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How to find help to overcome financial worries

How to find help to Overcome financial worries

Psychologists and some enlightened financial advisers recognise that many people with deep-seated problems with debt, money worries and financial insecurity are not irresponsible or deliberately obtuse. Rather, they have never learned how to manage their money effectively, and may spend years being afraid of dealing with their finances because of childhood conditioning and negative influences that affect their self worth and confidence.

Why Money Worries Can Have Their Roots in Childhood

Suze Osman, a personal finance expert, says this about her own experiences in the Introduction to her book The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom (Crown Publishing, 1997) : “When I was very young I had already learned that the reason my parents seemed so unhappy wasn’t that they didn’t love each other; it was that they never had quite enough money even to pay the bills. In our house money meant tension, worry, and sorrow.”

For many years the financial industry has been reluctant to accept that people may have deep-seated issues regarding their finances, and that they struggle with saving money, budgeting effectively and keeping ahead of their bills.Whatever they do, they end up further in debt or totally confused by what seem like complicated budgets and impossible financial problems.

Can People Change Their Attitude to Managing Money?

This can all be changed. There are several ways for people to alter their attitudes to personal finance and to discover a new confidence in their approach towards getting themselves out of debt and managing money.

The first step in coming to grips with years of financial chaos is to recognise that these are problems that cannot be handled alone. If they were, people would not be struggling year in year out, trying to make ends meet and never climbing out of that deep hole of debt.

One of the most helpful people in the first instance can be a general practitioner, who can offer support, referrals to whatever help or support groups may be thought appropriate, and monitoring to check for any signs of underlying depression, illnesses or associated health issues. Being at a low ebb financially and emotionally makes people more vulnerable than usual, and changing deep seated thought processes and behaviours is not easy.

A general practitioner referral to one or a combination of the following resources can be of great help in understanding personal relationships with money, fear of money, and for changing strategies and behaviours that have proved unhelpful in the past. Most of these resources are available on the NHS and will therefore be free at point of delivery, but referrals will depend on the availability of practitioners in the local catchment area.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Can Help People Deal with Money Worries

The Royal College of Psychiatrists describe CBT in the following way: “Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the “here and now” problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, it looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.” CBT is available on the NHS although waiting times may vary between a few weeks to several months.

Self-Help Books For Coping With Fear of Money

One or more of the “Overcoming” series of books can be used as a personal study course to learn new techniques for understanding and then changing current behaviours. These books are highly recommended by NHS professionals.

Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) for Online Treatment of Fear of Money

The two following online suggestions are used frequently by the NHS for treating fears and phobias and can be used to deal with fear of money, low self esteem and other problems that can be associated with long term money problems. Free access can be provided by a general practitioner to fearfighter.com and Beating the Blues.

Use Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) To Learn New Ways of Managing Money

NLP is a way of understanding the structures of personal thoughts and behaviours and then modeling those structures in such a way as to improve or change them. It is not “programming” so much as readjusting thoughts and behaviours to achieve healthier and beneficial replacements, and learning healthy, constructive ways of managing money. NLP Practitioners may be accessible on the NHS via GP referral depending on availability in the area.

Hypnotherapy Can Alter Money Management Behaviours

A method of suggesting changed behaviours, thoughts or attitudes by means of therapeutic suggestion during a trance-like state. Hypnosis is well regarded by the medical profession and is used to treat a wide range of conditions. This is usually available on the NHS through GP referral.

Changing thoughts and behaviours with any or all of these resources takes time, patience and courage, but success can be achieved. Rather than spend a lifetime in poverty or debt it is possible to move on to being a person confident with money management, free of a fear of money and with money worries dealt with, and a New Year can be the right time to make that decision. The prospect of being financially independent by the end of the year must surely be good motivation and an exciting goal to achieve; a liberation from the years of being in financial trouble as well as from the influences that led to the problems in the first place.

Disclaimer: the author is not a registered therapist or financial adviser, and medical advice in the first instance is strongly advised.