Money is not something we openly talk about. In fact, many of us were taught not to talk about it at all. We were taught not to talk about how much we make, what are finances are like and to never, ever ask someone else what their income is. However, as we grow up, we quickly realize how important money is. We also realize, money is not just about the numbers.
Money affects everything. It affects our confidence, our lifestyles, relationships and even our self-worth. It comes with a lot of emotional baggage that we weren’t really ever taught how to deal with. So what are we to do if money issues really start to affect our daily lives? Especially if we have no one to openly talk about it with? Enter financial therapy.
What is Financial Therapy?
If you have been reading The Middle Edit lately, you know we have been discussing money on a weekly basis with the help of Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a financial therapist in Ann Arbor, Michigan and founder of Mind Money Balance.
Financial therapy is a fairly new field and Lindsay talks more about it in her interview post, but to keep it incredibly brief, a financial therapist deals with the emotional side of money. They help you deal with your relationship towards money and how it mentally affects you so that you are better able to focus on your financial goals.
I recently mentioned in my post, 5 Ways to Make Mental Health a Priority, that I truly believe in the power of therapy. I’m a strong believer in that talking through our emotions is truly the only way to move forward. So, needless to say, I am all about this financial therapy and was incredibly excited to sit down with Lindsay and see what it’s all about.
My Experience With a Financial Therapist
Going into my first session with Lindsay was a little nerve wracking. I was expecting her to immediately ask to see my bank statements, then I would sit there in silence as she analyzed my spending and saving habits.
Thankfully, that was not the case!
The session started like most therapy session, but with a financial twist. Her first question: “what are your current money or financial stressors?” For me saving is a big one. Always has been. Once I told her that she asked a few more questions about my spending/saving habits in the past as well as what I’m currently doing to save money.
I’m not going lie, this was definitely a little intimidating. It’s funny because, like I said, we are never really taught to talk about money and even for me, someone who loves to talk about pretty much everything, it was weird to actually be talking about it with someone other than my husband.
Once she got a little bit of my background she asked me several questions about my behaviors/thoughts towards money that I was to answer True or False. These questions consisted of things like:
“I avoid opening my bills”
“Pay my credit card in full every month”
“Don’t know what my net worth is”
“Shop with the intentions of returning things, but end up keeping them”
Among many others. After we went through the series of true or false questions, Lindsay read allowed 4 different categories or types of money behaviors and I was to inform her which one I felt I most related to. I ended up identifying with the “worshiper” ideology. Once I confirmed that, she read me the strengths/weaknesses of that type. This was actually interesting! While I felt I strongly related to the strengths of the specific type I chose, I did not at all relate to the “weaknesses” or the reasons behind why people grow up to identify with this ideology.
What I Learned in Financial Therapy
As our session continued and Lindsay I discussed more about my spending/saving habits, she pointed out something that I really hadn’t pieced together.
She asked me how I felt when I put money into savings, “depressing” was the word I used. Then, I was asked how I felt when I spent money, I answered with “fulfilling”. She then went on to say that “it’s almost like you have decided saving means you are never going to get it”. Ha! Exactly.
So what did I learn? I learned that I am in a need for mindset change. Okay, well I knew this prior because, like I said, I’ve never been a great saver. However I never really realized what my mindset was prior to this session. Lindsay suggested that I “check-in” regularly with that mindset by journaling or by discussing with friends and/or family.
Lindsay also provided the words I used most often during our session, which I found interesting. My words were; successful, independent, need and immediate.
Would I Continue with Financial Therapy?
Absolutely. While I don’t feel like my emotions/feelings towards money are in any way debilitating, there are certainly things I can work on. Because of that, I think a regular financial therapy session, just like a regular therapy session, could be incredibly beneficial!