Financial Therapy: the middle-class crunch

“What it means to be middle class hasn’t changed much — there’s a steady job, the ability to comfortably raise a family if you choose to, a home to call your own, an annual vacation. But what it takes to achieve all that has become more challenging.

The costs of housing, health care and education are consuming ever larger shares of household budgets, and have risen faster than incomes. Today’s middle class families are working longer, managing new kinds of stress and shouldering greater financial risks than previous generations did. They’re also making different kinds of tradeoffs.”

This article takes a close look at the monthly budget of four middle class families.

Financial Therapy with Elaine Korngold

Most therapists are trained to talk about issues such as sexual behavior or substance abuse eating, but not about financial issues and their significance. This is despite the fact that couples rank money as the top problem prior to marriage, and in the early stages of marriage. Money is one of the main reasons that couples argue or divorce. Money-related distress is common for middle class families.

This is where I can help. My professional background and my training give me a unique perspective on how money impacts individuals and couples. Frequently, it is not the lack of money that creates stress and anxiety, but how people mismanage their finances. I can help you clarify your values around money, identify the messages you received from your family, and understand what drives your money behaviors. For couples, I integrate Financial Therapy with Gottman Method Couples Therapy to help couples communicate more constructively and develop tactical skills to foster a healthy financial partnership. For compulsive behaviors related to money, such as shopping addiction or gambling, I offer Brainspotting therapy for addiction.

In my private practice I encourage clients to explore how their finances affect their emotional well-being through discussions about budgets, financial values, and core beliefs about money and spending. Research indicates that good financial health is important to reducing stress and increasing stability and satisfaction. With counseling, clients can begin addressing and resolving complex issues and emotions that manifest when they encounter financial stresses. Contact me to learn more.