Nationally known motivational speaker Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW, is founder of the Financial Social Work discipline and a therapist, author and popular expert for magazines/websites, on money from a psycho-social perspective. Reeta’s work helps people take control of their money and lives.
The Center for Financial Social Work offers certification programs for social workers/non-social workers and a dynamic website with a Learning Center and forums that educate, motivate and support sustainable, long-term financial behavioral change. We recently interviewed Reeta about her work and her life:
1) Define financial social work, as you put it into practice.
Financial Social Work is designed to help people to begin the journey to sustainable, long-term financial behavioral change. It is an interactive, introspective approach which provides insight into how and why you are in your current financial circumstances and then connects you to where you want to be in the future. This process allows the creation and completion of a success plan and strategy which is the foundation for a better financial future.
2) Tell us a little bit about how you came to do the work you are doing.
I had my own special events company in NY for 18 years and then returned to graduate school to earn my master’s degree in social work. In graduate school, women’s issues was the topic of my master’s thesis and eventually led me to create the word “Femonomics” and the Femonomics Institute, in 1997. For me, the definition of the word “Femonomics” is “the gender of money” (based on the fact that women earn less, are traditionally charged more--for products and services--and because women live longer they make up 75% of the elderly living below the poverty line.) In 2003, the popularity of my work made it less gender-specific and much more geared to behavioral change, as it became obvious that: Until and Unless Behavior Changes – NOTHING Changes. That is when it became Financial Social Work and the Center for Financial Social Work. However, Femonomics holds a very special place in my heart and in my work.
3) What is the most gratifying part of your work?
The work I do fulfills me on every level. Having the opportunity to help people take control of their money and their lives and knowing how much that can improve every aspect of their future makes all of the time and work I put in worthwhile.
4) What is the greatest frustration?
In these very difficult economic times, there is an ever growing need for services but an ever diminishing availability. I am also frustrated at not being able to reach more people with the message that there is always HOPE; it is NEVER too late to improve your financial future.
5) How do you think this work has changed your own life?
My work is my passion and my mission in life. It doesn’t feel like work because it means so much to me. Except for spending time with my two-year-old twin grandchildren (Hannah & Robert), I am either writing, teaching, training, keynoting, etc., about the psychosocial aspects of money.
The Center has certified hundreds and hundreds of men and women across the US and in other countries to do Financial Social Work. Knowing that my work is helping our graduates to help their clients create personal awareness and growth as well as to increase their financial knowledge is an incredibly powerful feeling--which keeps me doing all I can to find new and better ways to help more people.
6) If you had to give women over 50 just 2 pieces of financial advice,
what would they be?
1. Make friends with your money and allow it to nurture you, rather than to control your happiness or sense of self.
2. Every small step you take in the direction of a better financial future moves you in the right direction, so allow your small steps to add up and to facilitate your journey to financial behavioral change.
Membership at http://www.financialsocialwork.com/ is FREE, and it delivers daily financial education, motivation and support e-mails to your inbox that can help you stay focused and enthusiastic about taking control of your money and your life. Like financialsocialwork on Facebook and follow Reeta on twitter@FinancialMSW.