day cashflow.

Jordan Haines: I love that. Well, everyone go look up Taylor. She’s doing some amazing work. And I mean, if nothing else, the principles that you guys pull from, from listening to this is going to be all around. How do you get people started and how do you provide value? And, and I, I would just encourage everyone here that’s listening to this, to think about the value you provide your clients or your prospects. And maybe reorient yourself to what that value might be. Right. We often just think that the value is in the recommendations. It’s in the prescription. It’s in the plan. I don’t think that’s the case. I actually think a lot of the value is in just orienting [00:33:00] people to their finances from an investment standpoint, tax standpoint, and Taylor talked a lot about from a cashflow standpoint.

I think that’s, that’s my key takeaway from here. So Taylor, thanks for coming on. Thanks for being willing to talk. I’m sure we’ll have you on in the future to talk about some other really fun things. Um, and, uh, otherwise everyone will hear you next week. 

Show Notes

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