Here's why the founder and CEO of The Financial Gym thinks you should take a fitness-inspired approach to personal finance.

black and white portrait of Shannon McLay
Credit: Max Abadian

Fitness and personal finance may not seem to go together, but after financial advisor Shannon McLay lost over 50 pounds, she realized that while there are endless amounts of gyms out there, there aren't many resources for women to get in shape financially.  This sparked her idea for The Financial Gym, a service that takes a fitness-inspired approach to finances. Like a regular gym, you pay a monthly membership fee, which includes your own financial trainer who works with clients of all "financial shapes and sizes" to tackle their goals. Here, her best career advice for turning your own career dreams into a reality, and how she's paying it forward.

The Moment It Clicked:

“When I was a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch, we required people to have $250,000 in assets to qualify as a client. I was also doing pro bono work for acquaintances with issues like student debt. Where else could I refer these people who didn’t have a lot of money? We’ve got so many options to get physically healthy. But if people want to get financially healthy, where do they turn? So I created a place where you could meet with a financial trainer for what amounts to a gym membership.” (See: Why Working On Your Finances Is Just As Important As Working On Your Fitness)

Her Best Advice:

“Remember the value of your social network. Within two years of starting my business, I went through everything I owned, including my 401(k). I was just about to quit, and then I got my first investor: my former boss. When we met for coffee, I had no idea I was going to ask him for money. I still have the envelope he sent the check in.” (Related: Experts Reveal the Best Advice to Achieve Any Goal)

Paying It Forward:

“What motivates me every day is making sure financial health is available for anyone. It’s a transformative experience.” (Related: Money-Saving Tips for Getting Fiscally Fit)

Want more incredible motivation and insight from inspiring women? Join us this fall for our debut SHAPE Women Run the World Summit in New York City. Be sure to browse the e-curriculum here, too, to score all kinds of skills.

Shape Magazine, September 2019 issue