Michael G. Thomas, Jr.

Financial Empathy & Compassion Specialist
Ph.D. , AFC®
Atlanta, Georgia

Michael G. Thomas, Jr.

Financial Empathy & Compassion Specialist
Ph.D. , AFC®
Atlanta, Georgia

Michael G. Thomas Jr., Ph.D., is an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) and a lecturer at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on financial empathy, data visualization’s effects on financial behavior, and the connection between brain function and money. Dr. Thomas’ philosophy on how to effectively interact with money can be summed up in his Ted Talk: Financial Empathy: Understanding the Story Beneath the Numbers.

Utilizing financial empathy as a process for active listening and the creation of client-focused financial recommendations are reflected in two financial literacy and capability programs he helped co-create: Money Dawgs and Discovering Money Solutions.

Dr. Thomas’ life-long goal is to help underserved communities establish, grow, and sustain their wealth utilizing an intra and inter-family wealth creation process.

Featured Videos

Speech Topics

Financial Empathy: Understanding the Story Beneath the Numbers (CFP & AFC CEU Eligible)

Dr. Michael Thomas unpacks his TED talk on financial empathy in a way that provides a clear understanding of what empathy is, the need for financial empathy, and how to operationalize empathy in order to improve client relationships and outcomes. Empathy is not a fad or trend that will soon pass. It is the deepest expression of seeing the humanity in the people you serve so that you can create lasting solutions that fit the context of their lives.

Diversity and Inclusion: Empathy or Sympathy? (CFP & AFC CEU Eligible)

Dr. Michael Thomas uses the platform of empathy and compassion to illustrate how diversity and inclusion efforts are most effective from a place of empathy – not sympathy. During this talk, Dr. Thomas unpacks the differences between empathy and sympathy, the effects on diversity and inclusion based on these lenses, and how to effectively utilize empathy in your diversity and inclusion efforts. At the end of this session, you will have a clear understanding of why an empathetic approach is better than a sympathetic approach and a model for employing empathy in your workplace. 

Maybe It’s the System
Social capital, the relationships people have with formal and informal networks, plays a significant role in how people navigate their lives from day to day. Often overlooked, within these social constructs exist invisible systems that set a precedent for how people are to behave, feel, and interact with one another. These systems, if not explored, can be the very things that are preventing your client(s) from achieving their financial goals. In this presentation, Dr. Michael Thomas will unpack systems theory in conjunction with social capital theory as a way to help you address the systems of your client(s) as a way to encourage sustainable behavioral change.

Understanding the Impact of Data Visualization on Client Behavior (CFP & AFC CEU Eligible)

We live in a world where your clients are being inundated with information. Major alerts, breaking news, and micro distractions are ubiquitous in our everyday lives. None of which is random. Your clients are navigating systems that have been carefully designed to nudge and encourage their behavior for attention, time, and money. Have you taken the time to consider the impact that visual cues have on behavior and how you can create information that actually motivates optimal client behavior? In this session, we will explore data visualization’s motivation on human behavior and how you can use it for good.     

Testimonials

Michael tackles complex topics with courage, grace, and compassion, bringing people together across our differences to understand the deeper meaning of our work for greater impact and connection.

Rebecca Wiggins
Organizational Wellness Consulting

Michael was the moderator of a panel “Whole-Person Finance: How Emotions, Trauma, and Empathy Can Impact Financial Wellness.” He actively listened to the panel members and lifted their dignity as he drew upon their vulnerabilities to get to the heart of the topic.

Eric Landblom
Owner of Leadership Development

Testimonials

Michael tackles complex topics with courage, grace, and compassion, bringing people together across our differences to understand the deeper meaning of our work for greater impact and connection.

Rebecca Wiggins
Organizational Wellness Consulting

Michael was the moderator of a panel “Whole-Person Finance: How Emotions, Trauma, and Empathy Can Impact Financial Wellness.” He actively listened to the panel members and lifted their dignity as he drew upon their vulnerabilities to get to the heart of the topic.

Eric Landblom
Owner of Leadership Development

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