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HOW I FOUND THE FINANCIAL GYM
In the summer of 2019, HelloWellness and Chinae Alexander teamed up to host three events in New York City. I have followed Chinae on Instagram for a while (@chinaealexander) and love her work. The events seemed cool, but I was anxious to go alone. With Chanie’s encouragement, I bought a pass for all three. She speaks to her community about having the courage to attend events alone and it felt like she was talking to me personally.
The second panel that summer changed everything for me. The theme: Financial Wellness. As someone who has debt and was constantly scraping by, I was so ready for this event.
Chinae and Shannon McLay, the founder and CEO of The Financial Gym, had a discussion about money in a frank language. Listening to successful women talk openly about finance was inspiring. They both shared personal stories with beautiful honesty. Shannon mentioned she hosts a podcast called Martinis and Your Money. I looked it up on my walk to the train and started listening that night.
Martinis and Your Money
Martinis and Your Money covers an array of topics. The guests are diverse, and each episode gives you ‘nuggets of wisdom’ to take on your journey. Hearing people’s money stories inspires me. If you scroll the archive, there will be an episode that interests you. Check out the Spotify playlist of my favorite episodes.
Within months of listening, my finances began to shift. If this was possible from the podcast alone, I needed to know more about The Financial Gym experience. In December of 2019, I scheduled a warm up call after months of internal debate. I felt too broke to pay a financial professional.
The first meeting you have with your trainer is called the "financially naked" session. This is where you lay EVERYTHING out for them: assets, liabilities, credit score, etc.. I knew I needed help and couldn’t wait to meet with Sara. It is okay if you are nervous, they will hold space for you and provide wine or coffee.
The naked session went smoothly. Sara asked me for numbers as I read them from my documents. This was the first time I ever looked at my financial picture as a whole. Sara didn’t shame me. She didn’t make a face when I told her about the consumer debt I carry month to month..or the $26,000 in student loan debt. She didn’t laugh when I told her about my many jobs and crazy dreams. A few weeks later we would meet again and discuss the plan!
I love my plan. It is SO MUCH MORE than a pack of papers. When Sara unveiled it, she gave me permission to pursue my craziest dreams. Plus a step by step breakdown of how to achieve them financially. I went home and cried. I finally felt true control of my money for the first time.
The plan breaks down my goals into actionable steps. Sara even put a line item in the budget for Pepper, my cat by name. This kind of personalization, finesse, and care is unmatched. I work in Brooklyn as a freelance artist and my finances can be confusing sometimes. Sara is with me every step of the way with check-ins every other week. Once a quarter, we have an in depth meeting and adjustments are made as needed. Being able to email her when I have an urgent question calms my anxieties.
The day I went in for my plan meeting, Shannon offered me a cup of coffee as she said hello. I will remember this moment forever because it was so meaningful... I'm such a fan of the podcast, meeting her was like meeting a celebrity. I handed Shannon a ceramic mug from my purse because I never miss an opportunity to photograph my work in new places. It is a moment I’ll always remember and cherish.
The Financial Gym hires and supports clients. From murals, digital art, blog posts, and the warm up call team. Everyone at the gym is family and the team is incredibly kind. This warm, welcoming environment is important because money can be intimidating and these details are key to the overall experience.
The Financial Gym works with clients all over the United States! If you're in a physical gym, it is also a co-working space and education center. If there isn’t a gym in your city, you are still part of an amazing community all working towards financial health and have access to all of the virtual workshops. There is true power in accountability when trying to reach your goals. The training alone is worth it, but the perks are excellent too.
If you feel fine, anxious, or even ashamed when it comes to your financial situation, The Financial Gym can help you. They have seen it all and will meet you as you are.. Schedule a FREE warm up call. It will be the best call you make.
The Financial Gym changed everything for me and truly think every person can benefit from this service.