Currently Browsing: Financial Psychology

Does self-help work?

Many people will engage in a period of self-help before they will consider calling for a therapy appointment.
Sometimes self-help works well and sometimes it is actually harmful. The current estimate is that about 5% of people who engage in self-help endeavors end up being harmed by them. The greatest harm is done because of the following:

1. Unrealistic expectations that do not function as promised. The best-seller “The Secret” could easily encourage someone to believe that all you have to do is visualize and it will come true. A positive vision is necessary but not...

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Should I Use My Health Insurance for Therapy?

When you decide to see a licensed psychologist for therapy, you will have some choices to make about whether to use your health insurance if you have coverage. If your problem is serious and you cannot get treatment without the coverage, then the down side of using insurance is less important than the help you might get on a serious issue. In order to use insurance, it must be considered medically necessary and you will receive a diagnosis. Certain kinds of issues will not be covered with health insurance. For example, marriage counseling is rarely covered by insurance and many insurers will...

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Money and the Experience of Loss

The years since 2008 have been a strange and frightening time for so many of my patients, colleagues and friends. Those who were not hit by the downturn can still experience fear, waiting to see when if or when it will happen to them. Most of us have already experienced significant losses in our feelings of security, trust and well-being. The money losses we point to in the stock market, housing market and job market symbolize this for us, even if we have not yet sold anything at a loss; we are concerned about the futures we had planned.

Money losses are very painful. The money research...

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The double taboo: Money and death

It is hard to have an open, contained conversation about money that includes emotions and does not end up in a difficult interaction. This is a learned skill for most of us. It is even harder to have an open and contained discussion about money and death. Whether you want to know what is in your parents’ estates and how they plan to distribute or you want to deal with your own estate issues with your grown children, people in general are reluctant to address these topics.

The adults who are hesitant to ask information of their parents are afraid of being seen as greedy,...

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Helping young adults who are underfunctioning

Is there such a thing as a slacker young adult? Yes there is and they may be part of your own family or even living with you. I have recently been asked by 2 mothers who have children in their 20s living at home, how to help launch these grown children. First of all, not every child who lives in a multi-generational household is a slacker. Some are busy as students or full-time employees and it may be that these young adults are living at home to save money for something important or avoid student debt. In these cases, the children pay some of the living expenses of the house and do chores in...

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Happiness Research

What should you spend your money on? How effective is therapy at increasing happiness? The latest research from the Journal of Health Economics, Policy and Law ( Boyce and Wood) has an article entitled Money or Mental Health: Alleviating Psychological Distress with Monetary Compensation versus Psychological Therapy. This research analyzed data sets where thousands of people gave reports on their well-being. They compared well-being ratings for subjects who got a 4 month course of psychotherapy to the ratings of those who had a sudden increase in income through winnings and pay raises. The increase...

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ABC’s 20/20 program about Onsite

Last Friday night the Healing Money Issues program was featured on ABC’s 20/20. This is a 5 day live-in program at a retreat center in Tennessee that works with clients on money issues. I worked in this program as an assistant last november and learned a lot . Here is a link to the video if you would like to see it.  Healing Money Issues

On another note, I am starting my women and money ongoing group this fall. This is a group for women only as all the research and my personal experience leads me to believe that women work best on subjects...

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Helping Teens Through The Downturn

This is a particularly difficult time for teens whose families have been hit hard with the economic changes. Why especially hard for teens? This is a time when teens want to break away from their families more and turn to the peer group. Yet if the family is in crisis, it becomes very hard to break away just when everyone needs to pull together. So the changes work against the developmental task of the teen years. It is also possible that being with the peer group would involve money that is no longer available .To go out to eat or on field trips or other youth activities requires money that...

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Helping Your Child During Tough Economic Times

If you are one of the many Americans currently facing a downward turn in your lifestyle, you may be concerned about the impact on your children. Whether the changes are due to the high costs of living, a job or business loss or an unsustainable mortgage, your life and therefore your children’s lives will be changing. Recent research in the field of behavioral economics tells us that losses are twice as painful as gains are pleasurable. Learning how to cope with loss is a major life skill and challenge and your children will be watching to see how you handle it. This is how they will learn...

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Teaching Children About Money

It is important to be able to talk openly with your children about money and the money in the family. Sometimes the only time children hear the word is in the context of conflict, as when parents are arguing or they are being denied a treat. Having open talks begins to break the money taboo and teaches them that this an acceptable subject for a conversation, not just for an argument.

The concepts important to teach include how to spend wisely, how to save, how to invest and to accept that there are others in the world who have a different amount of money, both more and less than they...

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