Retirement Planning

Coaching for The Childfree Lifestyle

A unique financial advisory niche

In the United States, the average inheritance received from parents with a college degree was $92,700 from 2016 to 2019, according to the Federal Reserve. For many children it can be substantially higher—thanks to financial planners and their focus on building wealth and family legacies.

But what about those couples living childfree? Are there differences? How does a childfree lifestyle have an impact on a couple’s finances and financial plans?

These are questions often answered by Jay Zigmont, PhD and CFP®. He has built an entire financial coaching and advisory practice devoted to the niche. Based in Mississippi, Live Learn Plan, LLC specializes in what Dr. Jay calls ‘childfree wealth.’

Round Headshot“Ten percent of people in the U.S. have chosen not to have children,” Dr. Jay told Advisors Magazine in a recent interview, “and while I will provide services for everybody, my specialty is with this childfree population.” Childfree means that they have chosen to not have kids and do not plan on ever having kids.

In short, he sees the childfree demographic as being more financially flexible. “For example, where they live and the school system is not as important. They are freer and can pick up and go almost anywhere,” Dr. Jay explained. “Life cycle changes are different for them and they embrace change more readily,” he added. “So, it becomes a different financial approach. It’s not necessarily all about retirement, but more about allowing them to be able to do what they want with their money and achieve their goals.”

Dr. Jay is an advice-only and fee-only fiduciary. There is no minimum investment required and he offers advice and financial coaching on a monthly retainer basis. A typical monthly retainer is $500, which includes a Zoom meeting each month, the building of a comprehensive financial plan over time that involves an additional hour of preparation and background work on the plan, and access to RightCapital software for the planning. Additional work and sessions can be added at an hourly rate.

Zigmont Stat“My background is actually from academia and healthcare,” he explained. “My PhD is in Adult Learning (from the University of Connecticut) and my focus is on helping people learn how to manage their finances. I’ve been a coach in all areas of life and business for more than a decade.”

On his website, Dr. Jay notes that he grew up broke and was never taught how to manage money. “I earned my first million by the time I was 21 and spent it before I was 25,” he said. Dr. Jay didn’t learn until much later how to manage and invest his money. And today he applies that knowledge to helping others learn how to invest and work toward financial freedom.

What’s more, Dr. Jay and his wife are childfree. “I know that the ‘standard’ financial planning advice doesn’t fit a childfree lifestyle—the choices are different and need to be valued,” he insists.

Coming from academia and with a specialty in lifelong learning, Dr. Jay places considerable value on financial literacy. And that goes for his childfree and other clients alike.

Zigmont qoute
Dr. Jay added that people might be making good money in their career, but it soon becomes a matter of what to do with their income.

“I dive in deep, get the big picture and start to develop a financial plan,” he explained. “Then we essentially make one improvement each month to their financial plan. And with everything they invest in, everything that they do, it is all understood beforehand.”

Dr. Jay added: “One of my rules is that you shouldn’t be investing in anything unless you completely understand what it is and why you’re doing it.”

He said that often takes time, and it’s where the deep dive and ongoing coaching become critical.

“For example, people will hear about something and just focus on the rate of return they heard—the percentages and the numbers—but they have no clue what the product is. They will tell me, ‘Hey, this sounds good.’ But that’s not the way to invest; that’s just a sales pitch.”

Dr. Jay maintains that the difference with his practice comes down to delegation versus empowerment. He offers advice-only and does not do investment management for his clients.

“The classic financial planning approach is to delegate one’s investment management,” he explained. “An advisor charges fees based on assets under management (AUM), and who knows what else,” Dr. Jay continued. “But my approach is they do the investing themselves after they learn it. Yes, I worked with them. I advised and coached them through the decision-making, but they’re ultimately pulling the trigger on the buy and the sell, and all the trading and any products.”

And that, Dr. Jay contends, is the best way for a client to know what he or she is doing and why.

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