I recently had the pleasure of attending the Financial Therapy Association Annual Conference in San Diego, CA. This was an extremely rewarding experience and I must give kudos to the President of the Financial Therapy Association (and my former mentor), Ms. Megan Ford, for helping put together such an extraordinary event.
I knew almost immediately that I would have to write about this event because of all the valuable reminders I received about how money can influence relationships. So today I bring to you the Top 5 reasons you should see a Financial Therapist…
1. Money is Power.
You may have heard this saying before, but it can be interpreted in many ways. When it comes to financial therapy money and power may be connected in terms of power dynamics in relationships. Whether that relationship be a romantic one, a parent-child relationship, or even sibling relationships, people often use money to exert power over someone else. For financial therapists, we may see a couple that is struggling with one breadwinner holding their contribution to the household over their partner. One partner may feel powerless in the relationship due to the fact that they do not contribute financially to the relationship. With parent-child relationships, it is not uncommon to see wealthy parents withholding inheritances from a child until they accomplish certain things, such as, getting married or having children. Or in other instances withholding money due to the child not marrying the “right person”. In sibling relationships, we may see siblings arguing over their share of finances after a parent’s passing. Or money being used as a drive for competition between siblings.
All of these examples are ways in which people use money as a source of power and manipulation of the individuals they are in relationships with. Financial therapists would have the tools to bring this power dynamic to light and help individuals, couples, or families decide on more healthy ways of dealing with money in their relationships.
2. Money is Confusing.
This is almost self explanatory. Whether you are struggling with figuring out your taxes or finding a way to save, financial therapists are equipped to educate you about options, resources, and ways of increasing your confidence in your ability to deal with the confusion that can be money. Feeling helpless or depressed about your money situation can hinder you from making the moves necessary to get yourself out of it. Though financial therapists do not provide direct advice on what to do with your money, they can help build the self-confidence needed to make a decision for yourself.
3. Money is Stressful.
We have all been stressed about money at one point or another in our lives. Stress caused by money can look like not knowing how much money to spend on a Secret Santa gift or being stressed about whether you have enough money to pay the rent next month. When dealing with stress related to finances it can be helpful to talk to your friend, family member, or your regular therapist, but they may not be able to educate you on ways you can not just reduce your stress, but deal with the money that is the cause of that stress. Visiting a financial therapist can help with both sides of this issue. Gaining an understanding of your financial situation and gaining coping skills for life’s stressors together can be the most effective way of dealing with money stress.
4. Money is Scary.
Fear is something that can exist in our lives in many ways, shapes, and forms. When it comes to money, fear often shows up in someone’s need to save every last penny or someone else’s need to spend every last dime. The fear of losing your home or of never truly enjoying life can make people spend or save in very drastic ways. A financial therapist can help an individual or couple understand why they treat money the way they do and how fear is keeping them from utilizing their money in different ways.
5. Money has Value.
This brings us to the value of money. Obviously money has a monetary value, but money is often times deeply rooted in our core values. Coming to a financial therapist can help you understand where your values around money lie. Clients often realize the money struggles from their childhood have influenced how they relate to money. Some might realize that they were spoiled as a child, so they continue buying whatever their heart desires whether their bank account can afford it or not. While others grew up watching their parents’ struggle to make ends meet, and so they focus (maybe too much) on being successful in their career and saving extensively for a “rainy day”. These are just a couple of examples of the ways our values are influenced by money. What are some values you have around money?
At the end of the day, money influences our lives in multiple ways and understanding those ways can help us better manage our finances. Seeing a financial therapist can be a great way of figuring out how money influences your life and how you might be able to get yourself in a better financial situation. How could a financial therapist help you?