Financial advising is a field which integrates a variety of challenges whose common denominator is the financial relationship between a person and their environment or their property. The concepts of money and property give rise to emotions which shape a person’s economic behavior. These emotions affect many other aspects of a person’s life. Young adults without a family support network (sometimes termed at-risk young adults) often lack familial models for beneficial economic behavior. The way in which families use, or do not use, money is a model which these young adults internalize as “money scripts”. In the absence of familiar models, young adult graduates of out-of-home placement frameworks develop unique “money scripts” which lead to risky economic behavior patterns.
“Money scripts” are experiential-cognitive schemas related to a person’s money and property, e.g. avoiding money, idolizing money, etc. Among young adults these scripts manifest as unbalanced economic behavior (hard work along with excessive spending), the expectation to “get rich quick”, and often lead to their becoming victims of exploitative marketing schemes.
Financial Guidance for At-risk Youth
As a very newly developed field, financial guidance makes use of existing intervention models but also of additional models that rely on new tools and methods, such as Lamerhav’s method for guiding and supporting young adults who lack a family support network. This guidance focus on the young person’s emotional relationship with money, as well as on their belief system and economic behavior. The method incorporates elements of advising, coaching, and therapy. Financial advising is an interdisciplinary field, at the intersection of sociology and psychology, the spheres of academia and employment, the personal and social, and various cultures, beliefs, and values.
It was this understanding that led Lamerhav to develop financial advising partnerships with companies in the private sector, foremost among them one of Israel’s leading banks, an institution which has made it their mission to help young adults to better their social and economic conditions. The cooperation with the bank includes the development of a professional economic advising model by volunteers from the bank and Lamerhav staff, and focusing on the challenging question: What is the right way to provide financial guidance and support to at-risk young adults? In order to answer this question, Lamerhav has created a model that incorporates economic advising with in-depth therapeutic guidance in the perception of money. The program greatly benefits from the partnership as these companies contribute the professional knowledge required for its success: economic knowledge, savvy consumerism, building and managing a budget, prioritizing, managing a bank account, and more.
This professional knowledge can help the advisors in identifying and determining whether or not the participant is conducting themselves poorly in financial matters. The process utilizes tools such as determining the urgency of the situation, dealing with immediate and urgent issues, delving into issues as to promote progress, building a financial action plan, psychotherapy, imparting professional knowledge, and finally, practical tools. One of the program’s aims is imparting knowledge through a unique and professional guidance framework, which can be utilized by advisors from any organization supporting at-risk youth and enable them to best meet the challenge of providing financial guidance to this population.