Financial guru touts monetary stability

Imagine a life without a monthly car payment and zero credit card debt.

Sound like a fantasy?

James Reeves, owner of Freedom Financial Coaching - a new finance counseling and investment advising company in Sequim - swears that he can turn the dream of financial organization into reality.

How can he be so sure? Because he did it for himself not very long ago.

Reeves and his wife lived in Issaquah and rented a 1,200-square-foot apartment for $1,800 a month. It was more than they could afford but without any children to care for they made it work.

"I was living the dream," Reeves said, "paycheck to paycheck."

When he lost his aviation management job due to a poor economy and company layoffs, the couple's house of cards came tumbling down. An already overstretched pocketbook busted and the family of two began swimming in debt.

"I should have known better, my dad raised me better, but I learned my lesson and now I hope to teach others."

After losing his job, Reeves was faced with the decision of what to do next.

"Aviation is a harsh mistress (and) I decided I couldn't do it anymore," he said.

"I have always enjoyed finances so I thought I'd see where this road could lead me."

James Reeves, owner of Freedom Financial Coaching, offers personal finance counseling and investment advising. Photo by Ashley Miller

Living for the future

Reeves went back to school, earned a master's degree in business administration and then got all the necessary certifications to open a financial coaching business.

About the same time the business opened its doors in May, Reeves and his wife welcomed a baby girl into the world. Now, instead of living in the moment for himself, he lives for the future of his family - something he encourages clients to do as well.

In many ways, Reeves considers himself a leader in the financial-advising world.

"I strive to be on the educational side of things," he said.

"I'm not a financial advisor in the traditional sense that a client keeps coming back to me for advice, I empower people and make people financially stable so they don't have to come back to me."

Use common sense

The majority of what Reeves teaches clients is common sense tips. For example, rather than writing a check at the grocery store or using a debit card every time you need something, take out a certain amount of money in cash and use that on groceries throughout the month. When the money is gone, there's no more money for groceries. This requires budgeting.

Also, Reeves instructs clients not to rationalize unnecessary expensive purchases using a credit card because it's a "good deal," but rather wait and save the money to buy the item.

"We're a consumer-driven economy and delayed gratification is hard for us," he said.

Who benefits from financial advising? Everybody.

"I help people who are in dire situations, people who have all their ducks but they aren't in a row and people who live for the day and not for the tomorrow," Reeves said.

"I don't want to see new clients again because I want them to learn, but it's a stair-step process to help them get financially sound and it doesn't happen overnight."

The hardest part for a lot of people - and the most important step toward financial stability - is recognizing that they need help, according to Reeves.

"Come to someone like me who can take what you have, look at it and then help you develop a plan of attack," he said.

"You don't have to do it all on your own, there are people who can help and I'm one of them."

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