Life is full of transitions… sometimes it’s a disruption that comes out of nowhere, and sometimes they’re planned for and expected. Whether a change is a choice you’ve made or a choice that was made for you, let’s talk about how a financial coach can help you navigate life’s biggest transitions with financial coaching services.

Approximate read time: 9 minutes

We’re not going to be able to cover every single transition you encounter, so let’s talk about eight of the most common transitions I see in my work as a holistic financial coach.

Graduation to First Job
Marriage or Partnership
Starting a Family
Starting a Business
Buying a Home
Empty Nest and Retirement
Divorce and Separation
Illness

Graduation to First Job

What a terrifying and exciting time in life! Whether you’re in your 20s finishing high school or university, or you’re a seasoned grown-up who’s returned to school later in life, transitioning from schooling to the non-school world can be overwhelming.

Student loans, along with an unpredictable job market and system inequity make the pressure on new grads absolutely overwhelming. I’m sure you’re hearing all sorts of financial “wisdom” from your elders, like “just buy what you need, not what you want” and “live below your means.” While these aren’t necessarily bad bits of wisdom, it can be frustrating because it’s rare that anyone will show you how to actually DO those things.

The expectation is that you’re just somehow supposed to magically figure it out on your own.

Oh and did I mention that during this already unsteady time in our lives we’re likely to get married and start a family?! And ya, you’re just supposed to know how to do all of this too.

Financial Coaching for Graduation and First Job

If you’ve googled anything about how to handle this transition you’ve no doubt seen “build good financial habits now”. (eye roll) But the HOW of this is what often gets left off. And if just being told to “make good choices” worked to navigate life’s biggest transitions, we’d all be fine by now.

So when I’m working with individuals or couples who are just learning how to adult, we spend a lot of time working on the skills to be aware of spending behavior without judgment and building financial resilience.

My ideal outcome is that we build an adaptive, evolving budget that grows and changes with your life, but I’ll be honest, if all I teach someone to do at this time in their lives is to trust themselves with their money, the rest will fall into place.

What would the rest of your life look like if you could trust yourself with your money?

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Image of a young man wearing a graduation cap. Discover how a skilled financial coach in New York can help you navigate life's transitions in effective ways.

Career Change, Job Loss, or Promotion

This transition is an example of a change that can be your choice, or maybe not so much. It’s rarely as easy as solving for one thing, like salary or equity. There are so many more moving parts than that! Insurance, how far you live from work, what that commute looks like, whether you’ll be working remotely at all, company perks, workload, responsibilities, direct reports, supervisors, coworkers, how much training and support you receive, your partner’s opinions and concerns, distance from family, and how much time you’ll spend working all factor in.

And there are probably about a million other factors I’m not accounting for here!

Financial Coaching for Career Change, Job Loss, or Promotion

If the career change or promotion is something you have a say in, we’ll probably be using a negative visualization (don’t worry, it’s not a bummer) to look for prevention and recovery steps for whatever outcomes you think might crop up.

If the career or job change is NOT your choice, well we’ll still use the same concept, but focus more on recovery steps.

In both cases, we’ll be doing a good amount of proper goal-setting and system-building so that the next time a career change comes around again you’ll have the tools to navigate it smoothly (and without coaching!)

Promotions can look like a blessing but end up really not amounting to much due to something called lifestyle creep. The best way to make sure your new promotion (and I’m assuming a pay raise) actually translates into savings, debt reduction, or investments is to have a holistic plan for your spending as well as your higher income.

How do you think your might life be different if the next time a career change, job loss, or promotion happened you were prepared and comfortable?

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Marriage or Partnership

You’ve met your person! You two have so much in common, but when it comes to talking about money there is just the barest edge of conflict. Or maybe you both avoid financial conversations to avoid that conflict. Or maybe it isn’t even an edge of conflict, but full-on uncomfortable and unsafe financial conversations.

Maybe you two have full transparency on each other’s finances or none at all. Either way, it’s become clear that the upbringing from your family of origin or your past financial experiences have the potential to sabotage your happy relationship just as it’s getting started!

Financial Coaching for Marriage or Partnership

I work with A LOT of couples. Across the board, they’ve told me they wish they had the tools I teach at the beginning of their relationship. How many decades of avoidance, hurt feelings, not feeling safe, and not being able to plan for the future could have been avoided? I don’t know… maybe 1,000? Sure, let’s go with that.

What financial coaching looks like in your relationship will differ from anyone else I’ve ever worked with, but I can tell you that the work starts with connection and communication tools. After all, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a budget we build… if you and your partner can’t talk to each other about spending, saving, debt, etc, the budget will not work.

Once you’re practiced in those connection and communication tools, we’ll talk about problem-solving and decision-making tools, and then we’re on to building your customized budget that gets easier every time you refresh it.

And all along the way, we’ll talk about your shared and individual goals, values, and desires.

What would your relationship look like if you and your partner could have safe, effective financial conversations?  What could you do then that you can’t do now?

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Image of a man placing a ring on a woman's finger. With the help of a financial coach in New York or California learn to navigate life transitions with the financial skills needed to overcome your challenges.

Starting a Family

Childcare costs are no joke. Add to that the stress of lack of sleep, massively increased responsibilities, time away from work, time away from family, time away from your partner, and time away from your own self, and even the consideration of parenthood can get overwhelming.

Parenting is the highest of stakes, which means that sometimes we fall into the trap of hyperfocus, crisis mode, and reactionary decision-making. It kind of feels like drowning.

Financial Coaching for Starting a Family

I love working with folks considering starting a family. I love the thoughtfulness that comes along with these conversations. Choosing to start a family is deeply emotional, and deeply selfish, so it’s worth slowing down and thinking about.

Similar to the job/career change above, we’ll work through a negative visualization practice as well as all the things I’d teach any other couple. The other component I try to add in for parents and potential parents is ways that they can reteach and model their newly-mastered financial wellness skills for their children. Fortunately, many of these skills and practices are just games!

When you think about modeling your financial behaviors for your child what comes up for you?  Why would it be important for you to heal your relationship with money before you you have kids?

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Starting a Business

Somewhere between a job change and giving birth lies launching a business. If you are the primary or only wage earner in the household, starting a business can feel like a moonshot.

And starting a business means flying a bit blind sometimes. It’s not about willpower, knowing your “why”, grinding, or throwing money at a problem… successfully launching a business is built on the back of your own resilience. If you can trust yourself, if you know you have your own back, you can accomplish more than you know!

Financial Coaching for Starting a Business

To bootstrap or not to bootstrap? Part time or full time? Pull from retirement or equity to start the business? There are just so many options.

About half of the time I work with someone who’s opening (or considering) a new business they’re already clients and we’ve worked on many other financial concepts. And the other half of the time I’m acting as a consultant just for their business. Fortunately, many of the concepts, tools and practices that help navigate through life’s biggest transitions translate beautifully onto a small business!

We’ll work on operational stuff like pricing, scaling, and business structure, but we’re also going to talk about resilience, being respectful of your capacity, time, mindset, and budget.

What’s preventing you from running a successful business?  And I’m not asking for what’s wrong with you… what resource, skill, confidence, or midset shift do you need?

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Buying a Home

Buying a home has long been a staple of the American Dream. There’s even an unspoken assumption that in order to be truly successful, you MUST own a home. Fortunately, that little bit of stigma seems to be fading. Due to economic and systemic issues, home ownership may not be possible for most of us.  And that may not be a bad thing!

Choosing when or even if to buy a home is complicated. There is no one right or wrong choice. And for most markets, timing plays a huge part.

Financial Coaching for Buying a Home

I’m less concerned about helping my clients find the money for a down payment than I am about making sure they can KEEP their beautiful home!

Sustainability will be my focus. I know I’ve talked about building an adaptable budget several times already, and a home purchase is another fantastic reason to have a customized, budget that gets easier to use over time.

Getting a mortgage is, for most people, the single biggest amount of debt they will ever have. That debt is a tremendous risk, and isn’t to be entered into lightly. In coaching I work with my clients on both the run-up to the home purchase, prepping their planning for this change, as well as how they can comfortably pay off that loan.

What is your biggest fear when it comes to purchasing a home?  What are some ways you could prevent that worst-case-scenario from happening?  How could you recover from it if it does happen?

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Empty Nest and Retirement

You’ve worked hard your whole life and now it’s time to enjoy life even more!

Sometimes retirement is scheduled, and sometimes our bodies make the retirement choice for us. Either way, it’s more important than ever to have your planning in place. While taxes and inflation are certainly something that can impact if and how you retire, so can how much you’re financially supporting your family, even if your kids no longer live with you.

The landscape of retirement is changing too, with more of us working in some capacity long after retirement age. Many folks are even choosing to start businesses in their retirement. Your retirement will likely look very different than your grandparents’.  Retirement feels like it’s one of the least reversible changes in our lives, but it may not be.  And the stigma of un-retiring is changing as well.

Financial Coaching for Empty Nest and Retirement

There is no one correct way to navigate life’s biggest transitions, and retirement is no exception.  YOU get to decide what your retirement looks like. Do you want to travel? Do you want to be able to financially support your grown children?  How much do you want to help THEM navigate through life’s biggest transitions?

It may seem like the planning portion of your financial life is behind you, but you might be surprised how much future-thought still needs to be done. In my work with folks navigating life’s biggest transitions (but especially this one), we absolutely talk about budgeting and spending without restriction.  We also spend time talking about end-of-life planning.

Retirement can be the busiest and most vibrant part of your life! What do YOU want it to look like?

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Divorce and Separation

Whether this decoupling was your choice or not, and whether it’s a good thing or not, it’s ok to experience some grief, and well… just kind of shutting down for a bit. All of this is normal, and all of it is temporary, although I appreciate it might not feel that way at the moment.

It’s easy to expect a lot out of ourselves as we navigate life’s biggest transitions, but this one is a whopper. Somehow we’re supposed to grieve, rebuild disrupted routines, suffer through a changed living environment and sometimes lose close friends and family. It’s too much!

Financial Coaching for Divorce and Separation

First and foremost, my work with people in recovery after divorce or separation is gentle. We work at exactly your speed. No faster.

Recovery is the first order of business! I know I’ve talked about resilience multiple times in this article, but divorce and separation is a time we really take our time with the resilience tools. Once you can trust yourself to make good decisions (financial and otherwise), we’ll work on your relationship with money, and then the soft skills like avoidance and procrastination.

Finally, we’ll finish our work by building a brand-new system (budget) that will get easier every time you use it. And we build that system around you and your new life.  You will not be expected to comply with a system… any system we build will comply with YOU.

What would it look like if you moved through this time of divorce or separation being intentionally patient and gentle with yourself?  How would that impact your recovery?

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Illness

Sometimes we make a choice to navigate life’s biggest transitions, sometimes the choice is made for us. Illness and injury are the perfect example of a choice being made for us. You probably didn’t choose to get sick or injured after all!

It can often feel like our bodies have betrayed us. It’s easy to take our mortal coils for granted, sure, but that doesn’t make it suck less when our mobility changes, there’s constant pain, and then the worst… our bodies are unable to work. Our livelihoods and autonomy crash down around us.

Physical recovery is one thing, but financial recovery is another.

Financial Coaching for Illness

Similar to divorce and separation, there is a kind of loss and grief experienced when our bodies’ and brains’ capacities drop. Along with the pain, there is the opportunity to shame and judge ourselves, to ruminate in the past, and to get stuck there.

When I work with someone who’s recovering from a major injury or illness, there is typically debt, and yes, we’ll work on reducing that while building savings, but more than that we’ll work on grace and self-awareness too.  Navigating life’s biggest transitions requires grace…without that it’s impossible to build new, healthy systems (money or otherwise)!

The trauma of pain, injury, and illness can’t be understated. Trauma deeply impacts our decision-making, so very often I recommend my clients also meet with a therapist during our coaching time together.

Pain, injury, and illness often changes our lives dramatically and permanently. Even if you can’t go back to the way your life was before, what would you want your life to look like? What could it look like if you had a suitable money system that accepted your life for exactly what it is right now?

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In Conclusion

Navigating life’s biggest transitions is not easy, even if the transition is a good one. If I can encourage you to do one thing as you move forward, it’s to be patient with yourself! I talk a lot in this article and elsewhere about resilience and trusting oneself.  Being patient with yourself is the ONLY way to trust yourself, be aware of your financial behavior without judgment, and ultimately recover from these big life changes!

One final note on navigating life’s biggest transitions with Financial Coaching Services:

I didn’t talk about the death of a spouse as one of life’s biggest transitions here, but that wasn’t an oversight. It seems to me that this transition will need so much more space than I have here. You’re welcome to email me at hanna@pacificstoa.com if you’d like to talk about how the death of a partner impacts finances and how I help my clients recover.

Next Recommended article: How do I Get My Spouse to go to Couples’ Financial Coaching

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3. Learn to navigate life’s biggest transitions and manage your finances effectively!

Other Services Offered at Pacific Stoa

At Pacific Stoa, I want to make sure you have everything you need when it comes to managing your finances. So as a skilled financial coach here to help you navigate life’s transitions, I provide Financial Coaching for Individuals, Financial Coaching for CouplesFinancial Coaching for Divorce and Separation, and Financial Coaching for Families. I also offer Financial Consulting for Nonprofits and Businesses to help create a customized strategy built specifically for you, your organization, and those you serve. Check out my FAQ to learn more about Financial Coaching and my Blog!