February 16, 2020
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In today’s podcast, Suze shares stories meant to teach and inspire us all to rise above, from Women & Money listeners Kay and Terry.
Suze Orman here and you are listening to the Women and Money podcast, theme song by Effie, "Rise Above." So just a few things before we really begin today's podcast. I love that all of you loved KT on the Valentine's Day podcast just a few days ago. She loves that more than life itself, number one. Number two, on February 25th my new book, The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+: Winning Strategies to Make Your Money Last a Lifetime, will be released. And as I've been telling all of you, you have until March 3, 2020, to go to www.SuzeOrman.com, and right there you're going to see information not only about the book, but that you will be entered into a sweepstakes that allows you, if you win, to have a one on one money makeover with me. Now, I can tell you from the number of emails that are coming in, from the questions that you're asking, you really need a money makeover, most of you. So why not just give it a try? Also, for those of you who don't like to read books, the audio is 12.5 fabulous, fabulous, fabulous hours of me going off-script. It's kind of like your own personal podcast. Just think what it would be like, to listen to me for 12.5 hours, oh my God, you would go crazy.So let's start now, really, today's podcast. So many of you, so many of you have been writing in because, you know, I've been talking about financial abuse for a long time now on this podcast. But recently, so many of you have been writing in about how you feel that you have been financially abused by your parents, in particular, your father. So I want to read this one email that I got, not so long ago. I actually got it on February 9, 2020, and I'm just going to call this woman Kay. All right? I'm just gonna refer to her as Kay. And her email really moved me, and it's a little bit long, so I ask you to have patience. But it's a fascinating email, and she says to me: Hi Suze, I heard your call for stories of abuse on your recent podcast. First, let me say that I am doing well now, and I have a pension, investment income, social security, and a home that I love. But it was a lot of work with mental health professionals, including friends and a husband who is a gifted psychologist, who helped me get here.Now, before I go on and continue to read this email, I love how Kay started this because for those of you who feel like there's just no hope that you can't recover, that you'll never, ever have any money, that it's just how your story is, you've been abused and you stay in that. I'm just wanting you to see what she said, I just want you to hear what she said. She's doing great now, but it was a lot of work.She goes on to say, I believe abuse often starts in childhood, which grooms us for our future. I knew that my father was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to me, and I still confronted him at a very early age, eight years old I think. This made me the target of his rage, as he said I didn't respect him, and of course, I didn't. I still don't years after his death. Somehow, I had the courage to say what the rest of the family, including my mother, couldn't. It wasn't until I was in my 40s that I realized the extent of the physical and financial abuse. I had breathing problems from a very early age and was reprimanded for breathing through my mouth. As the years went on, I adapted to shallow breathing through my nose but eventually would wake up gasping with sleep apnea. My doctor ordered a CT Scan of my head, and we discovered old facial trauma injuries, which include my nose, having been moved across my face and skull bone breakage from a blow to the face. My nostrils were almost completely blocked by scar tissue. I had a 5% opening in one and 15% in the other. The ENT surgeon told me they could help me. I was in shock. Never had anyone said those words to me. It is likely that this happened when I was a baby because my mother said I had delayed speech and would stand in the middle of a room and scream as a toddler. I have since recovered from the surgery.The financial abuse also started in childhood. I was in a car accident and did not learn until 20 years later that there had been a cash settlement. My father took the money instead of saving it for me. When he let something slip about this, I asked why didn't he give me the money? He turned it around saying, didn't I take care of you well enough? Well, not in my opinion, he didn't. He did pay two years of college, but in my third sent a letter for my birthday saying this is the last money you will get from me, I need to start retirement savings. My mother told me he was to pay all my college expenses according to their divorce settlement. And we did find the decree stating that in her papers after she died. By the way, he was a millionaire. I did not have the strength at age 20 to sue him so I tried to work and go to school for eight months. It was too difficult for me, and so I put everything in storage and move to Mexico with my boyfriend, waiting for financial aid and to get a summer job to save up for the following school year. It was not until recently that looking back on this period, I really was homeless. At my father's memorial, I learned that he used that money to put his wife's kids through school instead of me.I tell you this to say it did set me up for future abusive relationships but also made me so much stronger when I confronted the memories and realized I had resilience. My first and second husbands were abusive, but I never let them have complete control of my money, that, I had learned from my father. My first husband was demeaning, and everything revolved around money. My second was controlling and turned the phone off, so my friends and family could not call me in the days before cell phones. But I took my power back inch by inch, met a wonderful man, my third husband. I will say that he is the only person in my life who has never said that I was wrong. So, Suze, I have listened to you for years, and it is your continued help and advocacy that has helped me to rise above. I love your new theme song, by the way. I now live my life by three principles: Honesty, transparency, and respect because I never had those until I was in my late 40s. I treasure these qualities in my dealings with others. God bless you and your work. P.S. You can use all of this in a podcast to help others.So I read you that because so many times in your life you have things that are confusing to you. Things that keep you powerless, that sometimes you don't even know where did they come from? Why do you feel this way? Why do you get angry? Why do you go from one abusive relationship to another abusive relationship, to another abusive relationship? And I'm not saying that all relationships that you happen to get in that are abusive is because your father or your parent was abusive to you. But on some level, after I started to read this email, I started to think about my own life and the relationships that I myself got into really before I was in a relationship with KT. Remember, KT is my spouse. You can listen to her on last Thursday's podcast, the Valentine's Day podcast. And I started to think about why was it that prior to KT, the majority of my relationships, not all of them by any means, but on some level were seriously, mentally abusive to me. That just somehow they never honored me, they never really cared about me, they never wanted to take care of me. I was always expected to take care of them. And then I started to think back to my childhood and I remember my father yelling at me and hitting me and being physically abusive to me. You also know he was sexually abusive to me. And as I grew up, I thought I had overcome that and it didn't play a part in my life because I was living such a great life, or so I thought I was, because I was making money now. I was great. Everything was good because if you make money, everything's good, right? Wrong. But you can still make money and get yourself into abusive relationships, at least mentally.Now, I've never been in a physically abusive relationship as an adult. The only person ever who was physically abusive with me was my father. But it's important to really just take time and think about it. Now, what's so great about Kay's email and what's so great about my life as well, is you really can rise above. You really can. And so many times people say to me, Suze, won't you go back and change the relationship that you had with your father and everything like that? And actually I would not because those things happened to me. I can sit here and read these emails and identify with these emails and then bring the information to all of you that maybe need to hear this. I can bring that information and that compassion and that identification with all of you for you also to look at Kay, who now has so much going for her as well as me, and know that you can do it as well. But for you to do it, you have to recognize it. You have to stand in your truth as to, have any of these things gone on in your life or are they going on in your life right now?So, to that end, I also on the exact same date that I got this email from Kay, so I always find this fascinating, I got an email from a woman by the name of Terry. And Terry is an assistant district attorney in California, and she loved, loved the podcast that we're doing on financial abuse. And now, if you will indulge me, I just want to read you her email as well.Hi, Suze. Thank you for all of your fantastic financial advice. Thank you also for getting the word out regarding domestic violence, including the hotline information for those victims who are ready to call. You are correct that finances often factor into a domestic abuser's tool kit to exert power and control over his or her partner. You mentioned some extreme examples of financial control: He doesn't allow his partner to work, she must give him her paycheck if she does work, he must give his permission for her to spend money. While these situations do occur, there are also many, many situations that involve subtle financial abuses or pre-abuses that should be considered when evaluating the toxicity level in a relationship. She then goes on to list a few things.Now, given her position as an assistant district attorney, I have a feeling she's come across a whole lot of this, really. So let's pay attention here. Dating but not living together, here's what she wants you to know. Is he making suggestions, or is he telling you what to do? Why does he think he can tell you what to do with your money? Is he offering helpful advice and/or giving you constructive feedback? Helpful advice would be things like, Honey, are you sure you can afford a new car? Are you sure you are financially ready to get rid of your roommate and rent a place on your own? Have you thought about seeing a financial planner? You might want to consider starting a Roth IRA. Have you listened to Suze Orman's podcasts? You'd love it.Now, it's funny because I just want to take a break here for one second and say the name of this podcast is, you know, is Women and Money and the men smart enough to listen. And even though I'm directing this now where a male is an abuser and I'm talking to the females out there, there are many, many times when the female is the abuser to the male. Or there's a female that's an abuser to another female, or a male that's an abuser to a male. Now, the majority of circumstances, really, are male to female. So that's why I'm concentrating on that right now. But please. know it is absolutely, and I've seen it many times, the other way around as well. All right, I'll continue.Or do his criticisms serve his goals? Is he using money to legitimize or mask his need to control your appearance or change your behavior? What is it with you spending money on getting your nails done? Are you wasting money on another new outfit? Why are you so into your looks? You're always spending money on yourself. A girls weekend, I don't think so? Why are you spending all that money to spend a weekend with them? What about us? He's really meaning, what about me? Or, does he say to you, you're self. Basically, is he trying to help you be your best financial self? Or, is he putting you down, picking a fight and trying to make you feel bad about yourself so that you conform?She goes on to say if you are living together or married and sharing expenses, do you both have a shared understanding of your current money situation and future financial goals? Are you in agreement with how the paychecks are spent? What percentage is assigned to expenses, savings, disposable income? All of that? Are there accounts that you do not have access to? Does he brush you off or refuse to answer when you ask questions about them? I've got it handled. Is he making financial decisions without your input or over your objection? We are going to refinance the house. I told my brother we'd loan him money. We're going to sell your car, you don't need it, I'll drive you to work. Do certain spending rules apply to you only? He'll give you a hard time about wasting money, going out to lunch with friends or coworkers, maybe even guilt or bully you into eating alone at your desk. But he doesn't consider it wasting money when he goes out drinking with the boys.She then goes on to say abusers are often skilled manipulators, and there are more subtle ways to exert financial control than demanding you hand over your paycheck. A woman focused on the worst-case scenario may not appreciate the significance of the control her partner is exerting. What we do know for sure is the need to control is a bottomless pit, and the level of abuse will increase without intervention. Just offering my two cents for your domestic violence, financial abuse consideration. Again, thank you, Terry, Assistant District Attorney.So whether it's a parent, or a partner, or a friend. It can even be a friend or anybody you know, or if you see that type of behavior going on in somebody else's relationship, you cannot stay silent. You can't stay silent not only to yourself if it's happening to you, but you can't stay silent if you see this happening around you. Now, I understand very well that this is a financial podcast, that many of you probably come here because you want financial information and the Ask Suze Anything's on Thursday are typically all financial. And by the way, if you want to ask a question, just send in a question to AskSuzePodcast@gmail.com and if chosen, I will answer it on the air. I just want to ask all of you that you know, many of you, I am answering you one on one, that it is me. But when you write to me five pages, four pages, I can't read all of that and get to all the emails. So again, I am asking you, can you just keep it short? Because if you keep it short, you really have a chance of me answering you back.So I do these podcasts because it makes absolutely no sense to be in a relationship that number one, must not be enjoyable. But number two, where you are saving money or you think you have money, or you think everything is OK and then at 40, 50, or 60, you end up with absolutely nothing. So, I'm asking you to stand in your truth right now. And if you need help, everybody, you should go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. And it's a 24-hour confidential service for survivors and victims, and they can help you. And the Hotline's phone number is 1-800-799-SAFE. That's 1-800-799-7233. Or, you can go online to www.TheHotline.org. So can you just try that? Can you just try that because really, you don't have to live a life where you suffer abuse or insults, or anything other than true love? You don't have to because at least you can truly love yourself. But to love yourself, you have to be willing to stand in your truth. 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/.