financial therapy

How Financial Therapy Helps at Different Life Stages

financial therapist financial therapy financial wellbeing premarital financial counseling Oct 31, 2022

Therapy is becoming more socially acceptable and less taboo than it ever was before, and people are embracing new perspectives on how therapy can help them work through obstacles of all sorts and accomplish their goals. Therapy isn’t just for your fears in life and your relationships. Therapy can be about money too. Financial therapy could be the tool you need to break through your financial fears, your pile of debt, and even help you reach a level of financial freedom that goes beyond an amount of money, creating a sense of confidence and peace. But how, exactly can financial therapy help you? And at what stages in your financial journey? 


Finding the Right Finance Professional


Many types of finance professionals can help you accomplish your financial goals in different ways. Understanding the difference between financial planners, therapists, and more can help you find the right professional for your financial situation. Finding the right professionals, mentors, and friends for your needs is key to building a solid support system on your financial journey. 


Financial Planners, Financial Counselors, and Financial Therapists: What’s the Difference?


Financial Planner


Financial planners help their clients create systems to reach their long-term financial goals. Financial planners help individuals and businesses make long-term plans with money and strategies to make it work best over time. A financial planner can help you with planning and general advice on:


  • Investments
  • Taxes
  • Retirement
  • Estate planning


Financial Counselor 


Financial counselors help people build their overall financial health with skills like budgeting, saving, and making plans to pay off debt. Financial counselors often help low-income families build financial skills while navigating public assistance benefits and making short-term plans. Financial counselors can help you:


  • Save for a house, wedding, or baby
  • Pay down student loans, personal loans, credit cards, and medical debt
  • Prepare financially for an emergency fund, college, or transitions like divorce

Financial Therapist


Financial therapy includes short and long-term mental, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and financial support. Financial therapists help clients improve their mental and financial health with an all-encompassing approach. Beyond financial details, a financial therapist can help you find better ways to cope with financial stress and help you prioritize your mental health in the midst of big financial changes. Financial therapy can help you if:


  • You don’t know where your money goes
  • You can’t break the cycle of debt
  • You spend more money than you make or you spend impulsively
  • You want to make a plan to avoid lifestyle creep
  • You want to role model healthy money relationships to your children
  • You want to create a legacy for your children and grandchildren
  • You are experiencing a life transition such as marriage, divorce, illness, and/or a wealth transfer
  • You want to use money as a tool to create options in your life including financial independence or freedom

When Should You Work With a Financial Therapist?


A financial therapist is equipped to help you navigate all aspects of your financial life, including your emotions and behaviors. If you struggle with financial stress from avoiding, overspending, gambling, financial infidelity, or other money behaviors that hold you back, a financial therapist can help. If you find yourself stuck or overwhelmed with financial stress, a financial therapist can help you find new perspective, new coping mechanisms, and a new plan for moving forward. 


How Financial Therapy Helps at Different Life Stages


Financial therapy can support you through different stages of your life, from starting your financial journey to retirement and beyond. Having a support system in place to help you cope with life’s changes can help you feel more in control of your money and find more financially free in your day to day life. See how a financial therapist could help you in your own financial journey, no matter what stage of life you’re in or worried about facing down the road. 

Beginning Your Financial Journey 


Taking control of your money and having an active role in your financial journey is a huge step. A financial therapist can help you uncover any money beliefs or financial habits that hold you back while helping you build new rhythms to your relationship with money

Starting a New Relationship


Finances are essential to any partnership, and dealing with money as a couple can seem daunting. Financial therapy is a great tool to help couples get on the same page about money and learn how to talk about finances in a positive, healthy way while preparing for a successful future together. 

Creating a Life Plan


While many of us know we need to save for retirement and spend time making plans for goals we want to accomplish in the future, we often need help finding better ways to do it. A financial therapist can help you work through any blocks holding you back from taking action on your financial goals while making a life plan that leaves room for what you value most

Dealing with Life Transitions 


Coping with financial stress during monumental life changes can feel daunting. A new diagnosis, a divorce, a career change, or a major life transition can leave us scrambling to manage even the basics, let alone cope with all the new changes. Financial therapy can help you navigate not only your financial shifts but also build new rhythms and coping skills through the transition. 

Estate Planning / Retirement


Retirement years are supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, but many feel fear and financial uncertainty when facing retirement or planning their estate. A financial therapist can help guide you through the transition with room to process any feelings and emotions in a nonjudgemental place. Financial therapy can help you plan for or transition into retirement with confidence and space for a lifestyle you enjoy. 

How to Start Financial Therapy


If you’re interested in exploring financial therapy and how it can help you, consider a few different ways to get involved. 


  • Group Therapy/Work: Group therapy/work offers the opportunity to work through your money and emotions with a group of people passionate about a similar financial journey. Group therapy/work provides a built-in support network and more accessible pricing, making it an excellent option for beginners or those looking for a more affordable financial therapy option. 
  • Financial Therapy Course: Consider a set financial therapy package to accomplish a goal or a course geared toward your financial goals. Committing to a set amount of work and time for a course or therapy package can be a great way to support a life transition or create accountability. 
  • Work With a Financial Therapist: Search for a financial therapist in your area or for a qualified financial therapist online to meet with 1-on-1. Research any financial therapists to ensure their background and therapy approach are a good fit for your needs.


I would be remiss not to mention myself in your search for your financial therapist! For the last four years, I have offered financial therapy as a psychotherapist and a health and wellbeing social worker. I offer a breath of fresh air and a safe space to my clients who desperately want to build their financial and emotional balance and who are focused on creating a healthy relationship with money. My background and skills range from mental health and health social work to business and personal finance. My focus areas include working with premarital or early commitment couples, entrepreneurs, those experiencing life transitions, and general financial wellbeing.


I offer Group Therapy/Work and would love for you to join me and a group of like-minded individuals excited to move forward on their financial journey. Or, book a free consultation with me to see if working 1-on-1 with a financial therapist is right for you. 



Photo by Engin Akyurt:

Questions: email [email protected]

Mariah Hudler, MSW, MBA, CFT-I™ is a financial therapist, coach & consultant, who provides premarital financial counseling, financial therapy, financial coaching & consulting, and financial wellbeing services. She works with individuals, couples,  entrepreneurs, and groups to build their balance and create a healthy relationship with money. 

Disclaimer: This blog is for education only. Please consult with a qualified professional when you have any questions about your personal financial, tax, or legal situation. Information contained in this post is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace professional advice.

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