Horizon Blog

Financial Social Work: Improve Your Relationship with Money

November 10th, 2021

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Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure does help solve a lot of problems in our lives. We all have emotions and feelings toward money, and it’s important we develop and maintain ones that are healthy. Horizon’s Financial Social Work (FSW) Program uses an evidence-informed intervention to help you or a loved one develop and sustain a positive relationship with your finances.

What is Financial Social Work?

Financial Social Work (FSW) goes far beyond dollars and cents. For the past 25 years, Financial Social Workers have supported the belief that our financial actions revolve around behavioral and emotional changes. We have a connection to how we save, spend, earn, loan, share, and borrow money. This connection is the driving force behind most social determinants of health, and behind the vast majority of our distress.

Financial education in the United States is unfortunately not being taught to the vast majority of individuals. This includes developing an understanding of personal finance, financial behaviors, loans, borrowing, and interest rates, amongst many other key financial literacy skills. The FSW Program provides this critical education and helps promote personal financial security through behavioral changes and financial psychoeducation.

How does the FSW Program work?

Horizon’s FSW Program takes a practical and behavioral approach in regard to dealing with finances.

Phase 1: Stabilization
The first phase of Horizon’s FSW Program focuses on stabilization. We support you in reducing excessive and impulsive spending and help you learn how to prioritize, and pay off any outstanding debts you may have. Creating a budget can be restrictive in providing necessary support, which is why we guide you in developing a personal savings and spending plan instead. In doing so, you will feel more equipped to monitor and manage your money in a beneficial way.

Phase 2: Transitionary Period
The transitionary period focuses on furthering education about your finances. How do you use a savings account? What are best practices for saving? What does it mean to pay yourself first? How much should you be paying for your bills each month? The FSW Program provides insight on all of these significant financial questions, and more.

Phase 3: Behavioral Understanding
In response to making these changes in your financial decisions and behaviors, the FSW Program helps you explore the emotions, thoughts, and feelings surrounding these decisions. What are your values and beliefs around money? Where did these perspectives come from? Through a behavioral lens, the FSW Program provides impactful change on how you relate to and think about money. Once you understand your behaviors, have stabilized your finances and increased your assets, we work to empower you to diversify your assets for long term financial security.

Who can benefit from the FSW Program?

The FSW Program works across the whole financial spectrum. Regardless of financial upbringing, a lack of education around money can result in a number of difficult financial outcomes. Oftentimes, such outcomes can be traumatic and have a significant impact on one’s mental and emotional wellbeing. The FSW Program meets people where they are at, and brings them to a much better financial situation.

Why is developing a healthy relationship with money important?

One’s relationship with money is oftentimes a trigger for mental health concerns and emotional or behavioral challenges. Financial stress is one of the leading causes of suicide (read more here). Spending is often a trigger for fights with friends and loved ones, domestic violence, and substance use (read more here). Through developing a healthy relationship with money, you are not only investing in your financial wellbeing, but also your mental, emotional, and physical health.

How do I get involved?

If you or someone you know has stressors around making financial decisions, Horizon’s Financial Social Work Program is here to guide you toward forming a positive relationship with money. At Horizon, we use Financial Social Work as an evidence-informed intervention in counseling and see transformational results in our client’s relationships with money. Call our Patient Engagement Specialists at 716.831.1800 to set up an appointment or email Senior Counselor Matthew L. Schwartz for additional information.

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