Paper & Coin writer Liz got a chance to talk to a Canadian financial coach who has an inspiring backstory and great advice for women and couples looking to gain control of their finances. Get to know Mandyy T.
What led you to quit your full-time job to help women and couples take control of their money?
I grew up in a family where finances were scarce. From a very young age I knew that my parents weren’t truly meant to be together. We all knew that my mom was sticking out [her marriage], because she didn’t feel like she had a choice, [or] the financial means to leave a situation that wasn’t healthy for her. I chose to learn everything I could about managing [my] finances, because I knew, I needed to be the one in charge.
I began my first business at age 11 and I’ve been financially self-sufficient since then. I was making six figures in my early twenties and I was managing my money really well. I didn’t have any debt but the anxiety I experienced around money was very real. I was always so scared of losing it or ending back up in the situation that I grew up in. My anxiety [became] worse and worse [and eventually developed into] binge eating and digestive problems.
I finally opened up to a coach I was working with about what was really going on inside and that is when my life started to change. I really worked on my money mindset and how I felt about money and I was able to overcome my anxiety and binge eating, regain my memory and get my health back.
This is why I am so incredibly passionate about helping individuals and couples with their finances. It goes so much deeper than just the numbers. It’s all about how you feel on the inside when you feel like you have options, opportunities and choice. I knew this was my calling so I left my career in engineering, began Mandyy Thomas Coaching and have been coaching women and couples with their personal finances since.
What are the biggest personal finance mistakes people in relationships make?
I think one of the biggest mistakes [couples make], is not having conversations about money. So often I see couples avoid talking about money. There is no transparency in [relation to] their finances and they are not setting goals together as a couple. It is important to know that there are going to be uncomfortable moments when talking about your finances and while getting on the same page, but it is far less uncomfortable than when your relationship starts to fall apart because of the stress of avoiding [important topics].
How would you advise women to take control of their finances?
First, start with changing the story you’ve been telling yourself. One of the most common phrases that I hear women I am coaching say is, “I’ve just never been very good at money.” When you affirm this over and over again you convince yourself of this. You need to first change the story before your financial situation will ever change. It’s not the other way around. Be okay with being a beginner. Keep showing up, keep being consistent and pretty soon, [you’ll see] drastic improvements and feel more confident.
What’s your advice for people dealing with substantial debt?
First things first, even before starting a budget, you need to know where the money you already have, has been going. You need to build the awareness of the habits and choices that you’ve been making. The next step is to come up with a realistic budget, that works for your lifestyle [but also allows you] to put more money towards paying off debt. I also suggest [sitting] down and [getting] clear on what you want in your life. Define your top 3 values, so you can make sure your actions are aligning with those values.
I also highly recommend working with a financial coach, to help you learn how to be successful with budgeting, how to pay off your debt years sooner and how to feel confident in how you’re managing your everyday money. Even if you feel like you “can’t afford” a financial coach, it will be one of the best investments you’ve ever made.
What does a typical day-in-the-life of your business look like?
My days vary quite a bit, but involve coaching my clients via Zoom, creating content and getting my message out about the connection between your mental health and your financial situation. My favourite days are the ones where I spend the majority of my time coaching my clients and watching them experience breakthroughs.
What hurdles have you had to face starting and building your business?
I think learning how to market myself effectively. Financial coaching is still a new concept, so I am constantly educating about what I do as a financial coach and how I am different than a financial advisor. I tell people that I am like a personal trainer, but for your money.
I know some people [think it’s] odd to charge people to help them with their finances, but, people don’t value things when they are free and they don’t act upon them. They need to have some skin in the game in order to show up and do the work. I know that money is just an exchange of energy and that my clients have gotten the results that they have, because they made the commitment to change their finances.