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nBalance Financial is a retirement planning and financial wellness company. The nBalance approach is a combination of financial therapy and employee benefit programs to achieve financial empowerment. It is an innovative provider of financial therapy, reducing the financial illiteracy epidemic with counseling and guidance.
nBalance Financial believes all consumers should have equal access to guidance and resources to become proficient in financial decision-making.
To know more about the company we got in touch withGeorge Blount, financial therapist and managing partner.
Q. How did you get the idea of using financial therapy and behavioral sciences for short term financial therapy process?
nBalance Financial offers retirement plan consulting and financial therapy services. The retirement plan consulting process involves an analysis of an organizations retirement plan to mitigate risk for named fiduciaries. Once the mitigation review of the plan is complete the process shifts to the financial wellness of employees. In lieu of the traditional financial education resources of retirement plans, which are often underutilized, nBalance offers a retainer for a fixed number of financial coaching or financial therapy hours for their employees. The employees/plan participants then have access to a number and web portal to access a financial therapist to help the financial decision-making process. Financial decision-making is multifaceted and may involve child care, repaying student loans, an emergency savings program, or coping strategies for financial stress.
Behavioral sciences create a framework to measure the impact of psychological, social, cognitive and emotional factors in decision-making. Individuals make decisions based on what they have experienced (experience), what they have practiced (simulation), or an innate belief (heuristic). Behavioral Finance implies the study of these factors as it relates to financial or economic situations however, the focus is on investments. In the case of financial therapy, we can use a similar type of framing to address the emotional relationship with money. Financial therapy addresses all aspects of financial health including the economic, psychological, relational, emotional and behavioral factors that play into decision-making. While behavioral finance is an excellent niche to study irrational behavior in investing, I felt financial therapy is the best approach to correct irrational behavior.
Q. How does your approach towards economic, behavioral, psychological, relational, and external factors impact financial health?
Financial health can be measured by the amount of financial stress an individual undertakes. Specifically, the process of increasing the positive forms of stress by achieving goals or learning something new and decreasing the negative forms of stress from a lack of clarity, lack of comprehension or making decisions under duress. The process of managing stress or coping strategies to manage stress is based on where the stressors originate. Hence, financial therapy can be thought of as the process of determining the origin of stress through economic, behavioral, psychological, relational or external factors.
Q. What are your retirement programs?
nBalance works with organizations on their existing retirement plans and recommendations on establishing a new retirement plan. The retirement plans are defined contribution plans, which are 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plans, or defined benefit plans which are referred to as pensions. Small businesses who have SEP-IRA or Simple-IRA would also fall under our scope of expertise.
Q. How does your approach reimagine workplace retirement plan into an opportunity for social change?
The current defined contribution programs are the perfect vehicle to improve savings behavior while achieving short- and long-term goals. The narrative of a retirement plan, for some, is to save for retirement, at all costs, even if things are not financially stable around you. However, retirement is one of several goals an individual may achieve throughout their lifetime. Defined contribution plans allow individuals the flexibility to achieve several goals; emergency savings, first time home purchase, or using loan provisions for major expenses. Reframing the narrative of defined contribution plan as an opportunity to achieve several financial goals, while maintaining positive saving behavior creates the financial empowerment for individuals to create wealth.
Q. How is your customer base?
My customer base is fatigued. The questions are multi-layered and interconnected in ways. For example some are employees lost their job, insurance, and child care at the same time. The cost of food and internet has increased without the income you need. Small businesses and non-profit firms are deciding whether to keep their retirement plans or suspend matching contributions until things stabilize. Whether talking to an individual or a small business there is a level of uncertainty which makes decision-making more difficult.
Meet the luminary
With more than 20 years as a seasoned financial services professional, George Blount has assumed several roles in sales, sales management, project management, strategy, and research. As a result of his work experience and post-secondary education, he has obtained a wealth of knowledge in financial planning, retirement planning, behaviour sciences, decision-making, analytics, and strategy. Today, George is a financial therapist and a managing partner at nBalance Financial headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he works with individuals on financial matters but with a special focus on the emotional, behavioural, and psychological elements that impact their financial decisions.
George is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Management degree, and he is also an alumnus of Walden University where he received a Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Business Administration.