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HerMoney Podcast Episode 183: On The Couch With Financial Therapist Amanda Clayman 

Kathryn Tuggle  |  October 16, 2019

"You can't change your financial circumstances overnight. It takes sustained effort and application." 

That’s just a bit of the wisdom shared by this week’s HerMoney podcast guest, financial therapist and Prudential financial wellness advocate Amanda Clayman. In her role, Amanda guides her clients on how they can positively change their overall approach to their finances, and adjust their thinking in areas that may be holding them back. 

Over the last decade, the concept of financial therapy has become more mainstream, as more people have sought to discover why and how our thoughts and feelings may shape our financial choices

Amanda says she was led to her profession after seeing “how money was so misunderstood, and how much suffering we really take on in our lives because of this misunderstanding.” Facing her own financial struggles has better enabled her to guide her clients: “I was in a pattern where I would just shut my eyes and spend,” she says, describing some of the money habits she had to re-learn. 

“I had been engaging with money only as a form of self punishment,” she says, discussing a time when she erroneously believed she had to strip away all the small joys and comforts from her life in order to pay off debt. After some self-discovery, she was able to make the mindset shift from thinking of budgeting as a constraint that forced her to say “no,” to a tool that has allowed her to say “yes” to the things she wants most in life. 

At the end of the day, Amanda says she tries to impart to all her clients that money is a tool that should be used consciously — a tool that allows us to take care of ourselves and the things and people we care most about, both today and in the future. She describes why her approach to money is based on holistic health and wellness, and tells us what many of her clients have in common. (Hint: No one shows up to financial therapy because they want to check in and brag about how well they’re doing with their money!) In many cases, people seek her guidance because of a conflict in their family, or a desire to finally put a stop to a recurring problem. Amanda starts each session by helping her clients to establish a framework for where money is or isn’t working in their lives, and then digs into where and why money may be causing them anxiety. 

Amanda also offers up her thoughts on the automation of our finances — sometimes “set it and forget it” can separate us too much from our money. “I fully embrace and appreciate automation, but it takes us away from being conscious,” she says. In other words, automation is a place that we want to get to, but there needs to be a period where we are highly engaged with our money before we can allow ourselves to disengage. 

In her role as a financial therapist, Amanda has guided hundreds of couples on their path to understanding one another’s differing money styles, and has helped them “excavate under the surface” so they can start solving the real problems. (As opposed to just arguing about who is “right”… No one is, but often we so desperately want our partner to validate our point of view that it results in conflict!) 

Lastly, Amanda shares her thoughts on why money is such a sensitive and powerful thing, and offers her tips for the best things we can all do to feel positive and confident about our finances on a daily basis. She leaves us with some powerful philosophy to mull over as we look to make more empowered money decisions: “Don’t live so in service of the future that you miss out on the joys of today. And similarly, don’t be so focused on today that you aren’t taking the necessary steps to have safety in the future.” 

Then, in Mailbag, Jean and Kathryn talk about the pros and cons of closing credit cards you no longer use, what to do if you worry you’ll have too much money saved for college, and the myriad options for how child-free individuals can leave a legacy behind. And in Thrive, Jean gets serious about elder abuse — who’s at risk, how to prevent it, and what to do if you suspect it. 

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