Barbara Hause, MBA Financial Counselor serves clients nationwide by phone and in person from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Barbara Hause, MBA

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Financial Counseling Saves Money and a Marriage

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A client, Donna, who has been coming in for financial counseling for almost a year, recently said to me that paying for financial counseling seemed counter-intuitive to her. She found it hard to justify paying money when she and her husband, Jim, desperately needed it. So I asked her what brought her in. Donna went on to explain that she was so frustrated with their finances that she not only felt “out of control with money” but also out of control in her marriage, with her children and in her business. She was living with a lot of fear, frustration and anxiety.

When Donna tried to have conversations with Jim it seemed he had a different perspective on things. He was fully engaged in starting a new company and had a vision and expectation money would soon be coming in Donna on the other hand was much less optimistic especially when the economy came to a screeching halt.

Donna was self-employed so this put extra pressure on her to maintain a steady income. As time went on she and Jim became more dependent on retirement savings, a home equity line of credit and credit cards to pay monthly expenses and periodic expenses, like property taxes. Accumulating finance charges and paying early withdrawal fees to get money to cover the cost of day-to-day living expenses is costly. Donna said she felt like they were digging themselves into a deep hole and that they would never get out of it.

In spite of her counter-intuitive feeling about paying for financial counseling Donna decided to come in. After sorting through the financial details of their day-to-day money management and establishing priorities Donna started to feel better. Even though she and her husband still saw things differently she asked him to come in with her for financial counseling, which he did. The counseling sessions provided a neutral place and regular time to talk about each other’s perspectives regarding their finances. This stopped the fighting at home and helped them learn to talk about money in a less-confrontational way.

Donna says it would be hard to put a price tag on how much money they have saved by coming in for financial counseling. She knows it definitely got them through a rough and financially draining time in their marriage. Donna and Jim agree that taking a proactive approach with their money (planning before spending) not only has helped them save money short-term but will continue to help them save more in the future . . . a lot more than what they paid for financial counseling.