Financial Psychology Division Consideration Letter

Dear American Psychological Association,

We ask that you consider our petition to establish a new APA division, the Financial Psychology Division.

The APA’s annual “Stress in America” Survey and other data suggest struggles related to financial issues are significant, multidimensional and pervasive. Results of the APA’s surveys consistently indicate money is a primary source of stress in people’s lives.  In four of the last five years, money placed first on the APA’s Sources of Stress list, a pattern whose origin pre-dates our current recessionary times. We believe creating a division devoted to the scholarly and practical study of the financial lives of individuals, couples, families and groups will offer significant benefit and value to the field of psychology, our clients and society at large.

Practitioners, researchers and students interested in financial psychology, financial therapy and money as a topic area in psychotherapy will be served by the division. The awareness of financial psychology’s relevance is growing, as recently evidenced by the creation of the Financial Therapy Association (FTA). The FTA is a collaborative organization comprised of mental health professionals and financial service providers, whose mission is significantly rooted in the recognition of financial psychology as integral to the development and maintenance of financial and psychological well-being.  Developing theory, research and evidence-based interventions in this dynamic area will be a rich addition to the science and profession of psychology.

Financial psychology is a multifaceted domain that extends into numerous topic areas relevant to contemporary life and the field of psychology, including behavioral economics, family business and wealth consulting, psychology’s role in financial literacy, as well as traditional psychotherapy. The division seeks to more formally unite and serve these diverse but often related areas of interest by supporting the advancement of financial psychology research, education, training and practice.

Establishment of a Financial Psychology Division is congruent with the APA’s history of demonstrating leadership by addressing important emerging issues and is in alignment with the guiding principles of the American Psychological Association. We appreciate your consideration of our petition to establish the Financial Psychology Division.

Sincerely,

Mary Gresham, PhD
Brad Klontz, PsyD
Joe Lowrance, PsyD
Karen Weisgerber, PhD