On a serene plantation an hour outside Nashville, Tenn., eight people gathered this week to imagine themselves opening their mothers’ purses and unlocking their fathers’ safe-deposit boxes. Aided by two therapists and a financial planner, they returned to their childhoods to consider how the economic values they were taught created the adults they’ve become.
One businesswoman talked of her parents’ insistence that rich people got that way by cheating and stealing; she now finds herself undercharging customers because she’s afraid to be perceived as a wealthy thief. A man explained that his parents believed life was all about stockpiling money; he ended up making $100,000 a month on Wall Street but became so miserable that “dogs would notice and growl at me when I walked into a room — and I’d growl back at them.”
These eight people spent five days revealing such secrets, while role-playing as each other’s parents, partners and siblings. They paid $1,500 for this “Healing Money Issues” workshop, an innovative effort that combines experiential therapy with nuts-and-bolts financial planning.
Perhaps 50 financial planners around the country now team with therapists. It’s a trend fueled by investors’ fearfulness in a rough economy, and by financial planners’ recognition that clients need a better understanding of themselves in order to identify and meet financial goals. This intensive program in Tennessee, hosted by Onsite Workshops, is designed to help people find the deep-rooted causes of their troubled relationships with money. Organizers insist this is not “parent-bashing.”