AIBU to think I am NOT committing Financial Abuse?(123 Posts)
I need some help working out if my actions are fundamentally wrong here...
My DH is a SAHD. I work full time because my earnings were considerably more when we made the decision. The set up works well for us but money is very tight and I have to work 2 extra nights per week to supplement our income.
I do feel a little taken for granted sometimes. As does he. But we are plodding on til he hopes to start working at some point next year.
I control ALL the money. And that's because we are on a knife edge and he is very bad with money. But I am really worried that I am damaging our relationship by being so prescriptive with how much we can spend. I know he hates having to ask for money but I am too scared to give him open access so I give him cash infrequently, transfer small amounts and generally pay for most things.
How do you navigate finances if one of you has an awful financial track record? I am genuinely concerned I may be committing financial abuse but may not be recognising it and would love some others' opinions.
You may well be committing financial abuse, from what you have said.
Restricting money without his agreement because you think he is bad with money would meet the definition. Also, your idea of 'very bad with money' may not be another person's.
How does your husband think he is with money? How does he feel about you controlling it in general (other than hating having to ask)?
In what way is he bad with money. Could you sit down with him and make a budget? Would he be able to stick within that budget if he had free access to the account?
Allow a certain amount (if you can afford to) that you each can spend on yourselves each month without having to ask the other. Everything else has to stay within budget.
It's difficult if one partner is bad with money, but I was a SAHM for a few years, and I wouldn't have been happy to have to ask my DH for money each time I wanted to buy something. It does sound like financial abuse.
It's not exactly the same because i dont 'control' the money for such reasons but i do manage the money.
It makes sense for one person to do it rather than have both doing it.
Well it does to me anyway. It's easier.
So maybe you could see it as managing it rather than controlling it?
And part of that would be sitting down together every week/ month /whatever and saying ok this is where we are. This has come in, there's this this and this bill, this is what's coming up and this is what's plannedfor the rest
I have designed an 18 month cash flow forecast for the household finances, month per sheet, months broken down by week, estimated and actual column.
It makes it easy to see the finances.
Perhaps if you had something like that you might feel better.
Instead of saying no you cant have x, have regular chats where you both run through the finances.
That way, he is fully informed about the situation even if you are the one who is managing it.
Just how bad is he? Would he spend the food budget on random shite or is it just that he would buy more expensive options?
Can you get him involved in the process at all? Does he know what the family budget is?
I think Arf is right. Have you laid it all out in front of him, in a 'we're both in this together' kind of way, so that he sees exactly why you both need to control your spending ? If it's not there to be spent, then it's not there.
DH works, I am a SAHM, we find it really tight on one salary. I 'do' the budget and 'control' the finances... but we sit down together and hammer out exactly what's coming in and what's going out regularly. We use YNAB budgeting software so we can really see where it's all going, and how little there is to be frittered. It enables us both to be more responsible about our joint finances.
I understand this. We are the same. It's a bit difficult to be stuck between potential financial abuse and likely running out of money which makes you unable to afford food, bills and no safety net to recover from it.
And budgets, talking etc are nice ideas but when you've been with someone long terms you've tried all this. Some people are just very bad with money, their partners shouldn't live on the brink of financial ruin as a result
If he has a gambling problem or something yanbu. But otherwise yeah I think it's a bit worrying.
How much access to money does he have?
If he's having to ask for money to buy anything and everything he may need then I think you are tbh
Why does he have to ask for money? Surely he has access to some so he can pay for things for the DC while you're at work?
Can you not allocate x amount per month for him - say, to buy top-ups, to go to playgroup or whatever, with a little leftover for luxuries if the budget allows?
I have to say, I would find it very demeaning to have to ask for money all the time.
Wasting money is also a type of financial abuse.
If he has got you into debt by not managing money, then I can understand why you would be concerned. In that case you are not being financially abusive, you are protecting your family from debt.
How does he manage the money he has access to?
I guess you could sit down and try letting him make more decisions, but diont let him put your financial welfare at risk.
he is very bad with money
No-one can give you an answer unless you elaborate on this
gambles away the mortgage?
or just has spending priorities that are different from yours?
There are two things I would want to consider in this scenario:
1) Do both partners have an equitable split of the disposable income?
If, for instance, one partner was having to beg for the money to buy even the cheapest pair of shoes while the other partner was kitted out in all the latest expensive designer gear then I would definitely say financial abuse was at play.
2) If bother partners do have an equitable split of the money, is that set at a reasonable level?
So if the earning partner was so restrictive with money that both partners were walking around with old, falling apart shoes when they could reasonably afford new ones than I would also describe that as financial abuse.
As other have suggested, ideally both partners should have a say in the family budget, but that doesn't always work if one partner is not responsible with money, so I think it can be okay for one partner to take full control as long that person makes a reasonable and fair split of available funds.
If he has no access to money, how does he deal with things like putting petrol in the car if it runs low whilst he is using it, paying a few pounds to go to a toddler group, buying himself a new pack of shoelaces if one of his snaps when he is in town, giving the child small change to put in a wishing well, buying you a birthday present. IMO he needs to be able to do all of those things without having to apply to you in advance to get cash released.
On the other hand, if you both agree that if he had a credit card or access to a big pot of money he would be spending it on things that you can't afford, doing that might not be the best solution either. It sounds as if maybe he needs his own account which you have a regular transfer into, to be used for specific child and personal items. Or (although it is rather infantilising) one of the pre-paid debit cards designed for teens, where you can spend off the card but only up to the amount it is loaded with.
It depends on how bad he is with the money. If he's gambling away the mortgage money and you can't put food on the table then yes, what you are doing is right. If he just gets muddled and sometimes buys things he shouldn't, then that is abuse.
Might be a good idea for you to control the money but give him a set amount of money each month for things, or let him control one aspect of it.
I control the money in the house because DP is away so much but he has a separate account of his own and every month I transfer money from the joint account into that for his hobbies. He also deals with all the car insurance bills as he's better at negotiating than I am. I do all the accounts and budgets though, I'm just more maths-minded than he is.
Thanks for your comments everyone. I really value the insight because it's really hard to be objective.
Arf, your post makes so much sense and is something I should definitely aspire to. I find it challenging from a time perspective but you are so right, we need to sit down together more regularly.
My DH had a serious gambling addiction. Despite it being some years since he last did anything, he has gambled since my eldest was born and the fear is frankly petrifying. I don't think this excuses any financial abuse though. But it makes it very hard to see how I am behaving tbh.
What would happen if you asked him how he wants to manage it?
It might be that he would agree that you need to manage it.
It might be that he would like some money that is his to control, so rather than having to say "I need a haircut" he does have money for that kind of expense.
Maybe you need a separate bills account. If you are on a tight budget, and the vast majority of your money goes on necessary expenditure, maybe you need to account for that upfront and siphon it off into a bills account which can't be touched except for the direct debits, and the supermarket bill. Include savings, if you can afford it. Then you have secured the money you need and can be more relaxed about the rest.
Can you put money for bills rainy day etc in one account and then put the disposable income into two accounts one for.you, one for him. That way he doesn't have to ask you for money, but what he has is ring fenced so he can't spend the mortgage?
NotDavid, this makes total sense and is where the 'grey' area is for me. We're quite hand-to-mouth at the moment so he'll get 100% of available fund from my 2nd job but then I'll put something small on my cc'd. I try to do it fairly but suspect my needs win out sometimes. And this is really not good.
I was going to say that I have limited sympathy with him - then I saw the bit about the gambling and I'm afraid I have still less.
Looking after money is a job that someone has to do, and it is not fun. It is especially not fun when it doesn't feel like there is much. It isn't fair to unload a whole load of work and responsibility on your partner, and then whine about it. You're doing him a favour.
Even more of a favour now I see he has a problem so that he needs to be protected from having access to large amounts of money.
I do think everyone should have spends that they control. In my family, that happens when you hit 6. Everyone has some money that is entirely theirs to use on what they like. It has to be his choice whether he gets the haircut or a couple of pints or a book or whatever - no matter how modest the treat, everyone should be able to decide something like that. But you are still doing him a favour in keeping him out of temptation's way with the big money.
Give him his own (for want of a better term) "pocket money" for his own use. Let him spend it how he likes, even if you are beating your head off the desk. When it's gone, it's gone for that month.
Hopefully he will learn to budget for himself. THEN you can start to trust him with gradually increasing amounts of "family' funds.
Depends if you think he still has a problem. My dh had a gambling addiction before I met him and managed to curb it. He is actually no very strict with money and the more controlling one of the two of us when it comes to money. He has to keep track of everything. He does still occasionally gamble but at a healthy level ( sports on betfair, the odd night out at casino). Depends if you truly belive your is reformed whether he gets more freedom. Time for a proper talk I think.
Thanks, all. Is the 'pocket money' scenario another way of having total financial control though? I'm not sure what the alternative is. I think the other account is a great idea.
Maudlin, your comments have really struck such a chord because I think (deep down) that is how I feel. It is blinking hard managing the finances and I still feel betrayed, taken for granted and a little hard done by but we have agreed to draw a line under it and I must now give him a chance to prove it won't happen again. Although not too much of a chance, otherwise it will come crashing down!
All our money goes into one pot. All expenses go out. What is left is divided by the two of us. You could try this for one month and see how it goes. We don't have much, so when it's gone, it's gone; it can't be topped back up. This way he has access to money but he can't cause any damage to the family finances. Also, you have the same amount so it's fair and not abusive .
I am in the same situation, I give him fixed salary every month (for his own savings/investments etc) , fixed budget for shopping etc then tend to run at my end the bills and spend
problem is my salary has dropped, and his hasn't
I think if you have spreadsheet and complete transparency on the costs- then that's OK for you to manage it, but 100% transparency is key
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