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Unearthing Financial Trauma


Transitioning into 2024 marked a new year. Many of us saw the new year as an opportunity to start fresh, but financial hardships and losses can have a lasting impact on our mental health. This type of impact leads to unforeseen trauma. Often, we make resolutions to hit the ground running in the new year, but old habits die hard, mainly when these habits are deeply rooted in our psyche. Let us be realistic: We all plan to go to the gym on January first; we even go shopping over the holiday for gym apparel. However, it is the last day of January, and the membership I personally paid for is on automatic renewal for the next month. As a result, I am now forced to withdraw the application I uploaded to Abercrombie and Fitch.

As Extension Agents, we are tackling everyone's issues. However, who is helping you tackle your issues when the curtains come down? Stress and anxiety are a real thing! According to Islam (2020), financial trauma affects our everyday lives, our self-esteem, our self-worth, and our overall decision-making. In a recent consult, I shared that our relationship with money, the art of choice, our spending behavior, and brand loyalty are heavily influenced by our childhood. This is where you can start to unearth the losses and wins you may have had. You can also explore what needs were met and which were left lacking. This is why we cannot just host a workshop and talk to people about fixing their financial problems. Talk does not take someone out of poverty; that takes doing! Therefore, it is critical to set aside time to talk about our own financial struggles and find the support needed to cope.

No matter how embarrassing our debt may be, it is always a good idea to talk about it. For example, If you find yourself talking about emotional hardship and stress, take some time to examine the many connections it has to money. Whether you have money or not, money stresses people, but you are not your debt, credit score, credit card statement, or negative bank account. Dont let these things hinder you from finding your healing to navigate a successful life financially. I have shared five (5) detachment strategies that can be practiced or recommended to clients dealing with financial trauma:

  1. Release your emotions; do not bottle stuff up.
  2. Pay off your smallest debts first, then move on to the next smallest.
  3. Meditate to keep focus and reduce your stress.
  4. Talk to someone; find someone who will listen.
  5. Feel free to ask for help.


Islam, M. S., Rahman, M. E., Banik, R., Emran, M. G. I., Saiara, N., Hossain, S., ... & Potenza, M. N. (2020). Correlates of financial concerns and symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder in impoverished urban-dwelling individuals in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic: face-to-face interview findings.

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