Why Financial Therapy?
Psychotherapy focuses on improving psychological or emotional health and is important in treating a range of issues including anger, trauma, and loss. However, less so, has therapy focused on money and the emotions surrounding it. Nationally, we are experiencing a financial crisis or money “issues” including a multi-billion dollar deficit as well as significant personal, commercial and educational debt. These issues lend themselves to feelings of stress, anxiety, shame or fear. Money is not just numbers, it is personal and intertwined with our emotions and can significantly impact one’s quality of life.
Is Financial Therapy right for me? Some questions to consider.
Does my financial situation cause me stress or anxiety daily, weekly or monthly?
Do I make impulsive money decisions that I later regret or cannot manage financially?
Is my view of and/or interaction with money impacting the choices I make with my career, my life, my future?
Have my personal or professional relationships been strained by money?
Do I feel comfortable talking about finances with your partner?
Or take this Financial Health Self-Test
What does Financial Therapy Focus On?
Take some time to review examples of client’s who actively engage or have benefitted from financial therapy. There are many more aspects or topics to financial therapy. All names have been changed to protect the client’s identities.
Alicia and Rodrigo are in their mid-20s and engaged to be married. Combined they have over $100,000 in student loan debt and are both starting their careers. They are unsure whether to combine finances once married as Rodrigo is a spender and Alicia is a saver. They want to get on the same page about their finances but are unsure how.
Donelle is in her mid-20s. She has been with her partner for the last two years and believes she is ready to move the relationship towards marriage. She has over $80,000 in student loan debt and $13,000 in credit card debt. Her partner believes she has far less in debt. She has shame about the amount of debt and is fearful of losing the relationship if her partner finds out. She wants to increase her financial literacy and identify a debt reduction plan.
Brian and Adrienne are a married couple in their mid-30s. They are both employed and have a 3 y/o and a baby on the way. They have a large CA mortgage, 26,000 in student loans, two car payments and have started saving for retirement. Adrienne would like to stay home to look after both children but is unsure they can live on one income. They do not have a budget and use credit cards. They can’t agree on how to budget their money.
Drew is a 57-year-old divorced male with no savings, debt and little in retirement. He is an impulse spender and is paying for his daughter’s college on credit card. He was never taught how to handle money but he would like to retire at a decent age.
Samina is in her mid-20s and started a social media management business. Her client base has been steadily increasing. She took out a small business loan initially and has been paying that back but she would like to grow her business without taking more loans.
Hiro and Li have been married 14 years and have children in middle school. Hiro works full-time as a project manager in the construction industry. Li looks after the household. They have two children, one in primary school and one in middle school. Li has gambled $80,000 of the couples’ money at a local casino. Hiro was unaware until recently.
Leann is in her late 30s and reports that she has been hiding money from her husband. She has taken credit cards out in his name and has maxed them out. She reports he knows that she is a shopaholic but not to what extent. She is no longer able to meet minimum payments and thinks they may need to file for bankruptcy.
Ling Ling is in her mid-30s. In 2008 during the recession, she lost her house due to job loss. She was on unemployment for a period of time and racked up credit card debt that she was eventually able to pay off when she acquired another job. She has saved for a down payment and now has a healthy emergency fund. She would like to buy another house but becomes increasingly anxious when meeting with a mortgage lender. The thought of a potentially losing her house is overwhelming to her. She has not healed from her prior loss.
Dahim and Oksana are in their early 30s. They have two young children 3 and 5. Dahim works in his family’s business and makes about 45,000 a year. Oksana works part-time as an administrative assistant. They have a mortgage and car payments. They are in the initial stages of saving for retirement and college. Oksana’s parents passed away unexpectedly a year ago and the couple inherited $750,000. It remains in a bank account. They feel unsure what the next step. Oksana cites her grief and not understanding finances as reasons they have not decided what to do with the money.
Denny is in his late 20s and has been working for approximately 10 years for a company with a vested pension plan. He also contributes to a separate 401k. He is single and is 7 years into his 30-year mortgage. He has recently been hearing about Financial Independence, specifically, early retirement and is wondering how this could apply to him.
Bonnie is in her late 30s. She has about $16,000 left on her student loan. She has been paying down her loan over the last 10 years as it had low-interest rates. Her annual income is $80,000. She had a house but sold it as she moved geographical areas. She has money available for a down payment and has some in retirement but she would like to explore financial freedom. At present, she feels overwhelmed, anxious and unsure of how to successfully steer her financial life path.
Marquessa and Leroy are in their 40s and have 2 boys, a 2 y/o and a 4 y/o. Leroy’s mother, 77 y/o Sandra, is across the country, nearly bedridden, and will be without housing before long because Leroy’s aunt, with whom his mother has been living is on hospice. Sandra has not indicated what her housing wishes are once her sister passes away. The couple is unaware of Sandra’s income and assets and how long she will be able to sustain herself. The couple is fearful she will want to live independently away from them. They are anxious as they are unsure how they can afford to support her.