Your coach is the person who helps you do what you need to do, so you can be who you want to be.
-Tom Landry

blake fitzgerald

Founder | Financial Adviser |  Family Finance Coach

Hi, I'm Blake, the Founder of Coached Financial Planning. I've been working in the Financial Planning industry since 2010 and before I started my business I worked at a number of boutique firms in Brisbane as well as two of the largest banks in Australia, ANZ and Westpac Bank.

 

Client Connections

After working with over 1,000 clients, young and old, I decided to specialise in working with young families because I felt they were not being focused on enough by the Financial Planning industry in Australia. I think a big reason young families are overlooked is because the average age of a Financial Adviser in Australia is 57. This puts most Financial Planners in the baby boomer demographic which is the same demographic most Financial Planners choose to focus on.

 

As a young adviser, I feel much more aligned working with young clients (45 and under). I feel I can better help young clients because I am at similar stage of life as them. I understand their challenges and fears and I share very similar goals and aspirations. The advice I give my clients is the same advice I follow myself. We are on a similar path together and for that reason I feel so much more connected to my clients. 

Learning From Others Mistakes

The other big reason why I chose to specialise in working with younger clients is because I see many of the money mistakes made by the older generations in the past being repeated by the younger generation now.  Back when I worked with the older generations, many clients would say "I wish I did this 20 or 30 years ago. I would've been so much better off by now."  Hearing older people say that so often made me realise that a big reason why they had the financial problems they did was because they had putt off their Financial Planning for too long. Meaning the biggest cause of their problems was procrastination.

 

To me, this presented a unique opportunity for myself and my younger generation because we have time on our side if we get started with our Financial Planning young. And that means the sooner young people start maximising their money, the sooner they can achieve greater levels of financial freedom. Once I made this realisation, I decided to focus my attention on helping young families to do just that, so they could have more freedom with their money and more freedom with their time while they were young enough to enjoy it.

A Unique Opportunity For The New Generations

I believe money should be maximised for the things that matter most in life and helping my clients to do that is what matters most to me. But to take that even further, my big audacious goal is to help my younger generation do better with their money than all the generations before them. I want to help young families improve the way they manage and maximise their money so they can work less and live more. By doing that, my hope is this change in behaviour will trickle down into the following generations so that our kids and grandkids can grow up understanding the importance of making their money work for them rather than always just working for money. That way they can grow up with less stress and more happiness. 

But I didn't always think this way. It took me a while to realise the importance of maximising money for more meaningful reasons. If you're interested in hearing the story behind how I reached this point in my life and with my business, feel free to check out my personal and business stories below...

My Business Story

 

Following my new-found insights about creating more meaningfulness with money, I started to help my clients do just that. I would make sure their financial plans connected both the personal side and financial side of their lives and the results of doing this were amazing. People started to care a lot more about their money because they could see how it directly related to their lives and how it would help them achieve what was really important to them.  My client's now had so much more purpose behind their planning and this made it much more possible for them to make real progress.

Why I Started My Business

I found this new perspective on Financial Planning all very exciting. I felt I had found a method which was the best way to help people improve their Financial Planning and I wanted to share it with all of my colleagues. I took my ideas to my managers within the bank I was working at during that time. As an excited young adviser, I naively thought that if they could see what I saw they too would want to change our Financial Planning process for the better. However, this new way of helping clients was not met with open arms like I had expected. Instead I was told to shut up and do it the old way. The way it had always been done. I was told that what I was doing was not profitable because it took too long to deliver and was not directly linked to the banks products. Unfortunately, the bank was too focused on profit and not focused enough on helping their customers to improve their Financial Planning.

 

This put me in a very awkward position, because as a Financial Adviser and after learning what I had learned, I felt it was my job to help my clients improve their Financial Planning in the best way I knew possible. But to keep my job and to keep earning an income to support my family, I would have to do what my employer wanted, which I felt was wrong.  And as much as I was scared to leave my secure salary, I could not stay working for a company where they prioritised their profits over the people they were responsible for helping. I could not go back to the old way. I had to create a new way. A better way.

And that is how I ended with my business today, Coached Financial Planning. In order for me to be able to offer and deliver the service I knew would best help my client's to improve their Financial Planning, I had to create the offering myself.  I had to leave my job and start a business which could offer people a more meaningful way to maximise their money. So, using the fundamental principles of coaching which I learned during my time as a Personal Trainer along with the insights I gained about money and meaningfulness, I developed a methodology and process that I now use to help all of my clients improve their money management skills. I call it the Moneyfulness Method.

To me, most Financial Planners and most Financial Planning businesses still don’t focus enough on the personal side of their client's lives. They focus too much on facts and figures and not enough on goals and values. At Coached, we believe client's progress is all that matters. And the best way we know how to help our clients make progress is to help them have more meaningfulness with their money.

My Personal Story

I grew up in a poor family. A lack of money led to a lot of unhappiness in my household. I remember my parents always fighting about money. I remember never being able to afford the things that other kids had. I also remember always feeling embarrassed about how poor we were. I used to wish we would win the lotto so my family could be happy and I could feel prouder of myself and my family. 

The Start Of My Money Mission
As a teenager, those negative emotions got worse and it led me to believing that I all I needed was lots of money to be happy. I felt that if I had lots of money, then I could provide a great life for myself and my future family. I never wanted my future children or future wife to go through what I went through growing up. So as soon as I left school I became a man on a mission to make lots of money. By age 18, I started my first business in Personal Training (PT). I thought that would be a good way to earn money by doing something that I loved. And as much as making money was a big goal for me, I also remember choosing PT because I wanted to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I wanted to help people to get healthier and happier.

 

I ended up running my PT business for few years, but I eventually reached a point where I felt being a PT would not allow me to provide for my family in the future the way I wanted to. I felt I needed to move into an industry which could offer me more opportunities to be a good provider. And so I moved from the health industry into the wealth industry. 

Why I Decided to Become a Financial Planner
But just like my decision for becoming a Personal Trainer was linked to earning good money and being able to help people improve their lives, I ended up choosing to be a Financial Planner for very similar reasons. I considered careers in Accounting, Investment Banking and Corporate Finance but to me those professions all felt too human-less and too removed from the real world. To me, Financial Planning looked like the best career path because I could achieve all my goals by helping other people to do the same thing.  I could improve my financial position by helping other people to improve their financial position. And that felt like a win-win situation to me.

 

The other reason why I was so attracted to Financial Planning was because it felt very similar to Personal Training. It was all about coaching people to improve their wealth rather than their health. And coaching people was something I knew I was good at and it was something I had been doing with my PT clients for a many years with lots of success. So, with all that in mind, I studied and transitioned into the Financial Planning industry over the next few years.

When I Realised Financial Planning Was About More Than Money
However, after I'd been working in the Financial Planning industry for a few years I felt something was missing. Both for myself and the people around me. Myself, my colleagues and my clients were all earning high incomes and yet there was very little happiness in our lives. I witnessed several people in my workplace make over $500,000 per year and become unhappier for doing so. I saw people’s relationships being compromised at the expense of chasing more money and working all the time. These people included my own brother as well as my closest colleagues and clients. What I started to realise was that the constant pursuit of money was causing myself and others to ignore other important aspects in our lives, which are all very important for happiness. Everywhere I looked people were ‘living to work NOT working to live’.  Everyone was too focused on money and it was detrimental to their happiness. This was a massive shock to me as I had always believed more money meant more happiness. But after spending all that time trying to get to that position and seeing the toll it was taking on myself and the people in my life, I realised I was wrong. More money on it's own does not lead to happiness. Yes, money is important, but only to a point. Once you reach that point, it can lead to lots of unhappiness if you’re not too careful.

 

Once I had that realisation, things started to change. I started going down a new path. I wanted to better understand happiness and what it takes to live a happy life. I spent years reading books on happiness, psychology and behavioural economics. And what I found was that putting effort into your health, relationships and other interests are all just as important as money when it comes to having higher levels of happiness. I also found lots of research which showed the benefits of appreciating your life now rather than always chasing more for the future, which was a big lesson for me to to learn as someone who creates plans for for a living. But one of the biggest pieces of research I found during my research was a report done by people much smarter than me who showed the direct link between money and happiness. In that report, these psychologists and economists showed that happiness spiked up from an increase in money up until it reached a certain point and then it sharply declined thereafter. To me, that seemed to reflect exactly what I had been witnessing during all my years as a Financial Adviser. Quite often, the happiest people I met were not the richest people and the richest people I met were not the happiest. 


Once I learned about all this, I realised that what I had previously been doing with my own Financial Planning and that of my clients was missing some key human elements. It was too focused on the financial aspects of people's lives and not focused enough on the personal aspects.  It lacked humanness. It was missing meaningfulness. But this insight extended beyond Financial Planning. Even when I looked back at my Personal Training days, I could see a similar pattern. Whenever, there was a disconnect of this personal meaningfulness in client’s goals or training plans, they usually did not achieve the success they desired. But, when clients did have this personal connection with their plans, their commitment levels were so much higher and so too were their success rates.


And there it was. The missing link. I had found a real game changer when it came to coaching people for improvement. I had learned that in order to improve people's ability to maximise their wealth or their health, I first needed to help them create more meaningfulness with their planning. And for my Financial Planning clients, this meant creating more meaningfulness with their money.

"Like we said up front, we didn’t just want a product. We needed somebody who was going to work for us and with us and I think you do that really well."
- Maria
Do You Want To Become a Financially Free Family?
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Blake Fitzgerald of Coached Financial Planning (ABN 28 452 214 548) is an Authorised Representative (1236826)

of Financial Force (AFSL 238 337)

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