Once a week you'll have the opportunity to peek inside the mind of one of our local health & wellness experts. They'll share with you their advice, suggestions, wisdom and answer their most popular question from clients.
This week let's get to know our local financial health and wellness expert Katy Almstrom from Almstrom Financial Coaching located in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Katy offers local financial workshops throughout the Upper Valley in addition to private coaching.
Tell us about yourself and why you choose to go into the financial health field?
My own struggle with debt forced me to look at how I spend money and make decisions about my personal finances. Over the course of 18 months, I paid off tens of thousands of dollars in debt by living within my means, controlling my spending, and working several part time jobs on top of a teaching career. I was only 25 years old. Working through the negative feelings and emotions that come with financial stress ignited a passion in me to help others who feel the same. Stress about money is a huge problem in our community, and the symptoms of this stress negatively affect other areas of our health.
What makes you unique in your field?
I love to meet people and learn their personal stories. My favorite clients become good friends. We enjoy each others’ company, we relate well to each other, and we have a rapport and trust that I value over everything else in this business. Clients’ stories inform so much about why they make the choices they do around money. Before financial coaching, I taught high school Latin, served as a college advisor, coached several sports, and mentored students through their academic career. My background in teaching and coaching has given me the necessary tools to show people how to create doable and sustainable new habits to improve their financial situation.
What question do your clients ask most frequently and how do you answer them?
“How do we spend less money?” “How do we possibly tighten our budget any more?” We are emotionally tied to our personal spending habits, and it can be very difficult to objectively look at how to change the way we use our income each month. I enjoy guiding my clients through a fresh look at how they spend their money, often resulting in hundreds of dollars of “lost income” every month.
What do you see as the greatest health risk posed to this generation?
Keeping up with unrealistic expectations that culture puts on us to do it all, all the time. We’re taught to find “balance” in our lives. I recently heard a podcast that talked about how seeking life balance should really be like a rocket ship headed to the moon. You are NEVER on a straight path (or in perfect balance). Instead, you must consistently shift course. When we accept that as reality, I think it will greatly reduce stress and give people permission to approach balance, but never perfectly hit it.
Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. Whatever the greatest health risk is, it will affect our finances greatly if we’re not prepared for it!
What’s the best health/fitness/wellness advice you ever received?
I’m not sure there is a piece of advice. For me, I perform best when I am sleeping enough, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and eating healthy, whole foods.
Do you have a success story of redeemed health you’d like to share?
When I came out of college and started working as a teacher, I used credit cards freely. A few years later, I had tens of thousands in debt between those, medical bills, and some student loans. My boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to try Dave Ramsey’s program for debt elimination. I found his book in the library and got to work. 18 months later, I was debt-free! It took 4-5 part time jobs, little to no eating out, and a supportive accountability partner to keep me on track. Boy, was it worth it! Now, I teach individuals and couples to do the same.
What is your favorite area of wellness to practice?
I love to lift weights and practice yoga. Before kids, I competed in a couple of bodybuilding shows. There’s always room to grow and get stronger, and I love the challenge.
What are you passionate about, besides your professional life?
My family! Our favorite weekends are doing an activity as a family such as skiing, or simply working around the house together. My husband loves to work in the garage and I love to garden. So in the summer, the kids, 4 and (almost) 2, help out and play in the yard. These quiet days at home are the best.
What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
“Do the thing, and you will have the power.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson’s words are the original “Just Do It” or “Do It Now.” Action produces results. Action moves the needle. With all aspects of wellness, financial included, taking action each day to make better decisions is the only way to make changes.
What’s one book you recommend everyone should read?
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
What one suggestion would you make that would have the greatest impact for improved health?
Find common ground with your partner or spouse about money. People stress and fight about money too much. Getting your finances in order can contribute to overall wellness, an improved mental outlook, and greatly improved relationships.
Any final piece of wisdom you’d like to share?
Fighting about money is the leading cause of divorce in our country. This should come as no surprise. When couples begin to understand how each partner in the relationship relates to money, conversations can happen without the arguing. We are all wired differently, and it’s high time we put in the effort to understand how we differ from our spouse when it comes to thoughts and feelings about finances. Every couple and every family is different. When I work with a new client to develop a plan, the top priority is finding common ground and agreeing on a plan and process moving forward.
How can people learn more about you and what you offer?
I teach free and local classes on budgeting throughout the Upper Valley. Visit my website Almstrom Coaching to see an updated schedule or to book a complimentary consultation with me. I’d love to hear your story!
Did you enjoy this story ? You might also like:
Last Week's Interview Kate Gamble, MSPT and Founder of Open Door Integrative Health.
Next Week's Interview Julie Glynn, M.Ed., MA. from Julie Glynn Coaching.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to upcoming issues.
If you would like to be featured please send an email to Julie@JulieGlynnCoaching.com