In this interview with financial expert Dalene Higgins, we delve into the essential aspects of her work and the transformative impact it has on her clients. Dalene discusses her mission of supporting women, particularly those over 40, in navigating the intricacies of their finances as they approach retirement. She addresses common misconceptions about budgeting and offers valuable insights into how individuals can gain control of their financial futures. Furthermore, Dalene provides a real-life client success story, highlighting the challenges, obstacles, and remarkable outcomes achieved through her personalized financial guidance. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by financial matters or aspire to better manage your money, this interview offers practical tips and strategies to help you take charge of your financial journey.
Who benefits from your financial guidance, and what’s your approach?
I assist women in managing their finances, primarily focusing on those over 40. I’ve chosen this age group because I believe that financial security becomes increasingly important as they approach retirement. My goal is to guide them through the later stages of their careers and the transition into retirement, ensuring they can enjoy their retirement years without financial stress.
What are the main challenges your clients face?
The primary challenges my clients encounter include feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to begin when it comes to managing their finances. Many have attempted various financial strategies but struggle to piece them together effectively. Another significant challenge is dealing with debt, as they are unsure how to prevent it from accumulating, often due to inadequate planning and a focus on short-term budgeting.
Furthermore, some of my clients have experienced costly life events, such as raising children, buying homes, purchasing vehicles, and covering both their own and their children’s education expenses. These experiences have often left them with substantial debt burdens, and they seek guidance on becoming debt-free and financially prepared for the future.
What are the key benefits of working with you?
There are several key benefits to working with me. Firstly, my extensive 15-year journey in finance management, particularly in the government sector, has cultivated a deep passion for budgeting. I’ve worked on budgeting projects funded by property taxes and aligned with the Auditors Office’s standards.
When clients engage with me, they start by learning how to create a spending plan right from the first session. Importantly, nothing is sacrificed at this stage. We establish clarity around their financial numbers and then proceed to demonstrate how to effectively manage their cash flow from one payday to the next. I provide guidance on allocating their money where it needs to go and offer straightforward methods for tracking it. Additionally, I stress the importance of future planning and assist in creating spreadsheets for upcoming payday budgets that can be adjusted as circumstances change.
One of the most significant outcomes of our work together is that clients not only gain financial competence but also experience newfound calm and empowerment. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or reactive, they are equipped to make informed decisions that boost their confidence and propel them forward.
What are some myths or misconceptions about your work?
Absolutely, there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding the work I do. One of the most significant misconceptions is the belief that budgeting equates to control and restriction. Some people think they don’t need a budget because they either don’t earn enough money or make too much money. However, based on my 15-year journey and personal experience, I’ve come to realize the true power of a budget.
Think of it like air traffic controllers guiding airplanes safely to their destinations. Similarly, a budget acts as a tool to help you gain control over your finances and direct them where you want them to go. It’s not about limitation; it’s about steering your money exactly where you desire. To put it simply, having a clear understanding of your financial goals is crucial. Many people might not be dreaming big enough or planning far ahead enough. When you start building those dreams, your budget transforms into a driving force that empowers you to achieve them, rather than a controlling force. It becomes your guiding tool, helping you take charge of your financial future.
What do you believe prevents more people from seeking the help you offer?
Shame and embarrassment are significant barriers that often deter people from seeking the kind of assistance I provide. It’s not uncommon for individuals to feel a deep sense of shame and embarrassment when confronted with their financial situation, even if they are highly intelligent and accomplished in other areas of life. For example, one of my recent clients, a successful CEO, candidly admitted, “I thought I was stupid. I couldn’t put this together.”
The root of this issue lies in the lack of comprehensive financial education that many people have received. Approximately 85% of households are managed by women, and they often have limited financial knowledge. When financial challenges arise, they tend to blame themselves, believing that their approach has failed. However, the truth is that they simply need to learn more, explore further, and continue progressing. Rather than letting shame and embarrassment overwhelm them, it’s crucial to encourage individuals to seek help and support, recognizing that they are not alone in facing financial difficulties.
Could you share an example of a client’s journey, including the challenges they faced, obstacles encountered, their initial situation, and the outcomes after working with you?
Certainly, let me illustrate with an example. Clients often approach me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with their financial situation. They may have made several attempts at budgeting in the past but never quite felt successful, leaving them in financial disarray. One common challenge is the lack of clarity about their actual financial numbers. So, our initial focus is on building that clarity, helping them understand where their money is truly going. Often, clients are pleasantly surprised to discover that their financial situation is better than they initially thought.
From there, we move towards gaining control. We create a budget, but it’s important to note that we don’t immediately cut any expenses. Instead, we develop a spending plan that aligns with their various financial needs and paydays.
Let me share the story of a client who had a dream of owning 100 properties by the time she turned 50. We began by setting milestones to achieve her goal. Her first step was to buy her own home since she didn’t own one yet. With our guidance, she worked on improving her credit score, gained the confidence to apply for a mortgage, and received pre-approval. Currently, she’s in the process of saving for closing costs and plans to purchase four more homes within the next two to three years.
I also provided her with knowledge about credit scores and credit reports, enabling her to comfortably take on additional debts as her real estate business continues to grow. Together, we worked on generating rental income and developed a vision for her final step, which involves owning multi-family dwellings, along with the strategies needed to get there.
In essence, my approach is highly personalized, focusing on each client’s unique financial goals and aspirations beyond mere budgeting. This includes providing education and financial literacy on topics that will have the most significant impact on their lives. The ultimate outcome for my clients isn’t just financial stability; it’s also the empowerment to achieve their dreams and visions for the future.
Could you share some tips and strategies for individuals who are struggling with managing their finances?
Certainly, here are some valuable tips and strategies for those facing financial challenges:
- Streamline Your Budget: Keep your budget simple. Avoid the temptation to create a new budget every month. Instead, refine your budget gradually to make it a flexible tool that aligns with your life and financial objectives.
- Prioritize Savings: Saving money serves a dual purpose. It not only provides a safety net for emergencies but also funds your future goals. Make it a habit to set aside a portion of your income for both short-term needs and long-term aspirations.
- Think Beyond the Present: Don’t restrict your financial goals to the present moment. Dare to dream about what you want your money to achieve in the future. Consider your long-term objectives and adjust your budget to support those dreams.
By adopting these straightforward mindset shifts and strategies, you can take meaningful steps towards achieving your financial goals and building a more secure financial future.
What are the next steps for someone who wants to reach out and learn more about your services?
If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit my website at elevatefinances.us.
On the website, you’ll find an interest form where you can provide some financial information. After submitting the form, I will respond with a proposal that includes different payment options. Once we finalize payment, sign a contract, and schedule a welcome call, we can begin the process.