October 19, 2023
For this episode of Ask Suze Anything, Suze takes on the role of reading the questions and answering them. She’ll help one listener determine if she’s being taken advantage of and then share a heartwarming story from a listener who realized their own power.
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October 19th, 2023. Welcome everybody to the Women and Money podcast as well as everybody smart enough to listen.
Yes, it's just me again today.
Now, KT is doing so much better. I can't even tell you. In fact, as I'm recording this, she's in the kitchen cooking, which is a great, great sign. And she said, ok, let's go do a podcast. And I said, KT, no, you're not doing a podcast quite yet. I don't want you to do that. She said, but Suze, I said KT, so she just wants to know she's doing so much better, but I just want to make sure. Ok, so I'm going to do both parts today.
All right. Are we ready? The very first email is, Hi, Suze. I've been married for four years since 2019 and we live in my house which I had bought for $210,000 in 2017. Now, before I go on, listen to the inflection in my voice because I'm like KT that just so sweetly reads all these emails. I'm giving you clues as to the things that jump out at me. As I read these emails, my husband gives me $1000 per month and buys a few essentials for the home such as detergent, paper, towels, and toilet paper. I make $75,000 per year. I don't know his salary because he has never revealed it to me. But he is a senior director at a company that he has worked for 30 years at
I am pain all the utilities and the maintenance including landscaping. He only mows the lawn and takes out the garbage but pays for nothing else. My question to you is, do you think I am being taken advantage of?
He has told me that if I put him under my mortgage, he would fix up the house since the house needs a lot of work. I understand his position, but I don't know if I would be making a mistake by adding him to my mortgage in case it doesn't work out for us. I am now having to either put him on my mortgage or possibly having to separate because I needed a new roof urgently which I cannot afford. If I was separated, I might qualify for home improvement assistance programs because of my salary.
I don't qualify for anything now because his salary disqualifies me since we are married. I'm really confused about what to do.
All right, everybody, these are all your quizzies on some level.
What did you think about that email there?
Do you think this person is being taken advantage of?
Do you think this person should put her husband's name on the mortgage?
Do you think that they should stay married or do you think they should separate? What do you think? Because it is not impossible that many of you could end up in that exact same situation or you're in that situation or you have a friend that is in that situation?
So, what do you think? What would you say? How do you feel about it?
What do you advise this person to do?
The first thing that I would say is this person is not a victim to her circumstances. She is not being taken advantage of by her husband. She is making it and put herself in my opinion, in a very subservient position where she has allowed this to go on for the past four years.
The good news is that she bought the home in 2017 for $210,000. I'm sure the house is worth significantly more than that right now. The good news is because he really hasn't paid for anything. He hasn't been a part of it and all of that could be proved, hey, I'm sure if they got divorced. Maybe. Yes, maybe. No, she would be able to just keep the house as it is in her name. Maybe she did a prenup, maybe she did not. But here's the thing that I really want to say in this situation, she says that she doesn't know how much her husband makes because he has never divulged it to her.
Are you telling me that you never looked at your joint tax returns that you sign that you are legally responsible for? Is that what you're telling me here?
Every single one of us that is married do not just go blindly signing a joint tax return because if there is something on that tax return that is not legitimate and you in fact sign for it everybody, you are responsible for that.
So have you just over all these years, the past four years just blindly signed the tax return
and didn't happen to look at how much income tax you jointly have recorded. So you very easily could have figured out how much money you were making and how much money he was making, however you chose not to do that. So don't put this on him. You really, really need to take responsibility for this in this particular situation.
Now, he may want you to put his name on the mortgage, but having a name on the mortgage is very different than having a name on the deed if his name is on the mortgage. And for whatever reason, you stop paying the mortgage, that means that he's responsible for it, not you. So who in the world would want to put their name on a mortgage and be legally responsible for paying for a house when the house isn't legally in their name.
So you could do that if you want. But ethically speaking, it's not the right thing to do if he wanted his name on the house and the mortgage. Ok.
But you are not in a relationship with somebody who in your opinion has been your equal partner. Given that he's only given you $1000 a month and buys a few essential, takes out the garbage and mows the lawn and is holding the fact that the house needs repair over your head for him to be part of that. No.
Is it really that you want to stay involved with this person? Simply because you could afford home improvements when you write to me with such an email like this. Can you see what you are actually saying?
What you're saying is you could qualify to fix up the house if you separated from him. Why? Because then you would qualify for home improvement assistance?
But you can't get that because you are married.
Are you really married?
Are you really married? Not only just legally but in love, in spirit and responsibility in wanting to take care of each other and wanting to take care of each other's possessions and really being in equal partnership? Are you?
And I have to tell you my friend you are not.
And that's why you wrote in. You knew exactly what I was going to say. You knew exactly what everybody listening to this would tell you, they would tell you that the way your husband acts with money towards you says a lot about how he feels. It also says a lot about how you feel as well.
So what should you do?
I truthfully think that you should somehow talk about having an amicable separation, see how that goes for a while, but under no circumstances, would I be putting his name on the title to your home and, or the mortgage on any level?
So I think the writing here is on the wall and I think you need to choose what you know, would make you feel secure again, protect your home, protect what you can do and make it work for you.
All right, that's one, everybody. The next one is a little bit different. This one is one of hope. This one is one of possibilities and probabilities because so many times you write me and you make it like you just can't do it. You've grown up with no money. Therefore, you'll always have no money.
And the reason that I chose this one to follow the one that I just read to you is under the heading of we are not victims to our circumstances. We can change our circumstances. But you have to want to be as powerful as you were born to be. You have to embrace when I say there is not an excuse big enough to keep you from being who you are meant to be.
You have got to remember that you are the only ones really that can be an obstacle in your own path to financial freedom.
And this is an email that proves how you can overcome your past.
It's by Steve M and the subject was positive. Powerful turning point,
dear KT and Suze,
I began working for a different company as a contractor with the government.
I had to do an IRA rollover.
The previous company won't do an electronic transfer. So I had to take a paper check to the newly built Schwab office. I've never been to a brokerage office before. Neither has anyone in my family. If you were to say the word brokerage, they wouldn't even know that term.
As I walked into the office. I realized to myself that nobody in the history of my entire family had ever stepped foot in a rich people's place like this. I thought I was going to feel out of place, but I didn't,
I felt perfectly comfortable, positive and powerful depositing my $18,000 checks into my Roth and newly created rollover.
I took my time. I savored the feeling of having that large amount of money to deposit and told myself you'll be back soon. And this is only the beginning of your wealth. I've come to do my deposits even at the ATM slowly really feeling the joy of saving and building myself to a better and stronger place
I think to myself, yes, this is who I am. I am powerful and wealthy abundance, floods my life and I always land on my feet. I can still feel the power of standing in that brokerage office. I try to sustain it as long as I can. When I recall the visit a few days ago, if the majority of people were to see where and how I grew up, they would consider me and my family trailer trash or hillbilly. Thanks to your help. I no longer see myself through the eyes of others. I see myself as who I am in body, mind and spirit. I'm resiliently abundant and secure with the power of compassion to enrich the world in boundless ways. I know this may sound silly, but I am a gay 52 year old man. Being able to connect with my own empowerment has been an enormous journey.
I'm curious, what you think is this similar to your affirming yourself as you created success. Love to you both Steve.
So Steve from Albuquerque. Could you hear it? Could you hear it? As I started to read the ending of your email, the tears warming up in my heart and my voice.
One of the reasons that I love doing the work that I do is to read an email just like this because I so relate to it, Steve in so many ways. You know, I remember telling everybody the story and how I began my journey at the path to where I am right now. When Fred Hasbrouk, many of you remember this story or maybe you don't know it when Fred Hasbrouk was a man who I waited on for seven years at the Buttercup Bakery.
And I so wanted to start my own restaurant, but I didn't have the money to do so. And Fred gathered all these people and they all gave me $50,000 to put into a brokerage firm at Merrill Lynch until I could figure out how to open up my own restaurant.
And I'll never forget when he said no, put this in a brokerage firm in a money market fund. And I said to him, Fred, what's a Merrill Lynch?
And what's a money market account?
I had no idea what he was talking about.
And I'll never forget walking into that place with those checks knowing that it was more money than I had ever had in my life and depositing it.
And that is where my journey began to become who I am to this day.
Every one of us needs to take a first step. Not necessarily walking into a brokerage firm or depositing money or whatever, but feeling the power of what it takes to start to take the right actions with your money, feeling the power that you belong there, that you're able to do this, that your past is no excuse for what you want to create your future to be.
And that is exactly what was happening to Steve in this email. It's exactly what happened to me when I first was hired at Merrill Lynch and I didn't think I belonged there.
Everybody else was driving BMWs and Mercedes. And remember this was 1980 I was still driving in 1967 Volvo station wagon that I would park on the streets to get a ticket so I could go do community service because I couldn't afford the $80 a month to park in the lot where every other broker parked, I didn't belong there. They would all go out to eat at fancy restaurants and I would go to Taco Bell and eat in my car and I did that for a year at least.
So I get it, Steve. All of you need to get that. I get it.
But what you really have to get is that your future is held in your hand.
Steve gets it. The woman who wrote in the first email needs to get it and we all need to get it.
And this is the time, the time of such uncertainty in the world. Are we going to have a World War Three? What is going to happen? Are we going to go into recession because of this, what is going to go on and while everybody else is holding the future of the United States and really the world in their hands, the least we can do is hold our own future in our own hands, in our own mind, in our own souls so that we remain powerful. We understand what we can do. We understand that we belong to the world of unlimited possibilities where anything is possible.
And then, and only then can you really consider yourself a wealthy person?
Wealth is not determined by the amount of money that you have in a bank account or the amount of money that you make true wealth. True wealth is that which can never be bought or sold at any price. True wealth is that which can never diminish the whole goal of my life's work. The whole goal of the Women and Money podcast is so that you can really, really, really live a life of true wealth.
So that's today's podcast. I hope I was a good replacement for Miss Travis. Somehow. I know I was now, I have some good news to tell you
For this Sunday and next Thursday we're going to do the best of. And why is that ready for the good news? It's because KT and I this weekend will be going to New York City and this is going to be my first time that I am on live television. You can watch me on October 24th, the five o'clock hour on CNBC. I'm gonna be doing another taping with who's talking to Chris Wallace. We'll see when that airs as well as going to a luncheon for the 50/50 which I have been named to. So I'm going for it again. Everybody just like I want all of you to do as well. So there's only one thing that I want you to say every single day. Come on, say it with me.
And it is this today. Wherever I go, I will create a more peaceful, joyful and loving world. And if you do that, I promise you you will be unstoppable.