Friday, September 26, 2008

Monetary Mental Health

An interesting article from yesterday's New York Times, about the rise of "financial therapy."

The two women, a global celebrity and a Wisconsin divorcee trying to climb out from under a pile of bills, sought help in the budding field of financial therapy, where budget planning meets psychological counseling. They even went to a kind of money rehab, where, in six days of group therapy they dug deep into the roots of what psychologists call “money disorders,” the slew of unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors that are not as extreme as pathological gambling, kleptomania or compulsive shopping, but nevertheless afflict large numbers of people.

While it is difficult to pinpoint the number of patients or practitioners, experts in psychology and financial planning say the number of professionals offering to treat money disorders has multiplied in the last few years.

Although there are many self-help books on how to become rich, the fields of psychology and financial planning have been slow to link money and emotion. And money is still a great cultural taboo that is rarely discussed openly in this country, experts say.

The article brings up the rather disturbing potential for financial planning and therapy being provided jointly, which does seem a bit weird. But in general, I think it's a good thing-- if going to a therapist is what it takes to get people to confront these issues, more power to them. Of course there are plenty of online support groups they could join for free: like this site and my entire blogroll!


Nothing fancy to think of .. said...

The thing with people (wow I sound like some curmudgeon) is that they are bombarded with people telling them what to do with their money - that they don't know who to listen to. The problem even gets exasperated by people who even go to certified financial advisers and they tell them the right things, and people think they are full of crap.

Sometimes the only think you can do is to give them a swift kick in the arse and then they will finally listen to the good advice they have been getting for decades, and maybe change their lifestyles around. That is what I see this article proposing. That swift kick.

Gord said...

Yeah, I don't buy the psychological disorder thing. It's philosophy and values. A lot of people simply don't have any defined philosophy and values.

If people have a good reason to do something, they do it. They have to change their minds and not get torn between marketing campaigns that tell them that if they buy THIS ITEM, they will be successful. Have some inner confidence that they are doing the right thing.

That's all I try to teach on my website; and the younger the better. Be as productive as you can and share as much as you can. It's simple stuff and very effective if implemented.

Anonymous said...

At one point I was studying psychology and accounting at uni at the same time... people thought I was strange but it turns out I was just ahead of my time!

Admin said...

Or they can visit a Financial Dominatrix and We can whip them into shape and solve their financial problems for them.

Anonymous said...

It's a little bit too targeted at women, but I saw the book "Make Money, Not Excuses" get through to one of my close friends, where basic personal finance information was...not.

It addresses the rationalizations that people use for various poor decisions, and gives alternate ways of thinking about them.

It's interesting, if a little bit condescending at times.