The money coach
Ashley Feinstein Gerstley began her career in investment banking but came to realize the field didn’t suit her. “I was making a lot of money, but working long hours,” she explains. “I was eating take-out food at my desk every night and leaving at 2 a.m.” After getting her annual bonus, she decided to quit and make a lifestyle change.
Gerstley invested in workshops and classes to help find her next career, but also splurged on dinner and drinks with friends — a habit from her days as a high earner. “I realized pretty quickly that my bonus was almost gone, and my lifestyle was unsustainable,” she said. “I had to figure out my money stuff.”
Through a certification with the International Coach Federation, Gerstley became a money coach. In her newfound role she not only helps clients get more organized with savings and investments, but also guides them over any psychological hurdles they encounter along the journey. Here are the top financial tips Gerstley shares with clients (and takes note of herself):
1. Talk about money
“People think everyone is doing better than them,” Gerstley says. That mindset may make you hesitant to talk or seek help with your own financial problems, and, by extension, vulnerable to unintended peer pressure to spend more money. “Like when you’re at dinner and there’s pressure to have another round of drinks — another round of $17 cocktails. It’s not [your friends’] fault, they just don’t know that you are trying not to spend so much money.”
Share your money story — in terms you’re comfortable with. Decline that pricey cocktail, and simply explain that you're working toward a goal — like paying off student loans or buying a car — and would rather that $17 go into a savings account.
Gerstley says when you speak up about your own financial concerns, you may see your friends follow suit. From there, plan less expensive gatherings, like potluck dinners and game nights. Then sock away the money you save.