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Financial therapists aid couples with money woes

May 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Paige Buck and her husband are happily married homeowners, but it's not always that way when it comes to discussing bills and budgets.

"Eveything would result in arguments or frustration or tears," said Buck.

The couple needed help expressing their financial feelings, so they saw a financial therapist.

"We weren't happy with the way we talked about money, or the decisions we were making," she said.

Financial therapy, also known as money coaching, is gaining popularity with couples and even singles. Saundra Davis with the Financial Therapy Association says it's the basic understanding that feelings and finance go hand-in-hand.

"Financial therapy is the place where money and our personalities connect. When there's a difference between what we know and what we do," Davis said.

Money coach Olivia Mellan says a good financial therapist will identify and treat the emotional blocks that prevent you from putting a financial plan into action.

"Overspending, money avoidance, money worrying, excessive hoarding and saving, inability to communicate about money," Mellan said.

For Buck, communication was key. She and her husband realized they felt guilt over spending.

"My husband and I would look at each other and be like, 'I didn't know you felt that way,'" she said.

There are no certifications to become a financial therapist, so it's important to do your homework.

"The term financial therapist is not a clearly defined term. It is an emerging field. So what we have is a collaboration of financial planners, therapists, coaches, and other professionals who work together," Davis said.

The financial therapy association can be a valuable resource.

"Make sure that you're comfortable with the professional that you're working with," Davis said.

After seeing Davis, Buck feels financially and emotionally healthy.

"We're saving for short term and long-term goals that we had never even faced or even had the courage to look at before," she said.

Financial therapy can cost anywhere from $50 to upwards of $350 an hour, depending on your needs. But the good news is many therapists are willing to work around your budget, so don't be afraid to ask them.


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