Financial Therapy Blog 2.14.16

Why is it so difficult to talk to your family, loved ones, friends, or colleagues about money? What is it about money that makes it so taboo? Around two thirds of American adults, regardless of race, gender, or economic status, are stressed about money and yet we aren’t talking about it. Financial therapy is a way to learn how to bring up and feel comfortable with talking about money and finances, learn skills and tools to reduce stress about financial issues, and develop a better relationship with money.

So are you asking yourself, what is financial therapy, would it help me? Financial therapy is focused towards helping the individual, couple, or family become more comfortable talking about financial issues or its stressors, identifying reasons for thoughts or behaviors around spending, saving, or money in general, and building better skills and tools to manage money and achieve financial goals. It is strengths based and seeks to motivate, support, and educate people to make both positive behavioral and cognitive changes in their lives. Just reducing stress about money and financial issues can have a positive impact on a person’s overall well-being and health.

Individuals and couples often seek financial therapy for a range of reasons. Maybe it is an individual who feels that they are unworthy of nice things or spending money on themselves, which could lead to difficulty making decisions on purchases or missing out on positive life experiences. Or a couple who have issues around who manages the money, who makes the significant financial decisions, if there should be joint accounts, and how their income is spent, which leads to frequent arguments and stress in their relationship. It could be the employee who is “stuck” in a position and is afraid to ask for the well deserved raise. It could be the family struggling to make ends meet, who just needs to learn better tools to budget and manage their spending. Maybe it is the shopaholic who gets a boost of happiness every time he or she buys something, only to become hopeless or stressed when the credit card bills come. Or it could be the person who is so driven by making money that they are willing to do whatever it takes, even if it results in negative behaviors and destroying relationships. There are so many reasons for seeking financial therapy, but the overall theme is that money is causing some type of stress or discomfort in your life and/or relationships.

So you’ve determined that there are financial issues, stress, or difficulties in your life that need to be resolved, now what? First, seek out one of our financial therapists to set up an appointment to start your journey towards a better relationship with money. Second, be open to and honest in discussing money, your thoughts and beliefs about it, possible underlying causes regarding your stresses, what you were taught to think about and do with money growing up, and what money means to you and in your life and/or relationships, among many other topics. Third, stick with it. Therapy in general can often be uncomfortable to people when starting out, and even more so when it is a topic, such as money, that we have been taught not to talk about. But you will become more comfortable and you will begin to see the positive impact in your life. You will learn tools and skills to improve your behaviors and thoughts about money, which in turn will improve your well-being and relationships. It might seem like a difficult journey, but in the end it will be worth it to you, your partner, your family, and your wallet!