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article imageOp-Ed: Just what does a Personal Financial Trainer do and who needs one? Special

By Elizabeth Parker     Jan 8, 2013 in Business
Toronto - Just what is a Personal Financial Trainer, who would use or need the services of a Personal Financial Trainer and why is it needed and different from the many financial services available to the masses in 2012?
The term Personal Financial Trainer conjured up all sorts of images and ideas when I first heard and saw it advertised. As someone who spent many years working in the finance industry I was somewhat suspect and my thoughts led me all over. A new buzz word for an advisor or counselor maybe, someone offering courses on investments to everyday people, a way to make one's own nifty title? I really didn't know so I agreed to interview one and find out just what it really is.
Here enters the professional Avraham Byers, Personal Financial Trainer and founder of Breakthrough Financial Trainers. According to Avraham Byers, a Personal Financial Trainer is much like a Personal Fitness Trainer who designs a customized exercise program to help you achieve a fitness goal. Avraham will meet with you and work with you to design a customized set of exercises to help you succeed and meet your financial desires, working with you over time to keep you on your plan.
In the first meeting you and Avraham will look for weak areas in your financial abilities to target for improvements such as spending too much on meals out, theater tickets, or sports, these are areas that sabotage your efforts to save for your desired goal which can be retirement, paying off the house, saving a down payment, having cash to pay for a car, or just being financially more comfortable so you don't have worry about where the funds will come from when the car needs new tires. Your Personal Financial Trainer will be by your side for a year, helping design a budget you can live with, keep your life style, teach you how to stay on track to meet your desired financial goals, help you not derail so at the end of the year you are not only on track to meet your financial goals but you have changed your ingrained behaviors. You can confidently continue on your own to reach your set goals now and in the future with real permanent behavior changes and tools, not one time fixes.
Unlike a Financial Planner or Counselor that meets with you annually, Avraham meets with you weekly, at least by phone, depending on your needs and plan, and face to face every 8 weeks, or more frequently if needed. He gives you a 1 year commitment to be available to help you through all the financial challenges you have with your financial fitness plan keeping you focused on your goals and helping you not derail from achieving those goals. You will have his personal cell phone number and he'll take your phone call any time to help you. He's a busy professional but he will make sure he has time for you, keeping his cell phone with him even on vacation to be sure he meets his one year commitment to assist you when you need.
Avraham does not sell you an investment or mutual fund, you'll continue to work with your current financial counselor or investment advisor but Avraham will help you succeed at having something to give your advisor when you do meet. Your Personal Financial Trainer is your personal coach, helping you make sound decisions through the course of a year that will allow you to move towards your goals, change your bad habits, design new behaviors through weekly assigned exercises that work toward your goals, keeping you from moving farther away from your goals. To be successful and truly change your financial habits you need to change behaviors and he is there to assist you through the course of your first year.
You may be surprised to learn the people that seem to be most in need of a Personal Financial Trainer are high income earners that look at their pays disappear each week and have nothing left, or worse, negative cash flow with no idea how they can earn so much money and have nothing left week after week. These are people that earn $100,000 plus a year and families earning $200,000.00 a year, that just can't find a way to reach their financial goals such as paying their mortgage off or having money in the bank when the washing machine breaks so they don't need to add another cost to the credit card that eventually hits the line of credit and then gets added to the home equity line, leaving the goal of paying off the house on the back burner for another year. Let a Personal Financial Trainer help you avoid the need to put that washer on the credit card and start the negative cycle yet again. If this sounds like you and you have tried repeatedly to change this on your own and nothing changes, you just might want to hire Avraham Byers to help you identify where your money is going, and how to change your behaviors.
Source:  Financial Security Index survey  June 25  2012
Source:, Financial Security Index survey, June 25, 2012
Avraham switched from work selling investments 3 years ago after one of his clients would come in to review his portfolio annualy, they would go over his plan and what he wanted to save to retire in 5 years and find he still wasn't able to put enough funds away to allow for that plan to happen. They would set up a budget that should work, and a year later his client would come back in the same or a worse financial situation at the next review to go through the same thing. Read more about this client and Avraham in the December issue of Zoomer Magazine, in the "Hey Big Spender" article by Ian MacNeill, currently on newsstand shelves or available by subscription.
When Avraham started Breakthrough Financial he knew what he wanted to do, he knew he wanted to work with his investment client as a perfect first customer. After spending a year getting this client on track and the gratification he felt when he saw the client on a sound financial footing a year later, with changed behaviors and really on his way to realizing his goals of being comfortable financially, he knew he would never look back. Avraham wants to continue helping people, really helping people, by teaching them how to manage their financial lives with the systems in place at Breakthrough Financial to give each client the tools they need to be really successful at changing their financial future through new learned behaviors that help them reach their goals today and tomorrow.
Breakthrough Financial just may be on to the next biggest need of the typical North American baby boomer approaching retirement who desires to do it comfortably or even just manage to retire at some time in the future. Those at their highest earning potential in their career that just can't seem to get to where they can retire or be comfortable in their financial skin. According to this article on Zoomer Magazine on line baby boomers just can't afford to retire. These people are typical of many Canadians that are carrying the highest debt loads in recent history as explained by the bank of Canada in a 30 year history and highest non mortgage debt levels as reported by the Huffington Post. You can see on the Bank of Canada charts that this is an issue in all developed countries but where as other countries personal consumer debt has started to trend down, the Canadian consumer debt is still trending up even in 2012 as reported by CBC here. The pressure these high debt loads put on the people in the North American Society can be brought in reason with a good plan and system to change behaviors like the one offered by Avraham through Breakthrough Financial.
Unlike a debt counselor who may suggest consolidating your debt or taking a set monthly amount and paying your creditors for you, Avraham says he will teach you to make the changes needed to manage your own debt and help you learn to track and pay your own creditors each month. He will help you work out how much money you have left from your income to spend on a daily basis as a daily number, and help you change behaviors so you don't just consolidate your debt and then run out and ring up more debt now that life is more comfortable ultimately owing more at the end of the year. He teaches real change, he's not giving band aids to cover up a wound and make it feel better without addressing what caused the wound, there by allowing you to repeat the same mistakes again.
Like any person that will work closely with you, you will want to find a Personal Trainer that fits your lifestyle, understands you and will assist to make changes that suit you, your family and your unique situation. Credentials to become a Personal Financial Trainer do not exist, but Avraham says they look for someone with a financial investing background and schooling, so they know budgeting and interest principals along with being able to deal with a wide range of financial statements, institutions, and questions from clients. He feels they are best if they lived with their own spending and buying issues, a reformed spender, that had to learn how to handle their own financial situation so they will have the compassion and non judgmental attitude needed to understand everyone is unique with their own priorities allowing you to teach a person how to meet their goals and not your own. Avraham notes, "habits are hard to change, change is a slow process, a Financial Trainer must be very patient".
After discussing all of this with Avraham, I do like the idea and his dedication and enthusiasm for helping people live a more balanced and financially stress free life. This service doesn't come cheap. It will cost anywhere from $250 to $650 a month depending what level of service you'll need. Just how much help do you need? This isn't based on income or complexity of your case, but how much time, training and hand holding you require. Avraham says, "the service goes beyond advice" it assists you to learn how to implement the advice you have been receiving. Many clients go from a negative cash flow to realizing savings of $30,000.00 in the first year of coaching. The costs can easily pay for themselves if you reform your habits and end the year in the black instead of the red. As shown on the Breakthrough Financial web site, under how it works, if you need it, why not go hear about it, they offer the first session free. Let them help you 1. Figure out where you stand, 2. Develop your financial goals, 3. Make an action plan, 4. Change your tendencies, and 5. Stay on course.
To hear more from Avraham Byers on Personal Financial Training, tune into Landmark Report's, Insights & Influence: Personal finance edition pod cast.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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