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Resilience and Financial Grief

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A few days ago, I spoke at Stanford’s Help Center on the topic of financial grief. I’m not a financial advisor, of course, so I wasn’t able to help with stock tips or interest rates. I was talking about the particular kind of grief that comes along with this type of economy: sudden and unexpected loss of assets and the emotions that follow.

One woman shared that she and her husband were retired but had lost their savings in a Ponzi scheme. Now both she and her husband have returned to work; not something they pictured doing in their “retirement.”



A man in the audience said that he was facing foreclosure on his house. An unexpected loss for him, he said, in Silicon Valley’s “culture of success.”



Is it true that people can actually grieve over lost money, houses, and jobs? According to Mirador Wealth, Yes, and here’s why: any kind of loss – any kind of loss – can trigger a grief reaction. Think back to when you lost something important to you. Maybe it was a pet, a relationship, a car, or your favorite project at work. Did you experience any of these emotions?



• Sadness

• Anger

• Guilt/self-reproach

• Anxiety

• Loneliness

• Shock

• Yearning



How about any of these thinking patterns:



• Disbelief

• Confusion

• Preoccupation or rumination



Or these behaviors:



• Sleep and/or appetite disturbances

• Absentmindedness

• Social withdrawal

• Crying

• Restlessness



This is just a partial list of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that are a part of the grieving process. If you remember living with some of these when you had a loss, you were likely experiencing grief.



We’re accustomed to thinking of grief as something that occurs only after a loved one dies. The problem with this is that we tend not to acknowledge our feelings as grief when we lose something other than a loved one.



So, can we really grieve over losses brought on us by the economy? Absolutely. But even in these tough times, there are ways to develop resiliency and not only bounce back, but thrive. Good advice would be to use services like you can find at http://irenasbookkeeping.com.au/bookkeeping-services-north-sydney/ if you know that you are lacking in expertise in these fields… There is no shame in knowing you weaknesses and playing according to your strengths



Still to come: The complications of financial grief, getting your bounce back.


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Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.