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Financial abuse or luxury?

(187 Posts)
hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:17:31

N/c as some posters know my RL identity.

Before we had DC, DH and I both had well paid professional jobs, at about the same level. However, I have now been a sahm for many years whilst DH has significantly progressed his career. My earning power is currently negligible relative to his.

Fast forward to now: DH likes to know what I spend, so I pay for everything on a credit card for which DH has the password so he can view the transactions. He keeps a real time spreadsheet of my expenditure split into categories which he looks at most days. There is no way for me to spend without it appearing on the spreadsheet (other than cash, and DH doesn't like me to get out cash).

My credit card bill consists mainly of family expenditure: food, insurance, car costs, DC clothes, holidays, vet bills etc The annual total is in the tens of thousands but it is well within our budget, and has still enabled us to make significant savings for retirement. I generally feel too guilty to spend money directly on myself but that is probably my own perception rather than imposed by DH who often buys me generous presents - he likes to choose my clothes and my jewellery.

DH also has a credit card, the monthly spend coming out of the joint account. I have no way of telling how much of that is business expenditure and how much is personal - it could be 100% business or it could be 100% personal. It does not appear on the spreadsheet. I feel it is up to him what he does with the money he has earned so that doesn't bother me.

Anyway, should I feel uncomfortable that DH has such a close monitoring of my spend, which I find a little infantalising, or is it reasonable of him to want to know where the money is going?

In short, I have no financial privacy, but I'm not sure why I want it.

A friend of mine tells me this is financial abuse .... even though DH has NEVER criticised me for overspending, or attempted to limit the amount.

BTW my DH works such long hours that I hardly see him and we live pretty separate lives so I do feel like a paid housekeeper sometimes and maybe that is the heart of my problem....... (the spreadsheet makes me feel like an employee providing receipts tbh).

Sorry about the long post; to refocus, my question is whether I should be insisting on financial privacy or not? Is this accountability reasonable and normal, or is it a strange way to live? Or am I simply jolly lucky?

ChasedByBees Thu 09-May-13 22:24:11

Awful awful awful.

He doesn't want to keep track of 'what we spend' he wants to keep track of what you spend. You don't have the same right.

You are responsible for all household tasks and childcare, even if you have a full time job. He stood by while you worked so hard you developed a heart condition. Now you have been advised not to work full time but you're going to ignore that (and presumably continue to do 100% of all household tasks).

He wants you to be around to do all the household tasks but they are worthless, as in any money into the home is his alone - all your work counts (financially) for nothing even though you taking on that load allows him to achieve his success.

This is not just a problem with your perception. If it was, he would have willing corrected it for you. He would not insist on your passwords, he would not keep such close tabs (there is no reason for that frequency of checking your expenditure) and he would allow you privacy without even thinking about it.

My DH and I are moving from a situation where we both early the same and now our incomes have shifted, DH is a SAHD setting up a business. I'm very mindful of the fact that there could be an imbalance and we discuss how to address it and I encourage him to spend what he wants to. I certainly don't check what he's taken out of the bank - as long as we have enough money for bills and approximately equal 'fun/personal' money, that's all that counts.

ninjasquirrel Thu 09-May-13 22:25:07

If he asks you why you want a personal account, don't get tied up in justifying it, ask him why he doesn't want you to have one when it's a perfectly normal arrangement - is he implying that you are untrustworthy?

Snazzynewyear Thu 09-May-13 22:37:28

I'm surprised someone earning that much in that kind of high-powered job has the time to check personal spending records daily. It simply isn't a cost-effective way to spend your time - in fact it would be a lot more efficient, in terms of keeping the household running smoothly and in good financial shape, for you as the SAHM to do it, with just a regular discussion with him of any major trends, big purchases or issues you both need to be aware of. So whatever his reason for checking daily or almost daily, it simply does not make sense as a 'best way to run the household' approach.

musu Thu 09-May-13 22:55:56

The OP's dh may not actually have such an amazingly high salary. Many years ago I had a student job where I dealt with 'high net worth' individuals. It was surprising how many weren't actually as wealthy (in terms of having money/assets that actually belonged to them rather than the bank) as they liked to appear.

Snazzynewyear Thu 09-May-13 23:13:35

musu maybe not - though I think the point stands that his checking behaviour isn't actually an efficient way to do things so there must be some other reason behind it.

perfectstorm Thu 09-May-13 23:28:18

OP, how did you get on with buying that laptop/tablet?

whatnowpolonius Thu 09-May-13 23:35:27

Entertaining clients? Yeah right. Knocking off someone else, more like. If he was, would you ever find out? So you're not allowed to look at his bank account. Is he equally secretive about his phone and email?

I know someone who bought his mistress a house in Kensington. Yep. His wife had no idea (until the divorce) because she had no access to finances. Btw she had no claim over that house because it legally belonged to the mistress.

He could be hiding all sorts of secrets from you. Prostitutes, mistresses, dodgy deals... It's possible that, with a few wrong decisions from him, all that money you think he's got could just disappear leaving him with fuck all. And you with 50% of fuck all if you divorce him...

OrWellyAnn Thu 09-May-13 23:37:20

I think it would be a very good idea for you to have some sort of independent finance as a 'just in case'. If you have the discussion about cash and he refuses you still have lots of very expensive clothes, shoes and jewelry... would you get away with selling some of it on the sly and opening a bank account that he knows nothing about and squirrelling some away there?

perfectstorm Fri 10-May-13 00:34:09

OrWellyAnn the savings are in her name, but he has all the passwords. Frankly if I were in her shoes I'd do as someone else has suggested and contact the financial provider to change them, if the savings are substantial. But the OP sounds a little more phased than that.

I agree calling Women's Aid for counselling is an excellent idea, OP. They'll say if they feel it isn't their area. And offer support if it is.

I'd missed the clothes part. To be honest, alongside the rest? That would be less a red flag and more a klaxon alarm. He has complete control over your life while allowing you no access whatsoever to his.

perfectstorm Fri 10-May-13 00:34:35


garlicyoni Fri 10-May-13 00:40:38

Secret bank accounts aren't secret. He could just do a credit check. If he is a controlling nutter, he will.

It used to be something of a tradition for the wives of controlling, wealthy men to have copies made of their jewellery. The jeweller would take ownership of the original, paying them the difference. I imagine this practice hasn't died out altogether - but you need very high-value jewellery, as good copies are expensive.

I recall threads on MN where rich men's wives have resorted to selling their stuff on ebay and at dress exchanges, in order to get an escape fund together. It doesn't sound as if OP will come to that - but at least it's better to have valuable things to sell than not!

Hoping - I'm hoping, too. I hope you've bought your laptop, organised a decent personal cash fund for yourself and are discussing a cleaner/housekeeper to free up your time.

How are things?

JojoMags Fri 10-May-13 13:56:42

I am a sahm - have been for 6 years and totally dependent on dh's earnings. However, it is regarded by him, as well as me, as family money and I manage our accounts. He does not check up on me and I would regard it as bullying and controlling if he did.

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