When you need professional help in managing your financial life, you have a number of options. Financial therapy is one tool that is often overlooked. The therapist will work as your accountability partner to keep you focused on achieving your goals. They deal with the emotional aspects of money, saving, investing through the ups and downs of the stock market. They also help people stop unhealthy financial habits, including gambling or online shopping, or get over their fears of their personal finances. Find a financial therapist near you below and learn more on how they can help.
Financial therapy is more focused on the logical approach to money and taking emotions out of it. The professional therapist tries to help identify as well as address the emotional aspects of personal finance. As money can and often does bring stress, anxiety, jealousy, fear of missing out, regret, relationship troubles and other challenges to life. There is unquestionably an emotional aspect of financial literacy as well as finances and really everything having to do with money – therapy assists with that.
You can try financial planning, financial coaching, or credit counseling and maybe have some success with each of those approaches. Financial therapy is the most recent addition to the list. It’s been around since the year 2008 when a group of mental health professionals as well as financial planning experts put their expertise together to offer financial literacy as well as personal finance help of a new kind.
Certified financial planners can help you find the right financial strategies for your life, and implement them; psychologists and psychiatrists help you identify harmful thought and behavioral patterns, and change them. Financial therapists do a bit of both. They look at the relationship that you have with money, uncover how it influences your behavior, and help you attain your financial goals in a thoughtful methodical way. If you are like many other people who are struggling with their emotions or face anxiety when it comes to personal finances, it’s time to seek help from a professional, certified financial therapist near you.
If you’re someone who often struggles to save, pay off the debts or loans you owe, invest, budget, or spend, you need to recognize that you have emotional issues with money that need to change. Therapists are also a tremendous resource to take the emotions out of investing or saving for retirement, as many people sell or buy at the worst times due to their emotions. Financial therapy can help with that and much more.
Maybe the simplest way to think about it is that financial therapists are professional counselors who work to help people improve their relationship with money. Being illiterate when it comes to financial literacy will affect your wealth, maybe health and oftentimes your overall happiness in life. Whether it’s your goal to get out of debt or save for retirement, the financial therapist will work as your accountability partner to keep you focused on achieving your goals.
How do you know you need a financial therapist?
If you’re someone who often overspends or is scared to invest (or is too emotional about it), and you’ve tried to change your behavior or approach to money on your own without success, a financial therapist near you can help you understand what you’re doing wrong. They can also help you go into the feelings that you have about money. Whether you see money as a way to find self-respect and popularity or see it as something to jealously guard and to never part with, a financial therapist can help explain why your mind works the way it does, and get down to the root of your money problems.
Financial therapists aren’t financial planners; they aren’t the best people to turn to if you’re able to follow good financial advice, and simply need someone to tell you what to do. Financial therapists help you when there’s something about your mental makeup that makes it hard for you to follow sensible financial literacy advice that most reasonable people would be able to go with. They can help with discipline and keep you on track with your goals.
What happens in financial therapy?
When you first start with a financial therapy program, your therapist will ask you what you hope your financial future will look like, and what would have to happen for you to believe that your dreams were realized. The process will often (and usually be most effective) if it involves your spouse or partner as well. The therapist asks you questions to understand how you deal with and think about money, uncovers unhealthy patterns or stress, and brings them out in the open. They may have you complete tests, ask hypothetical as well as the “hard questions” questions to try to understand you and how you view money.
Typically, your financial therapist will then work with you (as well as partner if applicable) to set up short, mid, or long term goal(s). They may be 3-month or 6-month or longer goals as well. After that time, he or she will meet on a recurring basis to evaluate how much you have accomplished and what the next steps are towards your end goal. They will talk about why you may or may not be hitting those goals, and discuss how your emotions come into play with the goals.
After working with a financial therapist for a while, people typically become area of their emotions (which is always a goal); of what causes them to spend, not save, compulsive shop, live beyond their means and more. Or identify what about money that causes them anxiety or financial stress. As time goes on, the goal of therapy is to help people become financially literate enough to make smart decisions on their own and take full responsibility for their personal finance as well as emotions.
There is a difference between knowing what you should do and actually end up doing it. Emotions and lack of logical thought often cause people to not do the “right thing” when it comes to their finances. That’s why so many fail at financial literacy as well as money management. They know that they should stick to a budget. They know that it’s not good to rack up their credit card debt by buying that expensive TV or taking a 7 year loan for a car they can’t otherwise afford. However, few people have enough discipline to act upon what their inner voice tells them. And before they know it, they are deep in a financial mess that they don’t know how to get out.
Financial therapy bridges the gap between knowing what to do, understanding the love/hate relationship with money and the actual implementation of those goals. Your financial therapist won’t sell you the information you can easily find with a simple web search. They don’t tell you general advice that you already know. They are there to act as your accountability partner, to make sure you stick with the plan, to stress discipline and carry out the plans until completion.
If you have trouble saving money because you crave the positive feelings that you get when you spend, your therapist will attempt to connect you with the positive feelings that you felt at some point in the past when you did save money. Or if you are scared or need help to curb your emotions when you invest in the stock market, or find yourself investing or selling at the worst times, the financial therapist will help you navigate those emotions.
Financial therapy is all about the end results. By shifting your perspective, the financial therapist can help you understand as well redefine the problem. They will work with you to come up with approaches from different angles to solve how you feel about the issue. Whether it’s getting rid of debts or investing unemotionally in the stock market that has been holding your retirement savings back, your financial therapist can help you gradually become aware of your thinking pattern and how it affects your decision making.
Once you realize what is holding you back, fixing it is a matter of persistence and determination. That’s when your financial therapists experience, counseling and expertise come in handy. They know how to ask the right questions that help you clarify your mind and prioritize the most critical things that count the most towards your end goal.
Find why should you seek help from a Financial Therapist
For those who set up a financial goal at the beginning of the year, do you struggle to achieve it by year-end due to your behaviors? Do you never manage to stay within a monthly budget because you shop too much for wants and not needs or get a “rush” from spending money? Do you gamble or hide your finances from your wife, husband, or partner? Do you invest in and buy stocks at the market high and sell stocks when the market bottoms out which all too many individual investors do? Is finances causes trouble in your marriage or relationships? Does the stock market bring you anxiety? Financial therapy can help with all of these issues and others.
Most people who are already in debt and struggling to makes ends meet don’t imagine paying someone to teach them about the emotional aspects of money. But it can pay dividends. However, not having the right guidance may be the first reason why you can’t stick to a budget or pay off debts. Financial therapy can help you reduce stress, anxiety, end bad habits or addictions, and help you achieve your long term goals.
Where do you locate a good financial therapist near you?
There aren’t many places that offer professional courses of study to train people to become financial therapists. The market is still evolving as time goes on as well. A good therapist usually combines a financial advisor type background as well as training and background as a professional counselor. As the professional needs to address a number of topics.
For this reason, financial therapists are usually people who have training in mental health counseling, as well as financial planning. There is one place for certified counselors. If it seems like you have financial problems that come from a fundamentally unhealthy relationship with money, you should consult the Financial Therapy Association (FTA) (phone number (609) 799-4900) for the name of a professional therapist near you.
By Jon McNamara