Photo of Eric R. Ebbert, CFP®, MBA, CEO Eric R. Ebbert, CFP®, MBA, CEO Sep 10, 2020

When most people talk about abuse in relationships, they are referring to physical or emotional abuse. However, there is another type of abuse that is not discussed in the spotlight as much as it should be: financial abuse.

Financial abuse occurs when one member in a relationship controls the other’s access to money and the use of it. Financial abuse has been shown to occur in 99% of domestic abuse cases. Even when there is no physical or emotional abuse, financial abuse should always be taken seriously. One member of a relationship gaining too much control and power over a couple’s shared finances can force the other person to feel trapped and manipulated. Worse is that if the relationship ends, the person who had all the control over the money still has all the control.

Of course, in many relationships, one person might be more savvy with finances than the other. This is fine, but both partners need to be active in knowing their income, expenses and savings. Even if one chooses to let the other take the reins for the most part, both partners need to have total access to their shared funds. If you are wondering what financial abuse in a relationship looks like so you can take steps to protect yourself from it, take a look here.

Seven signs of financial abuse

  1. You have an allowance or budget without any input from you.
  2. You are expected to account for everything you spend.
  3. Your partner feels entitled to your money.
  4. Your partner spends money without your knowledge or earns extra money you never have access to.
  5. Your partner maxes out credit cards in your name.
  6. You have limited access to your bank account, investments, retirement and savings.
  7. Your partner threatens to cut you off financially if you disagree about something.

Protecting yourself from financial abuse

We cannot stress enough how important it is for each partner in a relationship to have financial knowledge and independence. Every couple needs to be open and honest about their finances and their personal values and goals that factor into them.

Again, each person may take on different roles with finances depending on where their strengths or interests lie, but both partners should have a clear understanding of where the money is and have total access to it. A financial advisor can work closely with couples to help them create a financial plan that helps both partners to reach their goals while being able to focus on their day-to-day lives.

Important note: If you suspect your partner is being financially abusive or manipulative, and you do not feel safe or comfortable talking to them about it, please reach out for help. There are organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline that discreetly help people get out of abusive relationships. They can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or at their website.

Talk to a ProVise CFP® professional about financial independence in your relationship

Both members in a relationship should have financial knowledge and independence while working together to reach shared goals and to live shared lives on a daily basis. At ProVise Management Group, our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals can get to know you and your current financial circumstances, goals, risk tolerance and personal values to help you develop a plan that works for you and your partner. 

We can also create a written plan for you at a fiduciary standard of care. All our written plans come with an unconditional money-back guarantee. If you are unhappy with your written plan, you can return it to us, and we will refund 100% of the fee paid.

Are you ready to talk to a professional about saving for retirement? Contact ProVise today to schedule a complimentary consultation.