A Money Coach in Canada

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Real life case studies draw on my experience past-and-present with clients. The individuals are heavily disguised, but the underlying issues are the same.


Roger had stocks that had made money and lost money.

He had debts owing the gov’t, student loans, banks and credit cards.

He had boxes, and boxes of unopened financial documents.

He hasn’t filed taxes for three years.

Although he is a high-income earner, he honestly has no idea if he’s dead-broke or on reasonable ground. He wants to clear up the past years of un-tended finances, yet just thinking about it causes him to do anything but take action on it. He’d rather just keep working harder and harder to earn enough to ‘feel like’ he’s doing OK.

We spent three months working together on his finances, and there is a happy ending. But what might you have suggested to help Roger successfully take on the project of clearing the decks and taking charge of his money?suit.jpg

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. I went through this in my school years and student loans. I just did not want to know. But then hiding from reality just won’t make it go away so I started opening the letters to nip things in the bud – and it wasn’t so bad. Of course, it helps to have your mom “encourage” you.

    I think he did the right thing by hiring you to keep him accountable.


    Oct 21, 2007
  2. You know, one aspect of financial issues that never gets addressed is the fact that you can be broke without being poor. Without some sort of financial clarity Roger was just wandering in the blind and letting the day dictate to him what would happen instead of pulling out a map to figure out where he was headed.

    Rather than compel the Rogers of the world to change, this is a great opportunity for financial coaches and assistants to do it for them. We can hire a personal chef and someone to mow our lawn, why not someone to keep our financial life in order?

    It sounds to me though that the ultimate victory is that Roger found Nancy, who then lead him to financial clarity and less stress.

    I’d love to say that the Roger’s of the world are isolated incidents but they aren’t.

    Three cheers for Nancy.



    Oct 22, 2007
  3. What a great metaphor – ‘letting the day dictate’ instead of ‘pulling out a map’. I think that’s exactly what I’m trying to do with my clients, ie., move from day-to-day reactive use of money to an intentional, strategic use.


    Oct 22, 2007
  4. Money Coach’s response:
    Many times clients come to me because they feel utterly overwhelmed. Roger was in exactly that space. When we are overwhelmed, the answer usually is not a “let’s kick you into gear” but rather, helping calm the anxiety and tension surrounding the project, and looking for those little ‘zen’ moments and working within those. Add a few ‘zen’ moments together, and you discover yet more moments open up.
    One way to do this is take the focus OFF the end result. Thinking in huge terms like, “I will have all those boxes sorted, neatly filed, and every financial decision represented by the papers will be made” is enough to make anyone run for cover. Instead, we kept asking the micro-question, What are the different approaches I can take to START the process? never mind the final result. How can I START?
    In Roger’s case, it came to discrete things like:
    -call CRA and find out what years I need to file (he thought there would be 5 or 6. There were only 2!)
    -go on Craig’s list and find possible bookkeepers to help organize the box contents (he found an excellent person)
    – label the boxes according to the years’ inside
    etc. As you can imagine, finding out he only needed to file 2 years, was invigorating and opened ‘space’ for him to move further (OK, what 2 boxes contain stuff pertinent to those particular years?)
    Here’s the end of the story:
    Things weren’t nearly as bleak as Roger thought. He didn’t owe CRA anything! for one of the years; the other was a managable amount. One of his creditors agreed to a settlement that was a bit tough, but manageable for Roger. Another debt had been written off. A severe ding on his credit rating, but that was 5 years ago. He’s back on track with his student loan payment.
    Things will be a bit tight for approximately 3 more years, but it is NOTHING like the misery he’d envisioned. And yes, with the help of the bookkeeper, the boxes are now well organized. A lot got thrown out, the important documents are now accessible.
    Roger feels like he has a fresh start, and most of all, he feels in control again.


    Oct 27, 2007


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