Join us for a journey with one of our Human Performance Coaches, Karl, as he describes he journey to debt-free living and how his experience has influenced his development as a coach and mentor.
Q: Tell us your story around why financial well-being is a passion of yours?
A: I came from very humble beginnings. My parents never really taught me about financial literacy. They never really modeled ‘what is money, the role it plays in this world and how you handle it’. So, I went to college, I got my first credit card, yeah, pretty classic, sounds like a pretty normal story these days huh? But I think they gave you a free speaker if you signed up for a credit card at the time…
I actually ended up graduating college with $5,500 in student loans, but then in 2012 I started to have a downward trajectory – living on my own, not really knowing what a budget was and just getting into consumerism. Getting what I wanted when I wanted it. Over the next 4 years, I actually accumulated an additional $35,000 in debt, $21,000 of that was a new car because I literally bought a brand-new car and had no money saved for a down payment. On top of that, medical bills, a couple surgeries throughout that time, and maxed out credit cards added on. And it just took getting to a low point in my life like getting my credit card denied because I had maxed it out while trying to buy groceries. It was at that moment in time I realized something needs to change here; I’m making the most money I’ve ever made in my life and have nothing to show for it. From there, I found a book called “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey, and that was what I needed was a plan, seven baby steps, laid out in a very straight forward way. In that book, there are a lot of success stories of people getting into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and they were actually able to become debt-free with these seven baby steps. It injected some hope for me, I put the plan in place and went to work. I was actually able to pay off a total of $41,500 in 4-5 years.
Q: So, what shifted and how were you able to free yourself of debt beyond the book?
A: I changed my way of spending and cutting things that weren’t necessities. I stopped getting coffee out, eating out and started sticking to a very strict budget. My living expenses were a huge portion of it – I went from renting a studio apartment, where half my monthly income was going to just paying rent and living, to moving in with a roommate and bringing the number down. So, just changing my standard of living made a huge impact right-off-the-bat.
Q: And how do you take that story and your passion and bring it to ADURO?
A: It was really cool because that was a very big personal goal of mine. It’s a blessing and a curse to be a verbal processor! I was talking about this at work and a lot of people knew that I was very interested in personal finance because that was my goal, and it just happened to meet the needs of ADURO at the time. We were looking for someone to spearhead our Money and Prosperity series and Toni Best, our Chief Human Performance Officer, actually paid for me and another coach to go to Tennessee to Ramsey Solutions and go through his master financial coach training! So, I completed the three-month mentorship that followed and was just ingesting all the information. With that, I was able to come up with our own in-house financial training, but kind of Aduro-fied it in a way. We use more of a scale and invite the participant in on the process, we get their thinking and meet them in the middle. There are multiple ways to reach a certain destination.
Check out Karl’s Intro to Savings 101 – a popular financial well-being program Aduro offers to participants.
Q: What’s the biggest fluctuations and challenges you face trying to help participants?
A: I think setting the expectation of what coaching is and the role it plays in personal finance. A lot of people will have goals like maximizing investments, so just letting them know that I’m not a certified financial advisor – I can’t give you specific investment advice. With coaching, the power is in the base and the questioning. It’s more of an experiential and collaborative relationship where we can raise awareness around not just what they want, but also the habits and behaviors, the things that actually will direct the course of your life if you don’t address them. They’ll either deter you from your goals or help you achieve them.
Q: Can you talk about the different paths you’ve helped develop for ADURO’s coaching program?
A: Our Money & Prosperity series Paths, which was largely based on Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, was Budget Basics and then I helped co-create Savings 101 and Dream Big.
Q: Which would you recommend people start with?
A: Budget Basics! I think that’s foundational; it all starts with your budget. Knowing how much money you have coming in, how much you have going out and where it’s going to, will give you the data you need to make changes that will help you make progress toward your goals. The way our brains work we make connections, right? We think oh that person is living this luxurious lifestyle and I want to be like that in life, a lot of it is centered around saving, investing or debt reduction and a good place to start is with your budget.
Q: Can you talk about a financial success you’ve had with a participant and how that journey was impactful?
A: One client comes up in particular and it was someone I was coaching a while ago. Money was a bigger stressor in their marriage and their partner was a financial advisor so there were a lot of insecurities coming up and it was a big pain point in their marriage. The ability to meet them where they were at and dig into their concerns, fears, habits and behaviors and exploring the opportunity to invite their partner into the conversation really actually helped the marriage flourish. Sometimes we tend to be so caught up in living our own experience and thinking that’s the same experience or needs of someone else. They really helped each other reach their financial goals and it impacted their marriage at the end of the day.
Q: What advice do you have for someone struggling to get out of debt?
A: To leave your credit card at home. I think accessibility is a huge contributing factor to habit, and if you don’t have that option, you end up finding a different way and just not spending.
Q: What your ultimate goal out of coaching, what does success look like with all this financial work you’ve been doing?
A: To inject some hope that their current situation or circumstance doesn’t have to be indicative of what their future could look like.
Q: Any book or resource recommendations?
Dave Ramsey – ‘Total Money Makeover’ for initial budgeting and debt reduction.
Q: What sets Aduro’s coaching style apart?
A: The Human Connection. We don’t take a one size fits all approach. If you have goals, we are here to meet you where you are at and develop a personalized plan. You don’t need to have everything figured out, you just need to be curious and open to the opportunity to grow. The result could be taking your life to an even higher level. We have found financial advice that’s proven to help get millions out of debt. We want to help you get clear on what’s important to you.