In Money, Wealth, Women

Financial Abuse is real, it just isn’t talked about

This article triggered me — Her husband told her not to work and then cut her off financially.

I read it in horror, I really did.

And the most recent case to pop up has been pop princess Britney Spears who has been legally under conservateurship for the past ELEVEN YEARS… and yet is still deemed mentally fit enough to make money and perform?

During the twelve years of Spears’ conservatorship she has repeatedly toured the world, released multiple albums, and worked on a variety of television shows.

Something is wrong here.

If she is really sick, why is she still working? And people profiting off her like a cash cow? She should be given the chance to be able to say how she truly feels without being threatened to have her children taken from her (and yes, she can’t even do that… it’s all part of this imprisonment they’ve put her under).

She can’t leave the house, drive, or do anything including spend HER OWN MONEY without her father’s permission. This is modern-day … enslavement. I don’t even know what you call it.

Her Petition on Change.Org here. And no I am not joking, this is something we might want to laugh at in disbelief, but this sounds like a young woman being enslaved and unable to ask or call for help because she’s legally unable to do so. I think it’s easy for us to brush it off as “well she has lots of money, she’s a celebrity, this is the United States, it can’t possibly happen here.

Do we want to take the chance that it is or isn’t just because we THINK and ASSUME things are fine because she’s rich? It sounds to me like these conservators are taking almost $500K in a salary every year while she is only allowed to spend $7K of her money a month or $85K.

Doesn’t that sounds like financial abuse to you? It does to me. It’s HER money.


I preach a lot about women being financially independent (and I will preach to my dying breath to any girl or woman around me about how important this is), and this article just solidified how scary it is to be beholden to someone, ANYONE, financially.

At first, it seems like a benign, “oh yeah, this makes sense” sort of situation:

“His message was clear, she says: “I do the money, you do the children.””

Doesn’t sound terrible at all does it? I know many people in this exact situation. He does the money, she does the childcare.

They seem to be perfectly fine (well, 50% of them), but the other half? The horror stories I could tell you…

And yet…

“Any time she asked for more money, he would yell at her, accusing her of wasting it and telling her she couldn’t be trusted with it”

[…]

“Their bank accounts were separate, so Sara had no real sense of the family’s finances.”

Stop right there.

That already is a red flag. That’s a TRUE red flag, unlike someone asking you to sign or come to an agreement on a prenuptial, or talking about their budget or lack thereof.

This is not an uncommon sentiment, unfortunately, amongst men. I came across this Facebook message the other day:

This is NORMAL.

THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.

I actually wonder how many women suffer through this in silence, wondering if this is all right.

If any of you are reading this:

This is not okay.

You are being financially abused if you have:

  • no access to the joint bank accounts
  • zero sense of what your family net worth is
  • no credit card
  • no bank account of your own with savings
  • no way of earning money on your own

This happens at all levels of our society as with anything else. You can be “rich” like that woman Sara above who had a husband bringing home 6-figures, or you can be making much less.

It doesn’t matter.

Financial abuse happens everywhere.

Here are some lies you may hear:

You are no good with handling money because you’re a woman

It comes in the form of: “You’ll just take all the money and spend it impulsively.”

That’s complete horses@$*@, and I am living proof of that.

What, you get access to the bank accounts and you’ll go out on a Chanel buying spree? I THINK NOT.

Women generally are more likely to be great at saving money (not spending), but not so hot at investing it.

You don’t know anything about money because you’re a woman

Again complete horses@*$.. and I am again, living proof of that.

Just because you’re a woman it doesn’t mean you don’t know anything about investing.

Not reading, educating yourself or choosing to take charge of your finances and learn, is the reason why someone doesn’t know anything about investing, not because of their gender.

Financial literacy is a LEARNED SKILL.

You are not born knowing it or not, you may have INSTINCTS towards saving or spending based on your individual personality, and how you were raised (your parents’ money stories play a big part in how you see money today), but everyone can learn to be a badass at money.

It gets worse:

“Some women in the WomanACT study reported their partners would regularly steal cash from their wallets, seize their paycheques and credit cards and spend tax refunds and government benefits, including the Canada Child Benefit, on themselves.”

Wow.

“In other cases, abusers prevent women from earning an income by undermining their employment or preventing them from getting a job or going to school.”

Double wow.

Even not allowing you to take driving lessons to learn how to drive, is an act of abuse.

They are basically controlling you with these small independent actions, to be totally and wholly dependent on them, just like an abuser.

It goes on to say that women in this position also end up going into debt to be able to provide for their children, as they aren’t given any money or access to money to even buy food or necessities like clothing.

It puts a whole new perspective on women being in debt, especially single women, who may have had to turn to lines of credit if they even had access to them  (!!) considering they may not even have a credit score, just to live.

This all sounds so crazy, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

In fact, I see it even in my Snobby Neighbour whom I’ve talked about before.

She is wholly dependent on her partner (not husband, they aren’t married), and he owns the home they live in, all the cars, and all the bank accounts.


She has a joint credit card not in her name, that he pays off each month and monitors (she once laughed that he got upset she was spending $200 on children’s clothing).

They do not have a joint bank account, and she gets about $2000 a year which is the child benefit from the government that he lets her take to ‘invest’.

She at this point, has maybe $20,000 in savings at best.

I wouldn’t daresay any more than that, maybe $50,000 if we are being generous, and that’s more than what most women have in her position who have $0.

For me, that is not financial abuse, but it is an uncomfortable AF situation to be in, at least for me anyway.

I wouldn’t have stopped working, to have an ‘arrangement’ where he does all the money and she does the childcare, even though I would make far less. It is a sense of independence and ability to generate your own income that gives me a lot of satisfaction, self-esteem and pride.

Imagine if they break up – there is no way she will be able to maintain the same lifestyle afterwards.

Even in this “rosy perfect” scenario that I do not think is financial abuse, she would move into a much cheaper bachelor apartment, see the kid maybe once every other week or so if they have half/half custody, and have to go back to work full-time to just pay the bills.

She would get zero spousal support as they aren’t married, but she would get child support which would help.

Personally? Not my cup of tea.

If I were to not be with my partner any more, I could keep up this lifestyle exactly the way it is because I make my own money, save it, invest it and am financially independent.

Sure, we may sell the condo and buy separate ones of our own with the proceeds, but I would live exactly the same way with no changes.

Financial independence is important, and it means:

  • You understand how money management and budgeting works
  • You know where the family’s money is invested (or your own)
  • You have equal control and access over your own bank accounts or joint ones
  • You are financially literate and CONFIDENT in knowing how to invest and save money
  • You have your own credit card and your own credit score
  • You are able to go to work and make your own money if you choose to

It doesn’t mean you don’t love someone if you are financially independent.

It doesn’t mean that you aren’t in this relationship forever if you are financially independent.

Remember that you are your own person, a whole individual, separate from anyone else.

Being in a marriage or a relationship is a CHOICE.

You CHOOSE to be with someone, and if you are only staying because of the money, then it isn’t a free choice any longer.

If money wasn’t an issue and you’d leave them, then you’re being financially abused.

Or maybe, like some other women… you end up staying anyway, even though you could leave but you don’t want to because your life is too good as-is and you’ll accept the bad with the good.

Even so – do you ever want to be put into that position? I don’t.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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4 Comments

  1. Financial Orchid

    Every time I hear men who stopped paying child support whether
    – as retaliation from the woman’s action of taking the child away fr the father, or
    – because he can’t afford to

    is another reason I’m glad I don’t have kids.

    Pets seems a better solution.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Retaliation is RIDICULOUS. Who hurts here?… THE CHILD.

      Reply
  2. Clara

    OMG. Thank you for posting this!! My father financially abused my mother for years – don’t worry, she’s since divorced him, and fortunately for me, she is also a damn brilliant lady who had long stopped whitewashing his behaviour by the time I came along! The only relationship advice she’s ever given me is ALWAYS MAINTAIN FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE. I still maintain that this is the best love advice I’ve ever received LOL..

    Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have stopped with my parents’ generation…I’m hearing reports of acquaintances’ male partners making noises like “oh, you don’t NEEEED to work that much”, “why don’t you take time off to focus on family, it’s so important” (while the guy accepts a promotion in his very busy, well-paid job – hmm, not buying this, if family is so important then YOU should be taking time for it as well). Oy… I might have to point my friends towards some of these articles.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Please point them here. I really get fired up when I hear about women’s salaries being seen as the “Extra income”. Fk all that. It’s my income, and if you want me to stop working, you better give me half of yours then, if I am doing the work at home to compensate for not working.

      I don’t buy any of this BS about not working as much, taking time off for family — you lose so much more than just money such as experience in your career, and just a fulfillment that I personally have as a sense of accomplishment of how far I have come.

      Why are women the ones who are default parents? Men, step the fk up.

      Reply

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