Who knew that you could go to therapy to break bad money habits? Psychologists call the problem a "money disorder," and say it afflicts large numbers of consumers. And why should a money addiction be treated (or not treated) any differently than any other widely-accepted addiction? They say it shouldn't.
Like those with addictions to gambling, drugs, shopping, or other potentially destructive behaviors, people with serious financial problems may need professional help. Money problems don't just include those who overspend, borrow too much, lie about their finances to their spouse, or use money to enable the bad behavior of others. Underspending and hoarding money can be problems as well, and psychologists are helping consumers with all of these problems.During these tough economic times, I find myself being more frugal and trying to cut corners where I can. That's probably a natural reaction but for someone who has a problem with money already, the economic stress may be too much.
For those who need help there are intensive programs providing group therapy and individual financial counseling. The cost can easily run in the thousands, however. But that might be a small price to pay if it keeps someone from building up a lifetime of debt, creating a train wreck of a credit history, or otherwise getting into deep financial trouble.
Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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