I became a Certified Financial Planner because I wanted to help clients beyond just their investments. I received additional education in the areas of general financial planning, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, investments, and taxes, but for years after completing my CFP Certification, I still felt like I was missing something. Finally, about 2 years ago I realized that financial advisors need to be in the business of caring about people first and caring about money second. Money is not emotional, but our lives are! There is an emotional element in all of our financial decisions and the day I started putting that first in my practice was the day more and more clients started thanking me for my advice. A client has never thanked me for helping them open a Roth IRA, but I got a huge thank you the day I encouraged a client to have a heart to heart with her mom about a relationship that ended a year prior but was still impacting her daily life.
That is why I want to work with anyone living with depression. I am not able to treat depression or help people experiencing major depressive episodes, but sometimes when we address self-care and financial decisions, that stress relief can help your day to day feel more manageable. However, there is no substitute for the expertise of a good therapist.
Depression can be hard to recognize. It’s called an invisible illness for a reason. It lingers beneath the surface in a way that others can’t always see. People that struggle with depression can still get out of bed, take care of their families and go to work every day, because we tell ourselves to put on a show for everyone else. We put on the show every day so that we don’t have to answer questions. We don’t have to explain why we feel the way we feel. Have you ever just had a sinking feeling inside but not been able to put your finger on where it is coming from. It feels like nothing you do will make it go away. You just get through today, not thinking about what will happen tomorrow.
People with these feelings are who I want to work with. I want my clients to feel hopeful! We can’t fix all the problems in one day, but if we can put things in place to ease the burden, then our time together was a success. I received an email from a client last week thanking me because I encouraged her to cancel her Planet Fitness contract. This was liberating for her. She had two memberships to two different gyms and hadn’t set foot in Planet Fitness for over a year. We just talked through all her rationalizations about why she needed both. At the end of the meeting, she realized she got more benefit from one than the other and immediately took action. She felt like she accomplished something that day. Her moment of self-care was putting a stop to wasting that money.
Depression can cause financial trouble. According to a 2008 study reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry, mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. Also, people living with depression are more likely to find managing their finances overwhelming. If feelings of despair are strong enough, one may wonder why paying the bills even matters. This, of course, can lead to excessive debt, foreclosure, utility shut off, fines, etc. I worked with a client early in my career that stopped opening their mail altogether. Both spouses were so deep in their own battles with depression and anxiety that they hadn’t paid their mortgage and most utilities in 5 months. I’m proud to say that I helped them save their house and get financially organized, and I still work with them today.
Please think about the women in your life. The caregivers. The ones who do everything for everyone and never leave time for themselves. Are you that woman? What have you done to ease your burdens lately? I ask because I am also that woman.
I never imagined myself where I am today. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, and today at 38 years old, I still feel like I am evolving and finding my true purpose in life. I am happy to say that I have never felt closer to a calling than I do now, but I didn’t get here by accident. I am speaking about depression and the havoc it can wreak because I have felt the cloud of depression in my own life, and just like many statistics have indicated, It took me nearly a year to seek out treatment. I am here today because no one should feel the way I felt about myself for as long as I did!
I believe that when we prioritize self-care, stress relief, and manageable daily routines, we will then be able to achieve financial peace and life satisfaction. I just happen to be a financial planner.