Alan Caldwell is a financial coach. Put simply, he helps people with their money: That means spending less, saving more, and getting on track to retire. Alan recently started his private practice, Customized Financial Coaching, after turning 60. One of the things we love about financial counseling, coaching, and education is that it is a rewarding career path at any stage in life, and Alan’s journey is a perfect example.
AFCPE: According to your bio, you spent 24 years at Ford Motor Company, and started and sold two businesses – that’s quite an interesting career path! What aspects of your career journey led you to start “Customized Financial Coaching”?
Alan: I have always been interested in finance. I remember budgeting in my teen years to save for a trip, and then for a car. At Ford Motor Company, I worked on budget development and tracking spending for various divisions of the company, and handling the financials for several big projects.
My first business was a senior in-home care company where I learned the lesson “cash is king!” (meaning it’s your cash flow that matters, much more so than your accounting profit). That grew into a real business that employs about 70 people. The second business was much smaller, a tiny bakery where I was the only employee — I enjoyed the baking and loved my customers, but running that little place wore me out. I sold that business so I could get my life back. But the businesses really taught me first-hand how important it is to manage money properly — to really watch where it’s going, and to make sure it’s working hard for you.
Early last year, at age 60, I decided to become a financial coach. I wasn’t near ready to retire. I get bored at home if I don’t have anything to do for one day, and I am really bad at golf. I am really enjoying this new career, and finding it tremendously fulfilling.
AFCPE: In 2018, you registered for the AFC® certification program? What attracted you to the AFC®certification?
Alan: Once I became interested in becoming a financial coach, I knew I needed to get additional education, and I knew that a legitimate recognized accreditation would be very helpful. I researched different education and designation options, and it became very clear very quickly that the AFC® was definitely the education and the designation I wanted.
AFCPE: You recently volunteered your services as part of our AFCPE’s government shutdown initiative. Why is it so important for financial professionals to raise their voice in times like these?
Alan: The government shutdown was not fair to the employees. It was great to see food banks and so many businesses offering free services to those affected. I thought it was terrific that the AFCPE got involved, and I wanted to do my part, and help if I could. For financial professionals, it’s a great opportunity for us to be able to remind everyone how important it is to have some emergency savings.
AFCPE: Anything else you’d like to share with AFCPE members?
Alan: I am so pleased to be a part of this organization. I am proud to be an AFCPE member, and I am looking forward to being an official AFC® (hopefully within a few months). And I was so glad I went to the symposium in Norfolk. That was a great experience, learning so much, and meeting so many wonderful knowledgeable folks.
Alan Answers the Friday 5:
My Why: To help people get organized with their money, and to have their best future.
My Favorite Quote: “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind” Dr. Wayne Dyer (highlighted in the movie “Wonder”)
My Hero: For this AFCPE audience, my hero is definitely Lacey Langford — she was my mentor at the symposium. She was very inspiring and provided me with some awesome career advice.
Your Favorite Personal Finance Resource: I read the New York Times every morning. The paper frequently has insightful articles on personal finance and strategies for retirement, information I find very valuable to share with clients.
My Best Advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: Work with people you trust and respect, and listen to and follow their advice, and be patient, it takes time to achieve worthwhile goals.
- For a new professional entering the field: Talk to people that have been doing it for a while, and learn and keep learning.
Connect with Allan at: