Financial Control: One Step at a Time

jacobted Behavioral Finance, blog, Your Loved One Has An Addiction

I recently began providing personal financial coaching services to a group of women who are currently at a rehab facility in Utah. I was extremely nervous, afraid if I could not gain their attention and trust, that this would be my first and last class. I became frozen with fear, and not knowing exactly what I was afraid of made matters worse.

And then it hit me. I was setting unrealistic expectations of myself. And I realized that my real fear is that I did not want the group to be so overwhelmed, that doing nothing would seem like the safest choice. At that moment I realized that if I am going to change people’s attitudes toward their personal financing, I needed to remember that every journey begins with a single step.

Today, with so much information available, with so many financial institutions offering so many products, it is easy to become paralyzed. That is why the first step is the most important: take control of your finances. And as I discussed this notion with addicts, I quickly realized how defensive addicts in recovery became when I mentioned the word control.

To them, they felt that they were about to get another lecture on how they need become better at managing a household budget, how they were spending more than they were making. And in some cases, they saw it as more proof that they are just a child who is unable to do anything for themselves.

But when I explained that I am talking about taking control of the process: developing a process for managing your financial affairs through the deployment of technology, I knew I got their attention!

I was able to shift the discussion away from them ceding control to someone else and towards them gaining control of their life. Through the use of technology, it is possible for them to achieve a level of control, transparency, predictability, and reliability as they learn to execute the basic financial transactions necessary to live an independent sober life.

As an industry, we need to provide the proper access to and training in the latest personal finance technology.  We can do better!