When in 1972, I put out my shingle as a Personal Financial Consultant in Tenants Harbor, Maine, I had no idea what I was in for! I thought that my experience and knowledge as a banker and stockbroker would be enough to deal with people’s financial concerns. Instead I found that my main task was to help people work through the anxieties and money issues they had that were stymieing their ability to manage. It was then that I found my real mission was to become a Financial Therapist instead of a consultant.

Many of people’s anxieties and issues come from the negative attitudes, fears, and frustrations about money they inherited from their parents or other family members. The fears and frustrations that were passed down from one generation to the next often cause people to avoid even trying to manage their money as they associate their own financial management with the projected feelings of family members. As a result people flounder in their own financial decision-making and find themselves caught in money issues that they can’t sort out.

These issues range from purely management problems such as not being able to face debts, lack of discipline in spending, and not taking responsibility for investments: To broader problems like not being able to discuss money with other family members, using money to control children, and letting others take their financial power.

I learned that exploring people’s experiences growing up with money using a simple Family Money Visualization gets them in touch with the core anxieties that they had taken on from their parents and others. By looking at these anxieties in the context of their family history with money, they are able to come to terms with their own anxieties knowing that they really aren’t responsible for many of their irrational feelings and actions. As they gain this perspective on themselves, they are better able to cope with their finances as they are no longer so susceptible to the negative emotions that they inherited.

I also introduce them to my single page Financial Summary. This summary is an invaluable tool for helping people resolve their management issues in that it provides a simple means for writing down, and analyzing their total financial picture. Using the financial facts on the summary to ground their emotions, they are then able to examine their issues in the context of their spiritual and practical reality during the various stages of life they pass through and find solutions that will bring them true peace of mind.

Over the years, I have used this summary to help people work through all sorts of spiritual and financial dilemmas, and many have found it to be the single most important tool for planning their lives.

At this point you may wish to select one of these tools and see how they work.

Tags: wealth visualization | free budget worksheets | financial anxiety | couples financial counseling