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Numbers May Not Be the Answer

What to ask clients who want to change their financial behaviors

Do you have clients who want to change their behaviors related to money? Here are seven
questions to ask before jumping into the numbers and looking for logical ways to solve their

  1. Have you faced this same financial challenge before? This could be anything such as: bankruptcy, being in debt from the holidays, losing opportunities because of waiting too long to act and being taken advantage of financially in a relationship.
  2. Do you feel like gremlins enter your brain and take it over causing you to spend or make financial decisions you later regret?
  3. Does it feel like, as hard as you try, you end up in the same spot, regardless of how much money you have?
  4. Do you know what you need to do to spend less, save more, invest or get organized, but it’s hard to take the first step and follow through?
  5. Is it a struggle to appreciate and spend the money you have? That may mean you can’t use it to bring joy or benefit to yourself or others.
  6. Are there people or circumstances in your life that hold you back from earning more or reaching your goals?
  7. Does the thought of being financially secure or even wealthy have a downside for you?

If a client answers YES to any of these questions, it’s likely that a budget or financial plan and good intentions alone will not lead to success….something else is going on to sabotage their efforts.

Often this is at a subconscious level and clients don’t see the connection between some experience or message in their past and their behavior. If your expertise is financial knowledge, there’s no need to feel you must also be a therapist and connect those dots. However, if you really want to serve your client well, approach them with curiosity about their life and be prepared to be able to refer your client to programs or professionals that can help when necessary. You may also benefit from working in collaboration with counselors in non-profits, on campus or with clinicians in private practice.

Although many people have a problematic relationship with money, most of your clients will be just fine. However, if taking this extra step helps even just one or two clients, it would be worth the extra effort and could be life-changing for them.

Syble Solomon
Creator of Money Habitudes®