Reevaluating our relationship with money is as much of an emotional exercise as it is a numerical one. We often hear the term “recovery” associated with addiction, eating disorders, or other obvious health issues, but financial recovery is also a term that is gaining traction. 

“Financial recovery, or financial sobriety, is about taking steps to heal your relationship with money,” says Certified Money Coach and Financial Recovery Counsellor Linda Parmar. After two decades of working in the world of finance as an advisor, Linda decided to approach things differently. Over the past five years, she has dedicated herself to working with women to help them repair and transform their relationship with money. 

“It looks a bit different for everyone, but I would say that creating a spending plan, connecting with your money, and being super mindful and intentional about your decisions around money is the goal for most,” she says, adding the importance of examining money as not a separate entity, but understanding that it’s very much related to our psychology and life experience, and often wrapped up in complex feelings of shame.

“It’s about connecting to your emotions with money. A lot of people’s views on money are formed through childhood conditioning, or even conditioning as an adult, and we have these stigmas where we think we’ll never be good with it, where we start to connect our feelings to it,” she says, sharing that she takes a “heart-centred” approach. 

The path to financial recovery is similar to how we recover from a substance-use disorder; both are journeys of healing and self-discovery. “It’s about starting to listen to our heart and ask ourselves: what’s really going on? It’s not that I really need that thing on Amazon or Target that I bought,  it’s that I’m trying to make myself feel better because I’m not happy.”

Most of Linda’s clients are women who acknowledge that they are overspending, buying impulsively, and addicted to spending money— women who want to shift those habits, which have been intensified by the pandemic. 

“The pandemic has made it 1000x worse as we’re online shopping instead of going into stores, but the number one thing I am seeing that people want to make changes with is ordering food,” says Linda, explaining that—at the moment—delivery services are the number one thing that her clients struggle with, in terms of amassing debt. “People are exhausted, they don’t want to cook, by the time the day ends, people are so tired that they can’t even think about eating. I have so many moms that are like ‘I can’t even think about it’, so they order food.”

She reminds me that every time we make a purchase, we are voting for something—voting for the world we want. Financial recovery is about tracking, budgeting, and shifting habits, but it’s also a deep-dive exploration of our values, to ensure that our spending is in alignment with our beliefs. To heal, we have to constantly question our wants versus our needs, and not be afraid to examine our desires closely with an honest and critical eye. 

“Sometimes coping mechanisms turn into excuses. When we’re starting to charge things on credit cards, but we can’t keep up with payments… that’s where we really need to look at things.”

Linda is offering a FREE 1-hour Design Your 2022 Financial Vision workshop on Jan 6th at 7PM EST. Register here. Next week, she’s launching a digital course to help people build a stronger financial foundation. More info here.