What a gift to fall into a flowering new career focus after 30 years of being a psychologist! The old truth of “follow the money” became for Dr. Baker the direct route to the discovery and development in her practice of a branch of psychology now known as financial therapy.
Financial therapists help people examine their attitudes, emotions and beliefs about money that may interfere with making rational money decisions.
If only Dr. Baker had had the guidance of a financial therapist! Unfortunately, she went through a painful series of money losing events that happily ended in her becoming an early practitioner of financial therapy.
Turning 50 brought to Dr. Baker’s awareness that she and her husband had not kept a keen eye on saving for retirement. This awareness sharpened her resolve to do better by engaging with her financial advisor, asking questions and learning more about investing.
This brought about changes, including switching to a more attentive and responsive financial advisor who welcomed her participation.
During the 1990s the stock market was on fire and demonstrated what some would call “irrational exuberance.” The thrill of watching stocks climb higher and higher became giddy and stoked a certain kind of misplaced confidence that stocks would never go down. Of course in March, 2000 the technology stock bubble burst and tech stocks came tumbling down.
Overwhelmed, Dr. Baker froze and could not make the decision to sell any stocks. She clung to the hope that the market would bounce back and restore her six figure losses.
She didn’t realize it would take years for that to happen. For a year she lived under the sway of a depression that was filled with regret, self-recrimination and shame.
One comfort relief she had was music, particularly hearing the song Amazing Grace (Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, Was blind but now I see) play silently and constantly in her head.
In the shower one morning she burst into tears and compassionately thought she was not a bad, wretched person. She just needed to get on with her life. The relief this spontaneous event provided allowed her to move forward and make changes that would enable her not only to embrace the future, but regain and outdo her past portfolio performance.
How? She found a wise financial advisor who believed in allocation diversity, she joined an investment club and learned how to evaluate stocks. She started to talk with other people about their experiences of financial loss in 2000.
Empowered and enthused by what she was learning, Dr. Baker followed her intuition and found other mental health practitioners who were focusing on personal finance and financial well-being. By 2009 The Financial Therapy Association was founded. Several years later she served on the board.
Today Dr. Baker happily practices her found passion and commitment to help people understand their relationship to money and how to avoid self-sabotaging behavior.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by money concerns or if you are just curious to better understand your relationship to money, go to Dr. Baker’s website, and learn about her book, Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Money Choices And What To Do About It, or give her a call at 610-896-9651.