If money has you feeling stressed out, you aren’t alone. A recent Capital One survey found that 77% of Americans are anxious about their finances. All kinds of factors can contribute to financial anxiety. Whether it’s a loss of income or a large expense that takes you by surprise, money has a unique way of affecting our emotions. It seems that mental health and financial wellness are intimately connected.
This is where financial therapy can come in. The main goal is to decrease negative feelings around money while boosting financial confidence. The Financial Therapy Association describes it as harmonizing mental, financial and relational well-being. Today we’re taking a closer look at financial therapy so you can decide if it’s right for you.
What does financial therapy focus on?
It essentially blends mental health counseling and financial planning. That means you’ll be getting professional guidance on both fronts. While a financial advisor may be able to provide the most practical advice, it may fall on deaf ears if you’re working through issues related to money. On the flip side, the best therapist in the world can only help you so much if they don’t have financial training. Financial therapy aims to bridge these gaps.
Your money mindset will likely be front and center because the way we think about money often dictates our financial behavior. Some common limiting beliefs may include:
- I don’t deserve wealth.
- Money is hard.
- There isn’t enough money to go around.
- I’m not good at saving/investing/budgeting/fill-in-the-blank.
- I can’t control my spending.
The right financial therapist will dive into these belief systems and help create awareness around them. From there, they can help you come up with financial strategies that are most likely to work for you. The end game is building a solid foundation from which financial well-being can grow.
What does financial well-being actually look like? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines it as:
- Having control over daily and monthly finances
- Having the capacity to absorb a financial shock
- Being on track to meet your financial goals
- Having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life
When all these pieces are in place, your finances will feel like something that empowers you—not stresses you out. But it can be hard to get there if your mindset is holding you back. For example, someone who has a lot of fear around money may be hesitant to invest. This, in turn, may block them from future investment returns that could grow their wealth over time. As a result, they may enter retirement with a smaller nest egg.
How to find a financial therapist
Recommendations are always a good place to start. If you already have a relationship with a mental health counselor or therapist, consider asking if they can refer someone who specifically focuses on financial therapy. Alternatively, you can search around online for a therapist with positive reviews. The Financial Therapy Association provides a free directory to help you find someone who can meet your unique needs.
Alternatives to financial therapy
If seeing a financial therapist isn’t within your budget right now, you can also look into credit counseling. It’s a cost-effective alternative, and most counselors provide financial education. In some cases, the simple act of boosting your financial literacy could be enough to change your mindset for the better. Just be sure to go with a reputable organization that has positive reviews as you’ll be sharing sensitive financial information. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is an accredited organization that might be worth exploring.
Changing your money mindset isn’t something that happens overnight. Everything from past trauma to fear of uncertainty can color the way we relate with money. Financial therapy could be a worthwhile resource that leads to financial empowerment and peace of mind. DailyPay is designed to achieve the same goal by allowing users to access their earned pay on their schedule.