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Center for Financial Social Work Hosts Pre-Summit Session at 2015 Black Family Summit


We’re excited to announce that Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW will be doing a one-day Financial Social Work Institute session at the 3rd annual Black Family Summit in Jackson, Mississippi. The Financial Social Work Institute will be the focus of the pre-summit session held on April 13 from 9:00 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Jackson State University e-Center. The 2015 Black Family Summit runs from April 13 – 15 (more details below).

Those attending the Institute pre-summit session can expect an interactive, introspective day of learning. In addition to an in-depth look at the Financial Social Work behavioral model, participants will explore and learn from their individual money stories, advance their understanding of financial profiling, gain insight into the gender of money and much more.

Each participant will leave with new skills, tools and materials to help themselves and their clients create a better financial future. Also, the 2015 Black Family Summit will provide CEUs – approved in the field of Social Work – courtesy of Jackson State University for participants in the Financial Social Work Institute pre-summit session.

3rd Annual Black Family Summit Info

Flyer for the Third Annual Black Family Summit in Mississippi

Flyer for the Third Annual Black Family Summit in Mississippi

The theme of this year’s summit – presented by Mississippi Families for Kids and JSU College of Public Service School of Social Work – is “Creating Wealth Through Economic Development in Communities of Color.”

As mentioned above, Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW will kick off the summit on April 13 with a special pre-summit session – Financial Social Work Institute. On April 14 and 15 from 8:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m., participants can attend a host of summit sessions related to this year’s theme. There will also be a number of special panel discussions each day and a luncheon.

Some of the summit sessions include:

  • The Role of the Church in Wealth Building.
  • Respecting Our Black Dollars: Supporting Community-based Businesses.
  • Education is Economic Development: Education as a Pathway to Success.
  • Money & Medicine: Healthcare Access, Disparities and Cost.
  • Financial Social Work.
  • More…

For a full list of sessions and panel discussions, please visit the official Black Family Summit website.

The 2015 3rd annual Black Family Summit will be held at the Jackson State University Student Center, 1400 Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39217. For more information, costs of attending, contact information and to register online, visit the official Black Family Summit website today.

Understanding the Financial Effects of Gender Discrimination and Cultural Beliefs on Your Female Clients

Diverse Natural Women with Beautiful Smiles

Understanding the financial effects of gender discrimination and cultural beliefs is vital in helping your female clients achieve financial behavioral change. Because money beliefs – thoughts, feelings and attitudes about money – affect financial success, it is very important that we are able to share with our female clients how gender discrimination and cultural beliefs play a primary role in affecting their money beliefs.

Unfortunately, the financial gender discrimination and underlying cultural beliefs which leads to that discrimination have a profound effect on the financial wellbeing of our female clients. Those effects often show up as learned financial passivity, financial disempowerment and hopelessness.

Femonomics Uncovers Economic Gender Discrimination for Females

You may remember that Financial Social Work evolved from “Femonomics (the Gender of Money).” In 1997, the Femonomics Institute focused on female gender discrimination and educating and empowering females financially by showing them that their perspectives on money and life are influenced by that discrimination.

The following are a few of the ways your female clients experience economic discrimination on a daily basis.

  • Their paychecks.
  • Their Social Security checks.
  • Their cost of haircuts.
  • What they pay for dry cleaning.
  • What they pay for car maintenance.
  • In their inability to do things for and with their children.
  • Etc.

Financial Gender Discrimination Undermines Money Beliefs in Females

More than likely, your clients understand their experiences with financial gender discrimination. They see how it affects their paychecks. They live with paying higher prices than males for the same services. What they most likely do not understand is how this discrimination undermines their money beliefs.

Take a moment to reflect on the underlying cultural beliefs women must overcome when it comes to financial wellbeing. One example is that, at a young age, women are socialized to be dependent on men. This dependency leads to handing off financial responsibility to men.

This financial passivity disempowers women. It leads to negative money beliefs. Beliefs that they are financially inadequate and unable to support themselves of their family. In the end, it leads to feeling of hopelessness.

By helping your female clients see clearly, not only the financial gender discrimination they face, but also how a cultural belief system undermines their money beliefs, you will help them begin to heal their money beliefs. This healing, of course, will empower them to achieve lasting, long-term financial behavioral change.

Empower Your Clients to Achieve Financial Success with S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Woman talking to peers in group setting

How can you help your clients formulate financial goals which empower them to achieve financial wellbeing? It’s simple. You share the simple, but highly-effective, S.M.A.R.T goals method with them.

As professionals, we may take the importance of goal-setting for granted. Our clients, on the other hand, may have never actually written down goals for any part of their life (health, financial, career, family, etc.) They may not only understand the importance of goals, but they may also feel intimidated by the whole goal-setting process.

It is our job to share with our clients the fact that financial goals are an important and integral part of their financial success. It is also up to us to provide them with the right tools – in this case the S.M.A.R.T. goal method – which empower them to both set and succeed with their financial goals.

3d colorful buzzword goal setting

Sharing the Importance of Goals and Choosing the Right Goal-Setting Methods with Our Clients

As you learn in the Financial Social Work Certification, the most successful people are those who set goals. There are many reasons why this statement holds true. Goals teach patience, motivate achievement and reward planned actions. And, because they are solution-oriented, goals create both unconscious and conscious positive movement towards a conclusion.

Sharing the above reasons with your clients will help them understand the importance of goals. You can also remind them that, while there is much to learn from your past, it is by planning for the future that true change begins.

Many individuals attempt to use goals to improve some aspect of their lives. Often, these attempts fail which leads them to dismiss goal-setting as useful or blame themselves for failing to reach their goals. This is where you can share the fact that all goal-setting methods are not created equal.

Offer to them that instead of blaming themselves for the failure to reach their goals, they should first look at the goals they set and the methods used to create those goals. This is where you can introduce you client to S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Goal setting concept diagram on white board

Seeing Success with S.M.A.R.T. Goals

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. The bullet list below offers a step-by-step understanding of this goal-setting method.

  • Specific and Written – You will write down a specific event or action which is to take place. The “Who” or “What” your goal is about.
  • Measurable – The “How” of your goal. A measurable goal allows you to determine your progress and know when you have completed your goal successfully.
  • Achievable – Your goals should make you s-t-r-e-t-c-h, but they shouldn’t be so lofty that they are unreachable.
  • Relevant – Your “Why” part of your goals. Your success depends on setting goals which are important and timely to you.
  • Time – Your commitment to “When” your goal will be achieved or completed. Set a time which is achievable, but also pushes you to put your plan in action.

Share with your clients a good example of a ineffective goal and a S.M.A.R.T. goal to help them see the difference more clearly.

Ineffective Goal – I’m going to save more money to pay off my credit card.

S.M.A.R.T. Goal – I am going to save $40 a week by taking my own lunch to work 4 days a week. I will use that $160 a month in savings to pay off my credit card debt (which keeps me awake at night) by December 31st of next year.

Remember, goal-setting is an absolute must for those who wish to take charge of their money, their life and their future. But also remind your clients the following: Once they use the S.M.A.R.T. goal method to create a roadmap to financial wellbeing, they must then take action to achieve financial success with those goals.

Start a Daily Mindfulness Practice to Improve Health and Financial Wellbeing

Diverse Group of Friends

A daily mindfulness practice is an important cog in the wheel of self-care and financial wellbeing.

Practicing mindfulness enhances our ability to observe thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. And as you learn in the Financial Social Work certification process, non-judgment and acceptance are key building blocks to creating positive financial behaviors.

Our thoughts, feelings and attitudes about money determine our financial behavior. Creating long-lasting financial wellbeing with positive financial behaviors first involves accepting our present financial situation without judging ourselves or the reasons for being in that situation.

Mindfulness practice gives us a tool – a path – to reach a non-judgmental state of self-awareness and an understanding that our current financial situation is not permanent. Practicing mindfulness will also help us stay positive and know there is always hope as we work to improve our financial circumstances and our lives.

As professionals, we not only need to understand mindfulness and its impact on our health (emotionally, mentally, physically and financially), but we also need to understand how to help our clients begin a daily mindfulness practice. You can share the guide below with your clients to help them develop a daily mindfulness practice of their own.

If you previously haven’t taken time out of your schedule each day for self-care and mindfulness, then now is time to start. You will quickly discover that when you are mindful, every moment is richer, more rewarding and far more fulfilling. You’ll feel more relaxed and energized while reducing everyday stress levels. And then, you’ll have those positive experiences to share with others.

Portrait of arab woman breathing fresh air with raised arms

Practicing Mindfulness – A Basic Guide

Starting a daily mindfulness practice need not be complicated. Here are a few simple steps to begin practicing mindfulness each day. Set aside a few minutes of time each day. Then, gradually increase the time you sit mindfully during your daily practice.

  1. Begin in a quiet, distraction-free place where you can sit peacefully and focus on your breathing. Don’t complicate this first step. You don’t have to go out of your way to find a secluded beach or park. If needed, make your mindfulness spot your favorite chair at home or while seated at your desk at work.
  2. Cut off your smartphone, put a do not disturb sign on your office door, ask your family to give you some quiet time: Limit the distractions around you as best as possible. If it helps, listen to calming, stress-reducing music or even find an mobile app with the sound of water (ocean waves, bubbling brooks, etc.) to help you relax.
  3. Next, let’s focus on you. Sit upright with good posture. Relax your shoulders, rest your hands on the tops of your legs, drop your chin slightly and begin to breathe in and out slowly.
  4. Focus your attention on your breath as you breathe in and out. This will help you detach from distractions. If your thoughts stray (and they will) to today’s chores, work ,etc.; refocus your attention to your breath.

That’s all there is to it. Don’t put pressure on yourself to “get it right” as it is called mindfulness “practice” for a reason. Each day as you practice, you will see progress, and you will see positive benefits in your everyday life. Enjoy your new, daily mindfulness practice and feel free to or on one of our social network channels.

New Webinar: 5 Secrets to Helping Clients Overcome Self-Defeating Financial Beliefs

New Webinar: 5 Secrets to Helping Clients Overcome Self-Defeating Financial Beliefs

Wednesday, March 25 at 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT

This webinar is completely free and registrants will receive a recorded video of the presentation!

Register Now!

Did you know financial success has more to do with your money beliefs than it does with how much you earn? That’s because your thoughts, feelings and attitudes about money (your financial beliefs) determine your financial behavior: how you earn, spend, save and share. Your financial behavior is the foundation of your financial circumstances.

During this training session, you will learn how to help clients identify self-defeating financial beliefs/myths and how to eliminate their impact on financial wellbeing. Registration is free and open to anyone.

Topics of Discussion

  • Connect to their earliest money memories.
  • Prevent past money beliefs from impacting current financial decision-making.
  • Use a new tool to reveal their values.
  • Incorporate their values to support financial success.
  • Create an Intention Statement” to improve their financial futures.

Guest Presenter

Michele Boyer

Michele Boyer

Michele Boyer has been a Financial Advisor since 2005. Prior to her career in Financial Services, Michele worked in Children and Family Therapy for 12 years. Michele practices a values-based approach to financial planning. She integrates her skills and experience as a therapist to help her clients to achieve financial success. Michele is also a Certified Financial Social Work Educator/Coach.

New Webinar: Financial Self-Care, the Missing Piece in Financial Wellbeing

New Webinar: Financial Self-Care, the Missing Piece in Financial Wellbeing

Thursday, Feb 26th at 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT

This webinar is completely free and registrants will receive a recorded video of the presentation!

Register Now!

Self-care, any deliberate behavior taken to improve physical, mental and emotional health, can be challenging personally and professionally. This is because financial wellbeing is not addressed, and financial wellbeing is the foundation for physical, mental and emotional health. Financial Self-Care is the essence of financial wellbeing.

The Financial Therapy Network will sponsor this February Financial Social Work webinar.

Topics of Discussion

  • What financial self-care is.
  • The role financial self-care plays in physical and emotional health.
  • The Four (4) Parts of Financial Self-Care.
  • How to develop a Financial Self-Care Plan.
  • Eight Financial Self-Care Behaviors.


Picture of Reeta Wolfsohn

Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW

Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW, is the creator of Financial Social Work and the soon to launch Financial Therapy Network. Financial Social Work has been taught at the University level and is included in the Oxford Online Social Work Encyclopedia.


Financial Therapy Network logo (square / transparent)

Financial Therapy Network

Financial Therapy Network is a supportive, safe, and positive place to join others and learn about money, discover your inner financial self and achieve financial wellbeing.

Celebrating Our Successful Journey Together

Center for Financial Social Work logo

A Thank You from the Founder of Center for Financial Social Work

As 2014 comes to a close, the team at the Center for Financial Social Work thanks each and every one of you for helping us achieve another successful year. The Center for Financial Social Work would not be where we are today without your support and more importantly – your success.

It is your compassion and your determination to empower yourself and others that the Center for Financial Social Work is able to continue to help more individuals achieve long-term financial behavioral change and financial security. We are grateful to have you as part of our community.

The team at FSW will be here in 2015 to support you and your clients to achieve personal and financial stability and wellbeing.