In one study, it was revealed that money is the leading cause of stress among Americans, more so in the millennials. It is a bigger problem than personal relationships or even career. Worse, the numbers are increasing year-on-year.
“Some stress is unavoidable but if you can keep perspective then it can be a whole lot easier.” – Gretchen Flores, MA LPC LCPC
Financial counseling has proven itself useful in helping people get to that point of gaining control over their finances and thereby, achieve financial stability. In a recent study by the Money Management International, 86% of employees who receive financial counseling experience reduced stress levels about money. In yet another study, financial counseling has helped people reduce their debt levels, save up for their retirement, and secure financial investments.
However, financial counseling can only do so much as the fulfillment of its intended benefits would ultimately lie on the person undergoing counseling. Here are a few tips to make financial counseling work for you:
- Open Up Regarding Your Real Emotions
The starting point for every financial counseling journey is for the therapist to know and understand the emotions underlying your money-related decisions. According to Molly Bowman, MS, LPC, “Therapy is intended to be a place to carefully and safely start to turn toward whatever it is you’ve got.” There is a reason behind every financial goal. There is emotion behind every spending behavior. It may be traced back to your financial experience way back childhood. It is best to open up your true feelings when it comes to money for the therapist to provide better and more fitting financial advice.
- Be Transparent With Your Priorities
After speaking up about your true emotions, we take it to the next level by being explicit about your priorities. Moving forward, what are the things that you want to pursue in your life? Is there a specific timeline within which you want to achieve your financial goals? Maybe you aim for a car in a year or two, then a house after five years? Or perhaps you wish to stock up your money first in passive income investments?
- Get Ready To Change The Way You Handle Money
Starting from your priorities, the counselor would then give insights as to the need and feasibility of your financial goals. This period is when your therapist could guide you with the specific steps that can help you become financially stable.
At this point, the most crucial part is your willingness to accept a new perspective. Your counselor would be very enthusiastic to help you focus on the things that could help and weed out the things that could only make your financial situation worse.
- Develop Financial Discipline Through Application
Once you have already been coached about the general part, which is goal-setting and priorities, followed by the specific stage, which is composed of the particular tasks you need to accomplish, it is time for the most critical yet most challenging aspect – application. It’s one thing to have learned, and a whole different thing to have done it.
Maybe you have to give up a few of your guilty pleasures or pursue the things you didn’t care for in the past. Financial stability and success indeed demand fiscal discipline.
- Be Humble Enough To Seek Guidance
Sarah Rumpf, MA, LPCC says “You’re considering therapy because something doesn’t feel right. You want relief, healing, or increased insight.” Since no one among us is perfect, no matter how hard we try to keep within the bounds of our financial plan, we would frequently see ourselves falling short of what it takes to be financially successful.
Be encouraged by the fact that your failures never really matter, unless you decide to stop trying. It pays to exercise humility and go back to your counselor to ask for help on how to get back on track. They are more than willing to walk with you on your way towards financial freedom.
The key to the success of every financial counseling journey is the recognition that it is a two-way tango. The beautiful part, though, is that regardless of our current situations, financial stability is within reach, and some people would give their time to help us achieve that if we trust them and ourselves enough.