The FTA is a diverse community committed to shaping and advancing the emerging field of financial therapy. Our organization is volunteer-run and comprises well-established, respected leaders in their fields. Knowing that many hands make light work, we recruit for volunteers from within our membership, annually. Volunteers engage with other FTA members on a deeper level, and share a sincere desire to leave a lasting legacy that makes a real difference in people’s lives.
Since the FTA’s inception, the board of directors and committee members have devoted countless volunteer hours and a relentless spirit to form and grow the organization.
We’d love to have you join us by volunteering on one of our committees, or our board, to help us elevate the association and the entire profession of financial therapy!
FTA committees are comprised of board members and non-board member volunteers. Committees are chaired by board members to help the FTA reach our goals and are an integral part of our day-to-day operations. If you would like to volunteer to become a board member or committee member, please check out the Volunteer page for more information.
Purpose: The purpose of the Executive Committee is to implement strategic planning goals and to ensure that the goals and standards of the Financial Therapy Association are met and upheld.
Chair: President, Sarah Swantner
Past-President, Bruce Ross
President-Elect, Preston Cherry
Treasurer, Julia Kramer
Secretary, Megan McCoy
Chair: Ed Coambs
Purpose: The purpose of the Membership Committee is to recruit new members to the FTA, assist with membership retention, membership communications, and general member support.
Purpose: The purpose of the Certification Committee is to develop and execute the certification in financial therapy, and to do so, has three subcommittees: Examination, Education, and Oversight.
Meghaan Lurtz & Joshua Harris
Purpose: The purpose of the Education Committee is to develop, manage, and present materials to support members seeking CFT-I™, CFT-II™, & CFT-III™ educational competencies.
Purpose: The purpose of the Examination Committee is to develop, monitor, and implement the CFT-I™, CFT-II™, & CFT-III™ exams.
Purpose: The purpose of the Oversight Committee is to ensure the administrative aspects of certification are addressed.
Purpose: The purpose of the business community to strengthen the FTA brand, and develop and identify partnerships and revenue opportunities that will enable the FTA to enrich and expand its services.
Purpose: The ongoing work of our equity and inclusion committee supports the FTA in its commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Saundra Davis, MSFP
Dr. Alex Melkumian
Purpose: The purpose of the Conference Committee is to develop, plan, and assist in executing conferences for the FTA.
Sarah Swantner, 2021
Julie Fortin, 2022
Sarah helps people understand themselves and their finances so that they can achieve the life they want. She brings a therapeutic and supportive approach to personal finance in her work with individuals, couples, and groups; and she partners with financial planners to integrate the therapeutic side into their financial planning meetings.
Sarah is dually trained in both personal finance and mental health counseling. For the first decade of her professional life, Sarah worked as a mechanical engineer. After that, she spent another decade doing financial planning and began dealing with the emotional side of money. She now works as a mental health practitioner in her company Black Hills Integrative Counseling and Coaching, LLC, with specialties in financial therapy and healing from childhood trauma and abuse.
Degrees & Designations
Megan McCoy, Ph.D., LMFT, CFT-I™, is a Professor of Practice and the Director of the Personal Financial Planning Master’s Program at Kansas State University. Her research has been published in a range of journals such as The Journal of Financial Therapy, The Journal of Financial Planning, The Journal of Family Economic Issues, Journal of Couple and Family Therapy, and the Family Relations to name a few. Dr. McCoy serves as Secretary for the board of Financial Therapy. In addition, she is the Associate Editor of Profiles and Book Reviews for the Journal of Financial Therapy.
Dr. Bruce Ross, Ph.D., AFC(R), serves as an Assistant Professor in the Family Sciences Department at the University of Kentucky teaching in the new undergraduate program, Consumer Economics and Family Financial Counseling, as well as at the graduate level in Family Sciences. Dr. Ross completed his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University earning a double major in Psychology with Research and Philosophy. He continued his education path at the University of Maryland where he earned a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. He went on to the University of Georgia to earn a PhD in Human Development and Family Science with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and a specialization in financial counseling and financial therapy practices.
Dr. Ross’ professional and research interests primarily focus on personal and family financial well-being. He uses the systemic practice of financial therapy to better serve families from a holistic perspective in his research, teaching, and community work. Dr. Ross has been with the Financial Therapy Association since 2012 and has the pleasure of serving on various committees, including the Executive Committee as President of FTA in 2020.
Dr. Cherry is the Founder & President of Concurrent Financial Planning, LLC, a comprehensive financial planning firm that helps households and business owners achieve Life Money Balance™. Dr. Cherry serves as Assistant Professor of Finance and Head of the Personal Financial Planning Program at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. His research surrounds personality traits and financial uncertainty risks.
Over 14 years, he has served in lead financial planning roles and RIA co-investment manager of $120M in firm assets. Dr. Cherry has also served in institutional retirement sales, as a mutual fund wholesaler, and serves as a financial advisor coach for Carson Group Coaching. His degrees include an MS and Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University, B.B.A. in Finance from Prairie View A & M University and serves on the Boards of the Financial Therapy Association and the Association of African American Advisors Foundation.
Julia is founder and owner of Iaso Consulting, LLC through which she offers individual, couple and family financial coaching and consulting, speaking, workshops and divorce financial services. She also offers workshops specifically tailored to financial planners to help them work more effectively with their clients by deepening their listening skills as well as understanding financial psychology, the stages of change and the basics of Motivational Interviewing.
Julia is a firm believer that healthy financial behaviors start with understanding and accepting ourselves with all our wonderful idiosyncrasies and then creating a financial plan that is uniquely tailored to us. She has been a member of the FTA since 2012.
Degrees & Designations
Nathan Astle, M.S., is a passionate financial therapy enthusiast. He holds a master’s degree in Couples and Family Therapy from Kansas State University with a focus on financial therapy. His interests include couples and financial conflict, financial trauma, and financial therapy theory. He is published in both academic journals and various national media outlets. He hopes to help move the field forward through continued research, social justice initiatives, and through supervision of financial therapy.
Natasha Knox, CFP®, is the founder and owner of Pax Planning, a virtual, fee-for-service financial planning practice on the west coast of Canada that fully integrates therapeutic interventions with traditional financial planning. Natasha has a graduate certificate in Financial Therapy from Kansas State University. She is a certified financial planner professional, and an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and is currently working toward the internationally recognized TEP designation. In addition to her role as business development chair, she serves on the membership and the social media and marketing committees.
She been featured in a number of major publications and podcasts including the Globe and Mail, Forbes, Nerdwallet, and Moolala with Bruce Sellery. In her personal life, Natasha is actively involved in civic leadership, and serves as library board trustee.
Amanda Clayman is a financial therapist who specializes in the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of our financial well-being. She is the host of the recurring Death, Sex & Money podcast series Financial Therapy with Amanda Clayman for WNYC Studios. Amanda founded the Financial Wellness Program for national arts non-profit The Actors Fund, where she pioneered a cognitive-behavioral approach to financial education. Amanda is a sought-after speaker who runs seminars and workshops around the country, as well as the author of several financial wellness courses for LinkedIn Learning. Her work has been featured in media outlets such as The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The TODAY Show, and Amanda has appeared on MSNBC, FOX, and more. To learn about the inglorious start to Amanda’s financial wellness mission, read the story about her $19,000 Haircut at www.amandaclayman.com.
Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD. is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of Financial Psychology Center in Los Angeles, California. He is devoted to helping clients improve their financial and mental health by uncovering patterns in their relationship with money that keep them stuck and suffering. Financial psychology is the intersection of financial literacy, emotional awareness, financial beliefs and cultural factors. Hence, helping clients understand how those factors interplay revitalizes client’s emotional and financial health. Specifically, Dr Alex has worked with individual clients to provide them with practical and therapeutic tools to help heal their financial anxiety. His work with couples and families has helped to address maladaptive behaviors such as financial trauma, financial enabling and financial infidelity.
Dr Alex’s most recent work has been in collaboration with the Pre-Pro Institute where his focus has been aiding athletes to improve their financial wellness and overall performance. As athletes train with a singularity of focus to excel in their field, they often experience stress in other areas of their lives such as finances. This financial stress can unknowingly impact performance and interfere with goal setting and training.
Ed Coambs, CFT-I™, MA, MBA, MS, CFP® – Ed seeks to expand the awareness and practice of Financial Therapy in the fields of mental health and financial planning. Ed operates a private practice counseling center dedicated to serving couples and their relationship with money. His area of speciality is in helping clients through the intersections of their developmental attachment history, trauma and its impact on their ability to experience financial well-being.
Ed also operates HealthyLoveAndMoney.com an online self-help website dedicated to providing support for couples and their financial well-being. Ed has served on the Financial Therapy Association board for six years in a number of different capacities, recently completing work on the development of the Certified Financial Therapist – I.
Ed has earned an MBA from Queens University, an MA in Counseling from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and a MS in financial planning from Kansas State University. He also holds the CFP®, and CFT-I™ professional certifications. Ed’s vision for the future of Financial Therapy is that it is a well-researched, integrated, and integral part of helping people develop financial well-being.
Julie is a Partner and Wealth Manager at Northstar Financial Planning, a women-owned, holistic, financial planning firm dedicated to enriching the lives of women and couples by helping them use their money to achieve their life, family, and legacy goals. Julie holds a MS in Finance degree from Suffolk University and a graduate certificate in Financial Psychology and Behavioral Finance from Creighton University. She is a Certified Financial Planner professional®, a Certified Financial Behavior Specialist®, and a Certified Financial Transitionist®.
She has been quoted in publications including the New York Times and Nerdwallet and published in the Journal of Financial Planning.
Emily Johnson, MS, MFTA
Parker Relationship Center
Doctoral Student, Family Finance and Economics
University of Kentucky