The Benefits of Financial Therapy

In the growing field of financial therapy, clients examine their money attitudes and spending decisions.

In the growing field of financial therapy, clients examine their money attitudes and spending decisions.
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On its website, the Financial Therapy Association Network lists more than three dozen members who provide financial therapy services. Although the field is in its infancy, Kahler predicts that more financial planners will pursue counseling or psychology coursework in the future. "Those are going to be the awesome planners of the future," he says.

For those who may not have access to a financial therapy professional in their backyard, some offer services via Skype or other technology. Whether meeting in person or online, it's a good idea to ask the planner whether he or she has undergone financial therapy of their own. "As the therapist, you can only take a client as far as you've gone yourself," says Dave Jetson, a family and financial counselor who partners with Kahler. Jetson says his experience with financial therapy helped him overcome the "spend it while you can attitude" of his childhood, and put away money for retirement or a rainy day.

There is no official designation or certification for financial therapists yet, so Britt advises to find out their educational background and any licenses he or she might hold. She suggests asking these questions before hiring someone:

  • What's their average number of client meetings?
  • How do they get paid? It is an hourly fee?
  • Are they getting paid off commission from a referral from a financial planner?
  • Is the fee insurance-based?
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    Answers to these questions can help determine if the financial therapist has any biases. Britt also says to ask how they define financial therapy themselves because approaches and definitions vary from person to person.