Financial Therapy: What it is and How to Get Help

There are many things that may prevent us from building a positive relationship with money. Working with a financial therapist may help you to get your finances on track.

Financial Therapy

Life can be stressful, and money management can be a big one. Sometimes a simple budget tweak is enough to right the ship for some but for others, it’s more complex. A change in financial circumstances or unhealthy behaviors and spending habits can create challenges with partners and throw obstacles in the way of achieving financial wellness. Our cultures, religions and gender identities can also play a significant role in how we view our relationship with money.

Shame and isolation that can be associated with financial stress can feel overwhelming at times, especially when someone has not dealt with the emotional and psychological aspects of their financial well-being. It is important to note that you’re not alone in this challenge. A recent study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) revealed that 60% of adult US respondents experienced post-pandemic financial stress or anxiety.1

Thankfully, there are professionals who may be able to help ease the burden and create a path forward.

What is financial therapy?

Financial therapists are trained professionals who can help you sort through your finances while providing the emotional support one would expect from a therapist. This type of therapy typically focuses on helping people to feel differently about money and to change saving and spending behaviors to improve well-being. Often, people who seek financial therapy are financially literate and know how to create a budget, they just can’t get past the emotional obstacles to put a successful plan in place.

What does a financial therapist do?

A certified financial therapist is uniquely positioned to help advise you on spending and investing while also being qualified to work with you on the underlying emotions that may be contributing to your stress, preventing you from reaching your goals or creating obstacles in your relationship with a partner. 

Financial therapists can help you set up a spending plan and work with you and or your partner to help create unity and devise a shared vision. You may be asked to consider longstanding views about money, and to write a script or story that describes your relationship with it. The work may be challenging but the payoff will be worth it.

How do you find a financial therapist?

The Financial Therapy Association (FTA) has a certification program that typically requires individuals to hold a degree or certification in finance or a mental health field as well as successful completion of their certification courses. This directory is a good place to begin your search.

How long does financial therapy take to complete?

While some people may be able to work with the therapist to get a plan in place in a few months, others who have more deeply rooted stress, worry and trauma may take longer to process their feelings and attitudes toward money.

If you decide not to pursue financial therapy, you can also consider contacting your financial institution to determine if they offer free consultation or money coaching. It may not be as in-depth as receiving financial therapy, but it could be a helpful place to start your journey toward financial freedom.

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