February 07, 2019
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In this episode, Suze shares correspondence she had with two financially abused women.
Welcome everybody to part two of financial abuse. Last Sunday I did a podcast with Sarah on financial abuse and to say that we got very interesting responses is to put it mildly. I think one of the best ways to express the responses that we got is to let me read you a few letters, a few emails so that you can hear it directly from the women themselves. Here's one of the emails that I got. Took me years to realize why my mother held three jobs during our childhood and what the consequences were to her life, that my father was in effect stealing her income from the family year after year after year. I don't think either of them would have put it in those terms. I hadn't thought about my mother working so hard, saving pennies for a long time. This was from a woman who was 75 years of age now. So obviously her mother would be quite old. But it's interesting how a podcast, how a podcast simply talking about financial abuse conjures up memories, memories that you've actually forgotten that you didn't have the answer to. Questions that you did not have the answers to years ago about your own family's life or about your own life and somehow you suppress them and you didn't think about them even though they didn't make sense to you. And then you hear like I said a podcast about financial abuse, and you start realizing that even within your own family, your own father financially abused you, your mother, your family by stealing money. But yet there weren't words for you to describe it back then. But now there are words. And again those words are financial abuse. The next email came in and I had quite the conversation with this woman because as Sarah says to you, quite often that I will respond. Sometimes I will call you, sometimes I will email you. Sometimes I will Facebook messenger with you and we will talk and we will talk and this went on for a long time with this next email. So please listen. Dear Suze, I'm 58 and a half years of age. I just found out my husband was caught up in an online illicit affair with a woman overseas who scammed him out of around 150,000 plus dollars with the promise to pay him back. Yes, you read that right. It's a double grief I learned too late. And now our investments are totally gone. And he also borrowed $135,000 total most through unsecured bank loans and some personal loans. Thankfully my name and social security number are not attached to the loans. Any advice financially speaking to help this situation? Alright. So now I'm reading this and I'm like you're asking me for financial advice when you've just found out that your husband of a number of years has spent your entire amount of money that the two of you saved on an illicit affair with a woman, and you want to know is there any advice financially speaking? Are you kidding me? Is that what you really want to know? So alright so I write her back, and I say tell me how much money does he make? According to a text he sent me a few months ago before all of this blew up, he nets $1,024 a week for 52 weeks or $53,248. Now before I even go on with anything else, through a text he sent you. A text as to how much money he's making. He goes on to tell you he makes $2,023 per month in social security as well for $26,676. He does this in a text to you. Does that right then and there give you an idea how you are communicating with your spouse in a text? You write him and say how much money do you make versus sitting down face to face? Is that an indication that you're afraid to talk to him about it because of his response or what is that? What is that? I just, I just want you to think about that. You then go on to say no retirement in sight. We had some investments which are now gone. I learned today that some were used for the renovation five years ago and some ended up being used in this scam. We now have only $5,000 left in an IRA that he just put back in from one of the loans he had taken out. He emptied 31,000 out of it for the scam plus all the other loans he took from the bank and three personal loans from friends and family. It's so complex. This girlfriend was supposed to pay him back. Total scam from the get-go. Can't believe he fell for it. I now have access to all the accounts. It's like closing the barn door after all the horses are out. The money is gone. I then asked her do you hate living with him? I don't hate living with him, nor do I hate him. But I'm extremely angry, betrayed, crushed and not sure if I can ever rebuild trust. Again. Think about that. Think about that. She doesn't hate living with him. Nor do I hate him. Man. This is a better woman than me. I would hate him so much I can't even tell you. But again, that's me, that's not her. So she goes on and she says, this has been my life long investment. But I do indeed stand at a crossroads of what to do. I am not rushing into any decisions. Of course I asked her, why don't you just kick him out? Well, I'm told since he didn't physically abuse me, physically. Alright. That's all that matters to everybody. Physical abuse. That's what the law cares about. They don't care about financial abuse. They don't care that this woman has just been ruined probably for the rest of her life. They don't care that he stole their money. It's just that she doesn't have any black and blue marks to show for it. So she doesn't have any rights. Well, I'm told since he didn't physically abuse me, I have no lake to stand on to legally kick him out of the house. I requested for days that he move out. He said he wasn't leaving as it is his house too. This was just a week ago. I then asked her when did you discover all this? I discovered this affair in November of last year and for 2.5 months he was silent on the subject. January 7th was when I started digging into the financials by going into our bank and asking for the printouts of 2018 statements. That's when I discovered all kinds of activity really beginning in early July. It took me until mid- to uncover all I could possibly uncover. And I confronted him with it. Then I should have asked her what did he say? But it wouldn't have mattered to me what he said. Because whatever he would have said in my opinion would have just been selfish, would have been a lie, would have been to take care of himself. Because if he ever really cared about this woman, if he didn't want to financially abuse this woman, which in my opinion is equally as bad as physical verbal psychological abuse, he wouldn't have done it. He wouldn't have done it once, twice, three times. It wouldn't have gone on for this many times. She then goes on to say, as I said, I'm at a crossroads and not jumping into a decision. Of course fear is a part of it. This is huge. And I'm trying my best to keep a clear head. What is that fear? What is that fear that you feel when you know somebody has financially abused you, seriously financially abused you, lied to youm cheated on you, did everything. To have this affair online and fell so in love with somebody online that you rob your accounts, you do this, you rob your spouse of 30 years. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? What is that fear? I want you to think about that. Because it is that exact same fear that kept you from looking at your bank statements. That kept you from being involved with your money. That kept you from being everything you needed to be to be secure, watching where your money was going, watching what your partner was doing with it, being involved with your money. And yet that fear now raises its head again, it's like, I don't know what to do. And the reason you don't know what to do is because you don't have the money to do something. That's now you have trapped yourself into a financially abusive relationship because you have to stay in this house because you don't make enough money to be able to move out and live somewhere else because he won't leave. You don't have the ability in your own mind to generate an income and create retirement for yourself and to be okay even though you're just a young 58 a half year of age. And of course you can rebuild your life but you're afraid you won't be able to. And that fair just very well may keep you in this financially abusive relationship. In this relationship with this person has been lying to you. Has destroyed your financial life, therefore destroying you. And yet you're trying to keep a level head. Alright. And of course, Suze Orman asked the question, do the kids know? Do the kids know? Because please don't tell me that you have all of these kids and you are protecting them from knowing about the true nature of their father. As if he wouldn't do that to them as well somewhere down the road. Of course he would. Of course he would. If he could do it to you, he could do it to his children, he can do it to anybody. But you're going to protect them. Are you protecting them? Or are you protecting him in the hopes that he'll be all right? He'll come to the end and save everything. And apologize and get all the money back and all of the stuff that he will never ever do. And you know he will never do. But yet are you protecting them, or are you protecting him? I want you to think about that. And the answer is the kids don't know yet. We then converse about this, and she responds, I am gaining strength as the days go on. I can see how telling the kids the truth would bring some healing. At first, it would bring some devastation to them, but they'd understand a lot more of what I've been through. Thank you so very much. Now obviously I've continued to communicate with this woman, and this was just a condensed version of everything that went back and forth between us. But I wanted to read this because this is not unusual. This is not just this one woman, this one case, you know in a sea of millions of people. I know as you are listening to this you can relate. You can relate to yourself not only being in this exact same situation, but maybe you know somebody else who's in this situation. This is the year we need to find our voice. We need to speak up. We need to pay attention when that little voice inside us says, you know, something's going wrong. I just have a feeling, something's going wrong. And and, so you ask about it. And the person says to you no, everything's fine. But yet you still feel that way. When that happens, you have got to trust yourself more than you trust others. Because you allow yourself to be financially abused because you don't want to believe what you know you want to believe the person who's in your life. I always look at people when they say something to me and I ask them a question and I don't believe them. I look them right in the face and I say you are lying to me. You are lying to me and I don't care how much you tell me. You're not lying to me. I know you are lying. So you can sit there and tell me everything that you want to tell me as often as you want to tell me, and I will never believe you. Because you are lying. And it always turns out that I was right. I want you to have as much conviction in how you think and how you feel, and not let others make you doubt those thoughts or doubt those feelings. For the goal of the Women & Money podcast is for you to be strong. For you to be smart. And for you to be secure. And and to do that, you have to know your own thoughts. You have to respect your own feelings. You have to have the strength to say what you are thinking, to do what you are feeling. And to not doubt yourself. And not to let anybody else ever make you doubt yourself. Good company. When you keep good company, they make you stronger. They make you have more faith in yourself. They pick you up when you are down. They do not put you down when you are going up. They just don't. And these were just two examples. But I think that these two examples are enough for me to make the point. And the point is this. We live in a day and an age in a time where financial abuse is rampant. And it is most likely, you may be in a financially abusive relationship. You need to recognize it, and if you are, you need to do something about it. If you don't know what a financially abusive relationship is, please listen to last week's podcast, and you will find out. You can always go to thehotline.org, which is the national domestic violence hotline. You can get counseling there. You could also go to The Purple Purse. Serena Williams happens to be currently the spokesperson. But there are places you can go and get help. But the biggest help you will ever get is the help that you can give yourself by simply recognizing the truth. The truth of the situation that you or anybody else you know may happen to be in. And it is the recognition of that truth, standing in that truth, confronting that truth, and then doing something about it that will absolutely free you from all the doubt that you have ever had about what you are doing.
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