October 31, 2019
Listen to Podcast Episode:
Suze shakes things up a little bit on this podcast of Ask Suze Anything. Today, she shares four emails from Women and Money listeners that she found profound.
Suze O. here, and welcome to another edition of Ask Suze Anything. But today I want to do something a little bit different. I actually want to read to you emails that I have gotten that on some level I find quite profound. I just want you to hear the emails that I see coming in that don't necessarily have questions, although some may, but that they all make an interesting point that all of us, in my opinion, should be aware of when it comes to money. Especially when we are in a relationship, whether it is a relationship with a spouse, a partner, a brother, a sister, a parent. We can have relationships with many people when it comes to money and all of them need to be paid attention to.Let's start with Jess, she says, hi, Suze. I found your latest installment on Pride so relatable, especially in regards to the dynamics between parents and children. I'm 40 and when I graduated high school many years ago, my father ceremoniously presented me with keys wrapped up in a little box at my graduation dinner for my whole family to see and applaud. He had purchased me a new car and said that it reflected his and my mother's pride in my hard work. Congratulations. I was surprised because I had made the decision to go to State University, where we lived in Georgia because the room and board expenses were much lower than a private school and with a B or better grade average, tuition was paid for by the Hope Scholarship, so a new car seemed like quite the extravagance for me. A couple of years into college, I drove home over Thanksgiving break and first met up with my parents at a popular restaurant near their home. In the parking lot, I bumped into a car pulling out of a parking space. Most importantly, no one was hurt, we were both moving so slowly. We exchanged insurance info, it was my fault, and I walked into the restaurant with my head low. I immediately came clean to my folks about what had just happened in the parking lot and my dad flipped his lid. He made such a scene that we had to leave. Once we got home, my dad demanded the keys to my car and said I was not getting it back, ever. I was shocked and confused. I had assumed that the most important thing was no one was hurt and that I would just expect to pay more for my car insurance. My mom then quietly and secretly heads into the guest room where I'd stay, went on to tell me that the car was actually leased in my dad's name. She said that damaging the vehicle was problematic for when they had to return the car at the end of the lease, but that the real reason he took the car back was because I had put too many miles on it driving around to football games and leadership conferences at other colleges on the weekends. I told her that I believed it was unfair that things had been up-ended for me in this way without telling me the truth, and my parents explained that this car was a conditional gift and actually more of a nice loaner car. I would have handled it more appropriately for real situations. I also asked when they had planned on telling me that the car was not actually mine but in fact, a leased car that had to be returned. She told me they hadn't thought about that part yet, but that my dad was probably more excited to show our family that he had bought a new car for his daughter. This story represented that important shift in every person's life where they realize their parents aren't perfect people themselves. After that, I no longer trusted my parents in the same way again but I learned that we can all make gifts out of crummy situations. I also learned more about taking responsibility for the things I do own and the power of enjoying something you have worked for rather than were given, especially if it is not a real need. I realized that financial abuse has become a salient message, but I believe a significant part for many is how we are taught or how we develop an understanding of personal finance when we leave the nest and in turn, can shape how we value ourselves through those formative years of early adulthood. Thank you for addressing the issue of pride today. I don't believe it's always a terrible characteristic, but when it aligns with dishonesty, even just by admitting the facts or not living your truth, you can be hiding in plain sight from shame. Jessica M.I have to tell you, I absolutely loved this email. It wasn't a question, it was what she had learned by listening to a podcast that I did a few days ago on Pride. If you haven't heard that podcast, you might want to go ahead and listen to it. I actually called Pride one of the sins of wealth. Actually, it's one of the sins of false wealth, but that's a whole another podcast, I have a feeling. So what's important about this is that not just can Suze Orman sit here and answer your questions, but it's important for you to also learn from the people who write in and the lessons that they have to teach you as well through their own personal experience. So, Jessica, thank you, because that was a great, great, great email.All right, this next one and it's a long email, but hey, I told you not to send me long emails. You don't listen to me, so I'm going to read them back to all of you. But they're all fascinating, they're fascinating. And again, each one has a lesson in them that we can all learn from. She says, I've been in a committed long term relationship for over 16 years now with a man who is 12 years older than me. In the first six months of dating, I was struggling with family issues and I loved that he seemed to spoil me. At that time I was 22 and crashing with him regularly, and he was 34 living at home with his parents.Well, that should have told you something, but that's beside the point. Shortly thereafter, his parents kicked us out and everything went downhill. He cashed out a 401k which I learned years later from you was a huge no-no and should have been a red flag. We've lived with roommates and had several apartments in the last 16 years, but I have always been the one to carry us financially. That is the primary reason why we never married. He is a wonderful person in many ways, but I refused to marry him because of the likelihood of long term financial consequences. Even without marriage, however, the financial consequences have been numerous, and I've grown resentful. I have tried what feels like a dozen different approaches to influence his spending and saving habits but to no avail. Over the past few years, I completely removed myself from his finances. His parents rented their house to us for a reasonable price, which I was able to afford on my own, so I stopped nagging him about his finances altogether. I paid all the bills and never received a dime from him, although he thinks filling my car with gas and buying a few groceries or fast food for dinner is enough of a contribution. I also paid cash for a second vehicle for him to use so he could get to work, though it's in my name. He has barely contributed to me directly, but I was hopeful he was paying off debt, back taxes, and $6000 to $7000 on credit cards. That was not the case. I believe I was too complacent over the last few years and the lower expenses allowed me to ignore the real problem. I was pursuing a master's degree, which provided a distraction from this reality, but now, his parents want to sell the house and our monthly expenses will increase threefold.Over the past couple of months, I've come closer and closer to ending this relationship. However, after considerable discussion, I've agreed to give him another chance. I feel like a fool for doing this, and yet I feel like an a-hole if I leave. Not only do his parents want to sell the house, but it happened in a way that has destroyed his relationship with them and his whole family. He is essentially isolated from everyone now, and I'm practically the only person he has left. My gut is telling me I should get out before we move into the new place together and I'm stuck for 18 more months, but guilt is telling me I can't possibly leave him in such a dark hour without a home, family or car. I feel he's a financial and emotional mess, but my leaving would leave him with almost nothing. I'm anxious all the time and this decision is tearing me up inside. I'm desperate for guidance. Sincerely, Robin.Are any of you relating to the past two stories that I've just relayed to you that were sent in via emails to me? Robin, listen to me. This is your life. You already have seen sign after sign after sign. You have already seen a red flag waving and waving and waving and yet you are choosing to ignore it because you cannot leave him at his time of need, although he never seemed to show up for you to help you with anything. It seems to me like he's always been somebody who's just taken everything for granted. Living with your parents, living in a place that now they're giving you for almost for free that your paying for. You having a car for him, paying for it, doing all of these things, and yet you feel sorry for him. All right, listen, I don't know what the two of you really feel for each other or you don't feel for each other, but I do think it is a terrible mistake that you do not get out now. However, with that said, because on some level you have been treating him like your child. It's almost as if he has been your kid that you are taking care of in every possible way when he does a few things to contribute, but that's about it. Why don't you separate now, get your own place, get your own life together? And tell him that you will continue to let him use your car so that he has a car. That you will help him for three months pay rent on an apartment, a studio, little tiny apartment. Somehow, in the long run, I think you're going to end up spending the same amount of money even though you're renting two places, but you're only making a commitment to him for a short period of time. And then you tell him that he has to figure it out on his own that oh, you're there for him, but you just can't live with him now because you don't think it's good for him or for you. But continue to support him, you can continue to call him, you can continue to text him, communicate with him, but I would so so separate my life from him because otherwise, you are just postponing what you need to do for another 12 months, 18 months, two years. And you really think he's going to change when he hasn't changed to this point? Really? Now, is that your pride? Is that your pride thinking that he cannot do it on his own and that you are the one that can save him? Is that pride? Or is that feeling because you really love him, and you really like him and you want to be with him? Or that you feel sorry for him? But you want to be the one who saves him. I have to tell you if I had to make a decision here, are you coming from love or are you coming from pride? I have to tell you, in my opinion, you are coming from pride, and it is a big mistake. I don't think in the long run you will be helping him, you will simply be postponing the lessons that he has to deal with. He might as well deal with it right now. You know, before I go on, years ago, and I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm really a devout student of Indian culture. Of all different kinds of traditions, but a lot of the lessons that are taught in the most ancient scriptures of sand script, because somehow, I always had a feeling that in the beginning of time so to speak, where things kind of started, is where things were really true before we started to, you know, mess it all up somehow. I was at a retreat once and there was a man and he was standing up and it was being taught by a teacher, and it was to learn how to deal with who you really are. And this man was standing up and the teachers, there were few teachers teaching this course, and then the main teacher started to rip this man apart, absolutely apart, telling him every possible negative thing in front of like 1000 people that they could possibly tell him. And he was like, just absorbing it. And then the people around him felt so sorry for him, they started to stick up for him. They started to say, no, he's not that bad. No, he's this, he's that, and they started to make him feel better. And then the main teacher who had been watching this from another room came in and she said something that I'll never forget.All of you have false compassion. You tend to save people because you feel compassionate towards them, but it's false compassion because this man was just about to make an incredible breakthrough in his life. He was about to really overcome the obstacles that are keeping him from being who he wants to be. He was facing the truth and you made the truth go away with your false compassion and now you have ruined it for him. And that story somehow just came to my mind as I was just reading you that last email about she just saved somebody. It's in their time of need, everybody else has abandoned them, they have nothing, they have no money. So what should you do? Is it pride? Is it false compassion? What is it? But it's something you all need to think about.The next one is from Monica, and she asks, am I financially abusing my husband? When I was a young college student, I got hooked on your show when a little child asked you if he could afford to buy a goldfish. Anyway, just wanted to thank you.I wonder, did I approve or deny him? You never know. You know, on my show, whenever I would deny a kid because we had a Can I Afford It? kids segment. Oh, my God, my producers would get so upset. They would say, Suze, the kid's only eight years of age. I'm like, when do you think people learn about money? Are you kidding me?Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. This year is the first year I have an eight-month emergency fund in both my personal account and my business account. I started my business after having my second child and being informed that I could not work part-time. I went out on my own even after my husband told me that it was never going to work out. That's another story. I opened a Roth IRA and have deposited the allowed $6000 and paid off all my credit card debt. It feels amazing. I've been married for 10 years. My husband was in the military when we met. We got married quickly. I moved to a new town as military people do, and in 2010 I had no job and had no money of my own. When I asked my husband to add me to the account, he said no. I was furious. As I thought, once you get married, what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine. Well, that was not the case. I remember telling him that this was wrong. I remember feeling so helpless. I was a victim of financial abuse although I did not know it. Of course, I was too stubborn to let him win. I told him I don't have money right now because I can't find anything in this small town you begged me to move to. But this will not be the case forever. I will get a job, I will make money on my own, and I will not need your help. Like any marriage, we have had our ups and downs. We can be very possessive, you know the signs. We go to marriage counseling. He got out of the military and I told him if he was getting out he needed to go to school. I work and pay all the bills and I make sure we have all our bases covered. I know at first he got money for unemployment, then he would get money for living which he paid his bills and whatnot. But he would keep all our financial things separate. There was a time I really did not tell him how much money I was making. Of course, once we filed taxes, it all came out. He graduated last December. He is unemployed and he is trying to get a job. I pay all the bills and he asked me for money to pay the bills and I only give him what he needs. If he wants to go out with his friends, he needs to ask me for money. I do give him what he needs. I also feel that if he knew how much money I made, he might become lazy and not keep trying to find a job. I am not trying to control him with money. I do use it as a motivator and it helps me save so much money, which I love. I give him whatever he needs but I do enjoy the fact that the tables have turned and what I predicted 10 years ago is actually happening. My question is, am I financially abusing my husband? What advice do you have for me once he gets a job and starts making money? Should we try and fix our past mistakes and have more open communication about money? I don't ever want to feel like I felt at the beginning of our marriage. Love always, Mon.Oh, Mon. You know the truth is no, you're really not being financially abusive to your husband. You're being careful because you have been hurt and you were financially abused years ago. But what makes me so sad is that nowhere in this long email, nowhere, did I hear once or did I see once in writing say I love him so much. I like him, we have fun together, I can't wait to come home to him. All you did was talk to me about how the money wasn't working. And you know what I tell you about money? Money is a physical manifestation of you. And if your money isn't working and both of your monies aren't working, it means that your relationship isn't working and your money is trying to show you that. I didn't feel any joy. The only time I felt joy in your entire email was when in fact you told me about how you made it and you did it, and how proud you are that you did it and you never want to go back to how you felt in the beginning. In the beginning, is when normally you are madly in love, you are madly in lust, you can't wait to be with this person, you can't wait to be with them sexually, and you know, you're like whole life is around this person. But no, you don't want to go back to the beginning.So no, you're not financially abusing your husband because you are giving him everything that he asks for and everything that he needs. And you're the one paying the bill. Financial abuse would be, he was the one who was working, and he had to give you his entire paycheck every single month, and then he had to ask you for money, and you would decide how much money you would give him if any. And you would not be the one most likely working, and you would be paying the bills with what he gives you, but he would have no say in anything what so ever. He wouldn't be allowed to have friends, he wouldn't be allowed to do most anything and talk to people about this. So yeah, it's not about financial abuse here because that's not what you're doing. You're trying to help him, but you're not being honest with him. And you asked me at the end should you have open communication? Oh, yeah, I think so. He should know how much money you're making. He should know everything about what you have and what you don't have if you plan on staying with him. If you're not going to stay with him, then it's a whole another story. Then you want to kind of keep things to yourself, because now we're talking about divorce, and now he's entitled to money. So you're just going to have to figure this out. But somehow I just have this feeling again that if your money isn't working, it's because your relationship isn't working either.Now, I actually had one more to read to you. Now, I'm very aware that we are about 30 minutes into this podcast and that's where I normally cut it off, but I just have one more that I want to read to you because this podcast really is about a lot of things that all of you need to consider. It's about financial abuse, it's about being in a good relationship, it's about pride, it's about false compassion, it's about what your money can show you. It's about what you can learn, what you can learn and the emails that are coming in you can learn a lot from the people who are writing in because you may be one of these people. You may be in one of these situations, or maybe, you know a friend that is. So, I am just going to read one last one. So this next email is from somebody who does not want me to use her name, so I will not. But the subject matter is, is this financial abuse?Hello, Suze. I love your show, and I've been learning so much this past year from you. I have been going through marriage issues with my husband over the past year. We have been married for 23 years, and I'm questioning if this is what I want for my future. Since April, I have worked very hard interviewing for a new job and landed a great opportunity. My start date was September 16th and I decided to open my own separate checking account for my direct deposit with a credit union that I have been wanting to work with. I didn't tell my husband as he would have made me keep it in our joint account at a bank. We would have fought, either way, so I prolonged the inevitable and dealt with repercussions when I finally told him my paycheck was in a separate account and that I would transfer money to our joint for paying bills. He went ballistic. He pays the bills and always has. He claimed bankruptcy 10 years ago due to the crash and credit card bills, and two homes that he owned. His real estate venture, not mine with my name also on it, lead to short sales. At that time, I had no idea the trouble we were in until he kept telling me not to spend money and that we had to start paying bills with other credit cards. So one fateful day, I added up all our bills and we were $90,000 in debt. He took the brunt of it as he was the one who was in charge of the bills and the cards were in his name. I was going to claim bankruptcy with him, but we decided it would be better to have me as the backup for future loans and keep the house, which is in my name. He has been careful throughout the years and has saved our money. However, a couple of years ago he opened a separate savings account to build up our emergency fund, but he only put his name on it. I always had an issue and wanted him to add me since my money was going in there as well but to no avail. He says he is doing it for us, yet I cannot locate statements and do not know how much is in the account.My other concern has been a credit card that he opened recently. A $5000 cash advance with no interest rate and he pays $150 a month. He told me after the fact and never consulted me. As usual, he said he had to act on it since it was such a deal and we needed to pay for bigger expenses like my son's braces. Not sure what other expenses are besides braces. Needless to say, our relationship isn't much of a partnership, and I'm sick of the differences and lack of respect for those differences and all of the fighting. I know he thinks me opening my separate account is just another step in me leaving him, but I just had to do this for me. I did tell him he has done the same to me with the separate savings account and that dumb credit card he opened and I could not understand why he would be so mad. He is now threatened and said that I will be in charge of paying all the bills, and he will add money to our checking account to pay bills when they come in, as I was planning on doing. I cannot have a normal conversation with this man, as he has never listened to my advice or my thoughts or views, ever. My big question is, is this grounds for divorce? I know money is a manifestation of other issues, I learned that from you, but I cannot stop thinking about your recent subject on financial abuse. Any insights on my craziness would be so much appreciated.This, again, isn't exactly financial abuse. This is you being abusive to your self because you see everything that is going on. You are trying to help yourself because you feel you need to be protected. You talk in this email about you can't converse with him, he doesn't listen to you. What kind of relationship is that? It seems to me that you have a great job now, you have a great relationship with your own money, which means you should have a great relationship with yourself. But you are not honoring who you are within this relationship. So I just have to ask you, if you were to turn back the hands of time, would you marry this man again? Would you? And if the answer to that question is no, do not get stuck on is this financial abuse? Is this not? You should get stuck on the answer that you gave, which is probably no, as to then why don't you do something about it? Why are you being abusive to yourself and allowing yourself to stay in a situation that you don't like, that you don't want to be in? That you know you have financial exposure to because I got news for you, even if he took out a credit card in his own name because he was married to you when he took it out, you are going to be liable for the debt on that card. So don't think it's all about separate this and separate that and he's doing this. Every move that he is making with money has a direct effect on you, but you are allowing that to happen.So hopefully you won't let your pride keep you in this relationship. Hopefully, you won't have false compassion for him. Hopefully, you will stand in your truth and you will do what you know you need to do for yourself. Listen, you already have a great job. You already have money coming in. So it's not like you're in a situation where you cannot get out because you don't have any money what so ever. Again, a truly financially abusive relationship would be he absolutely would not allow you to have that separate account, he would demand your paycheck from you. You would have to give it to him and you would have to beg him for money, and now he has you trapped because you don't have any money to leave if you wanted to.There are some signs of financial abuse here, but don't get hung up on it. Again, stop doing this to yourselves, all right? A little bit different Ask Suze Anything, but not really. Because whether it's the Ask Suze Anything part of the Women and Money podcast or the Sunday podcast, which are more emotional and spiritual and who knows what they are? Whatever label you want to put on them, it's all about you. It's all about how do you live your very, very best life, where you love every single day waking up and seeing the sunrise. How do you do that? And when you have questions, they're not normally just about money. They're really about why are you doing what you're doing to yourself? Why are you allowing it to happen? I just ask you to think about that. If you want to write in and ask a question, and if it's chosen I will answer it on this podcast. Write in your question to AskSuzePodcast@gmail.com, and you just never know when it will pop up right here. Stay safe, everybody. In providing answers neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman is acting as a Certified Financial Planner, advisor, a Certified Financial Analyst, an economist, CPA, accountant, or lawyer. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman makes any recommendations as to any specific securities or investments. All content is for informational and general purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and financial advisors regarding your particular situation. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman accepts any responsibility for any loss, which may arise from accessing or reliance on the information in this podcast and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for loss or damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of the information. To find the right Credit Union for you, visit https://www.mycreditunion.gov/. Interested in Suze's Must Have Documents? Go to https://shop.suzeorman.com/checkout/cart/index/.