Learning Center Blog

Hong Kong Welcomes Financial Social Work

hong kong cityscape and junkboat at twilight

Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW, founder of the Financial Social Work discipline, was invited to bring FSW to Hong Kong in April 2017. The experience, according to Reeta, was life-changing as well as immensely rewarding personally and professionally. During her time there, she provided both standard and advanced Financial Social Work Certification training.

Reeta welcomed the opportunity to share Financial Social Work with all of the eager and hospitable youth and family social work trainees. She says she found it fascinating to learn about their specific cultural and financial attitudes, behaviors, and traditions.

Financial Social Work (FSW) is a psychosocial behavioral approach that helps individuals improve their relationship with their money and themselves by recognizing and changing the thoughts, feelings and attitudes that drive their financial behaviors. This is important because financial behavior (how one earns, spends, saves, shares and borrows) determines financial circumstances. FSW helps individuals make deep and long-lasting changes that help them improve their financial and overall well-being.

Adaptations were made to ensure the Hong Kong Financial Social Work training addressed the financial differences between the two countries and cultures. Chinese people living in Hong Kong have a long tradition of saving versus the long tradition of spending in the US. Credit cards have not been nearly as popular in Hong Kong as they are in this country; credit scores have little significance there while they are critical to the financial well-being of most Americans.

The growing awareness around the world regarding the need for greater financial literacy skills has contributed to the increasing interest in Financial Social Work. The 2014 S& P Global Financial Literacy Survey findings indicated 43% of Americans and 57% of Chinese in Hong Kong lack basic financial knowledge of interest rates, interest compounding, inflation and risk diversification.

Reeta is enthusiastic about the long-term venture between the Center for Financial Social Work and Hong Kong. She recognizes the potential for this project to expand financial wellness in this country as well as in Hong Kong.

financial social work in hong kong

reeta wolfsohn and financial social work in hong kong

Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW, Invited to Bring Financial Social Work to Hong Kong in April, 2017

Hongkong Street Scene with Neon signs at night

Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW, the founder of Financial Social Work (FSW) has accepted an invitation to bring Financial Social Work to Hong Kong in April, 2017. Several days of Wolfsohn’s time will be dedicated to providing basic FSW training that complements the five essential certification workbooks. The remainder of her time will be devoted to advanced training sessions for FSW social workers who have already earned their certifications.

This trip is part of a long-term arrangement to expand Financial Social Work to Hong Kong. Wolfsohn and her team have spent months studying and comparing the financial differences and similarities between US and Hong Kong cultures. Ultimately, they discovered that the two nations have much more in common than expected and look forward to further exploring the intersections between the two cultures.

Picture of Reeta Wolfsohn

Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW

According to Wolfsohn, research continues to demonstrate that financial problems and stress directly impact physical and emotional health and overall well-being. As a result, social welfare, mental health and human service organizations are increasingly aware of the need to help people take control of their money in order to gain control of their lives. Financial Social Work’s universal and well-established holistic approach to financial wellness provides valuable tools to individuals and organizations because it addresses the thoughts, feelings and attitudes that drive financial behavior and determine financial circumstances.

Wolfsohn has dedicated twenty years to developing the Financial Social Work behavioral model which is heavily steeped in psychosocial, multi-disciplinary studies. The FSW certification offered by the Center for Financial Social Work includes on-going financial education, as well as, providing motivation, validation and support, which comprise the essential components of sustainable, long-term financial behavioral change. After successfully completing the program, the Center’s graduates work with diverse client populations across the country and around the world.

The Financial Social Work curriculum has been taught as an elective at the University of Kentucky, since 2011. A chapter on FSW was included in the NASW Press publication: Social Work Matters: The Power of Linking Policy and Practice. Financial Social Work is also listed on Wikipedia and the new Oxford Press Online Encyclopedia of Social Work.