In a Nutshell: When people want to get healthy, they often start training at a gym to become more physically fit. The Financial Gym offers the same benefits for consumers, modeling its approach to money management after physical workout routines. Clients can work one-on-one with trainers to understand their current financial situation and get motivated to take the necessary steps to improve it. Although in-person access to Financial Gym offices and trainers is limited now, clients can still connect with it online and start working toward a stronger, healthier financial future.
Gyms provide people with the tools they need to pursue their physical fitness goals. And working out in a social space with other people pursuing similar ends can incentivize them to stick with it, work hard, and achieve what they set out to accomplish. The benefits can be even more profound when someone works with a personal trainer to customize a plan.
The Financial Gym takes a similar approach to financial fitness. Its trainers help members manage their money, eliminate debt, pursue financial and life goals, and set themselves up for success and independence. But most importantly, it helps them stay motivated to accomplish all of those vital tasks.
“The truth is, personal finance and health are pretty simple,” said Joy Liu, Trainer at The Financial Gym. “You want to spend less than you make, but it can be difficult in practice. The paid part of our service is having human accountability to do it because many people know what they should be doing, but it’s difficult to follow through with their goals themselves.”
Financial Gym’s financial trainers primarily operate remotely today — as do many physical trainers — due to the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols. But unlike physical workouts, remote financial training doesn’t require an investment in equipment, making it much more accessible and effective online.
Financial Gym presents an opportunity for people to reinvest in their financial futures and get back on track to a better, sustainable situation.
Offering Resources and Incentives for Improvement
Financial Gym costs $99 a month for individuals and $150 for married couples, business owners, and higher-net-worth individuals.
That fee includes quarterly reviews, email access, virtual meetings, and regular check-ins with their trainer. Sessions cover the basics, including budgeting, managing credit, and career planning and salary negotiations, which can enable users to increase their earnings.
According to Financial Gym’s philosophy, the cost of membership encourages people to work to get as much value as possible for their fee. And the service structure and pricing are modeled after the more familiar, approachable concept of a gym membership.
“We work hard to price our membership to a point where it’s something that people are familiar with already,” Liu said. “Most people are used to paying for a gym membership or something similar. I think giving it some familiarity has helped.”
This gym’s financial trainers function just like a personal trainer in a fitness setting. They guide members based on their current fitness level and their short- and long-term goals. And in addition to information and guidance, their oversight helps people establish a sense of accountability and obligation to improve.
“People do recognize the value of having a human being to work with and how that might cost a little bit more,” Liu said. “But a lot of them have tried other things already. There are so many free resources out there, and some people can do it themselves and be fine. The ones who are reaching out to us are ready to have some more customized support for it.”
Financial Trainers Help Clients Plan and Achieve Life Goals
The Financial Gym works with many clients who are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. They need guidance and motivation to get on track, start consistently managing their finances, and break the cycle of debt.
“They may have credit card debt, they most likely have student loan debt, but it’s not at an unmanageable amount,” Liu said. “It’s just learning how to make smarter decisions with managing that and teaching them how to save.”
Trainers help clients focus on the basics, including building an emergency savings fund, managing cash flow, and taking advantage of their employers’ retirement plans.
“Once we do that, then we graduate to helping them figure out how to financially prepare for those life events that happen,” Liu said.
Significant life events may include getting married, starting a family, and buying a house. All are expensive propositions, especially the last one — more so than many people realize.
“Buying the house feels like the finish line, but it’s not,” Liu said. “Because once you get into the house, there’s all the things you want to do to it, all the things you want to buy and furnish it and make it home. Then it’s a matter of prioritizing how much money you will keep saving and investing for your future, and building your wealth. Now, your expenses are naturally going to be higher because you want to save for home improvements.”
Anyone Can Benefit from Individualized Training
Not everyone is in the position to buy a home, but many are trying to get there. The Financial Gym can help those who are struggling with extensive debt from credit cards or student loans.
They can benefit from first organizing their finances and understanding their options for regaining independence. However, Financial Gym won’t be doing the work for them, just providing the guidance, information, and some of the motivation they need to do it themselves.
“We’re not going to be calling or negotiating or settling things for them, or taking things off their credit report, but teaching them how it works,” Liu said. “We’re teaching them how credit works and how to settle these things.”
And those services aren’t only necessary for low- and mid-income clients. Higher-income and more financially stable individuals can also benefit from trainer insight. Once clients have achieved financial stability and started building wealth, The Financial Gym still provides more valuable services.
“Fit people also have to continue to work out,” Liu said. “I think what’s great about our model is that it is customizable to anybody. We meet people where they are. And what we’ve found is that everyone has some level of financial anxiety or doubt. It’s all the same emotions. It’s just different zeroes we’re talking about. We have clients that have negative dollars in their bank account and clients who have millions of dollars.”
Financial Gym: Service Safeguards Client Health and Wealth
Financial Gym began with a vision to provide physical spaces where clients could come to meet with their trainers. That one-on-one interaction can help establish a personal connection that makes discussing money matters more comfortable.
“There is something important about being able to sit with someone and that human connection,” Liu said.
At the moment, Financial Gym’s on-site access is restricted due to COVID-19 and health protocols. Trainers are primarily operating remotely, but the gym isn’t entirely closed down.
“We’re operating like fitness gyms are,” Liu said. “Clients can still use the spaces, they just have to book a time, and we’re watching capacity.”
While its free online resources are valuable tools for financial planning, they’re not substitutes for the personalized guidance and accountability that a trainer can provide. With the help of The Financial Gym, consumers can begin their journey toward a healthier, fitter financial future free from worry and debt.