Allison V. Bishop

CPA, Financial Coaching

Individual Financial Coaching

What to Expect from a Coaching Session

I typically have a 15-minute free phone call before I meet with potential clients.  That call serves to confirm for me that I can provide the services you’re looking for – and if I’m not the right person, I will refer you to someone who can help you better than I can – and also so that you can get a feel for whether I’d be a good fit for you before you decide to come in for an appointment.

In that call, I’ll ask you why you reached out to me so that I can understand exactly what you’re looking for from our session.  Then I’ll tell you how I think our meeting would look, based on what you’ve told me.  Once you decide you want to come in for a meeting, I’ll e-mail you my new client form.  The form has three parts:

  1. Assets and liabilities – this is a list of everything you own and everything you owe. It includes things like the value of your home and the amount of your mortgage; any debts you have outstanding, as well as the interest rates and terms; and the balances of any investment or bank accounts.
  2. Monthly income and expenses – this is the amount of money you have coming in every month and the amount of money you spend in a wide variety of categories. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but the more accurate it is, the more helpful it will be to our conversation.
  3. Financial goals – this is exactly what it sounds like. There’s a place for short-term, intermediate-term and long-term goals.  It’s really an opportunity for you to sit down by yourself, or with your partner, if you have one, and think about what you really want to accomplish over the next few years.

Usually I meet with clients for an hour and a half, and about half of that meeting is spent on the first section of the form – the assets and liabilities.  That really provides a snapshot of where you are and helps me see pretty quickly what kind of shape you’re in financially.  We also talk about goals during this part of the meeting – where you are now and where you’d like to be.  During this conversation, I start a list of your priorities – usually things like establishing an emergency fund (or at least a cash cushion), saving for retirement or college or a down payment for a house, and paying down credit card or student loan debt.

Once we’ve nailed down what your priorities are, we usually move on to the section of the form detailing your monthly income and expenses.  That’s where we’re going to find the money to make progress towards each of your priorities.  We look at how much money you have coming in every month and where that money goes, and we try to make some adjustments so that more of your money is going to the places you really value rather than just disappearing on things you don’t really care about.  We might also talk about other things, such as ways to control spending, if that’s an issue you struggle with.  The structure of the meeting obviously varies depending on why you came to see me; for those people who live within their means and are just looking for a general overview, or perhaps received a windfall and are looking for guidance on how to allocate it, we might not even talk about monthly cash flow.

Within a few days after we meet I will send you a detailed e-mail summarizing our meeting.  It usually has the list of priorities we came up with, and a paragraph about each one – what we talked about and what you were planning to do for each of those items.  It might include steps like opening up a savings account for travel and having part of your paycheck deposited into it, or a plan for which credit cards to pay first, or making an appointment with an estate attorney to draft a will.

I see some clients for just session.  Those are typically people who are already living within their means and are looking for assurance that they’re making good decisions, or people who got a large raise and need a plan.  They’re fully capable of implementing the plan we came up with on their own.  However, many people who come to see me are looking to change their habits or perhaps know what to do but keep falling into debt and are seeking ongoing accountability. In those cases, it usually makes sense for the client to come in more regularly – something like once a month or once a quarter.  If you’re not sure before you come in what schedule would work for you, we can talk about it during our first session and come up with a schedule that makes sense for your situation.

Fees

My only source of revenue is client fees, which ensures that I only give advice which is in my clients’ best interests. My fiduciary responsibility in every instance is only to my client; I do not recommend any specific insurance or investment products, and do not receive any commissions or other sources of revenue.

6 month package – $800
Six 1-hour meetings on a monthly basis. Includes access to me via e-mails or phone calls between meetings.   After the first meeting I will send you a summary of the plan that we came up with.  Subsequent meetings will focus on progress and accountability, as well as adapting the plan as needed.  Best for people who are really looking to change their financial habits and need a little extra support during the first months of change, or for people who may be facing transition or taking on new financial responsibilities for the first time.
Payment options: may be paid in full before the first meeting ($800), quarterly ($425/quarter), or monthly ($150/month).

Quarterly for a year – $625
Four 1-hour meetings on a quarterly basis. Includes access to me via e-mails or phone calls between meetings.  After the first meeting I will send you a summary of the plan that we came up with.  Subsequent meetings will focus on progress and accountability, as well as adapting the plan as needed.  Best for people who are looking to make progress but don’t need a monthly check-in.
Payment options: may be paid in full before the first meeting ($625) or quarterly ($165/quarter).

1.5-hour financial overview – $250
One 1.5-hour meeting, going over all aspects of your personal finances: assets, liabilities, income and expenses, life insurance coverage, career and financial goals. We will prioritize your objectives and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.  After the first meeting I will send you a summary of the plan that we came up with.  Perfect for anyone who’s looking for some guidance around their long-term financial plan.

Hourly Fee

If none of the above options meet your needs, I am available to meet on a hourly basis for $175 per hour, calculated to the next quarter hour.

There may be discounts available in certain circumstances. I generally do not turn anyone away for inability to pay.  Payment is expected at the end of each session. I accept cash, checks or credit cards.

Long-distance coaching

If you’re not located in the Greater Portland area, we can still have a coaching session by phone or another method, such as Skype.