Podcast Episode - What Is Your Story?

Divorce, Family, Relationships

July 18, 2021

Listen to Podcast Episode:

On today’s episode, Suze shares a heartbreaking email from a friend seeking advice.  As Suze relates her friend's story, she asks us about our own story.

Podcast Transcript:

July 18th, 2021. 3 days. Just three days from Ms. Travis's birthday and by the way, she is loving all the birthday wishes that many of you are sending into the Women & Money community app as well as to the email address which is asksuzepodcast@gmail.com, which is where either of those places is where you can write in. Do not only wish KT happy birthday, but to also ask a question which KT chooses and then we answer it right here on the podcast. All right. So, today's podcast was actually going to be possibly about inflation. I had done all these numbers to show you what something costs today versus 2019. And then I thought, no, no, maybe I should do a podcast and talk a little bit about the stock market and oil prices and things like that. And then I thought, no, no, there's still time for that story to evolve. And really, there isn't enough information about it yet that we need to know. And then I got an email and as I was reading this email, I thought, oh my god, this is the podcast today. Because behind every one of our financial stories or our financial problems, there is a personal story. There is something that is going on within us that causes us to create an outcome that we do not want to live. And yet somehow, we don't even recognize the role that we play in our own stories. So, the question today really is what is your story? What is your true story that you are living that possibly you created, that possibly you have been put into? But, yet you stay there. What is your story? So, as I read this story, I'm going to be pointing out things in it to show everyone how we, on some level, help create the story that we are living, that we don't want to be living. And it goes like this. So, I get this email and it says hi Suze, now I've interviewed you a few times, but this is a very personal one. I'm in a bind and please do feel free to use my story to help others. You have my permission, just don't use my name now, before I go into this story and I'm going to keep breaking this story up so I can talk to you about it about things that I've noticed that maybe you'll identify with this is a really, really brilliant woman, really, she has interviewed me and she's written some brilliant stories from the conversation that we had. As hard as it is to figure out money, at least in our own mind, what's really hard is to be able to use proper English and write and be able to communicate that which others need to hear. Now, she was totally capable of doing that, but she couldn't even read the writing that was on the wall in the relationship that she happens to be in. So here goes her story. She says, my husband has been a nightmare with his finances. I keep everything separate to protect myself as a result, secrecy lies and overall, poor budgeting and overspending wrapped into one. Now, before I go on, she says, my husband has been a nightmare with his finances. She knows this, she gets this and she keeps everything separate to protect herself as a result, that is the foundation of her story. Are you living a life like that? Do you recognize something that's going on in your relationship? And you have to do something because you have to protect yourself, whether it's physical abuse or financial abuse or whatever it may be. Are you living a story where on any level you have to protect yourself because if that's true, then you are building a foundation out of fear and nothing good will come from that. Nothing. She goes on to say since the start of our marriage, five years ago, five years is a long time everybody, five years is a long time. He has refused to file taxes with me. At first, he told me it was because I work in New Jersey when I started to work in New York City. He continued to be evasive. He also refuses to show me his tax returns, so therefore I'm forced to file married filing separately. I'm going to stop here again for a second, I'm forced to file married filing separately. It's because of his actions and what he is doing. She's forced to do something that she really doesn't want to do. Is that your story? Any of you? Is that your story? But that is the first indication where in this email, she's saying that she was forced to do something. Nobody forces you to do something. You recognize the situation and then you choose to do it. And if they're forcing you to do it now, we're in an abusive relationship. But he's not forcing her. She's choosing to do that because she's choosing to stay. When I was four months pregnant. So now we have a child entering the situation. I discovered he mortgaged and investment property and received $30,000 of cash from it. I found this out while accidentally opening his mail. Now you accidentally open up somebody's mail your husband's mail and you see that he got a lump sum of $30,000 that you never knew about. I open up KT's mail all the time. I look at KT's emails all the time. I look at her taxes. I look at everything just because I want to make sure that she's up to date with everything cause a lot of business stuff comes in but never in a million years and vice versa, by the way, my email account is on her phone, her email account is on my phone, total transparency, everybody. There are no secrets. There isn't accidentally opening up a statement. If I want to open up a statement, I open up a statement. But she even uses the words, I accidentally opened his mail, which also says he has said to her, don't you dare touch my mail, Don't open up anything. What's addressed to me is mine. What's addressed to you is yours. Don't touch it. So, I find that fascinating that we're even seeing right now, a relationship where she's four months pregnant and things are still secret of things are still hidden and she finds out about something that she never had any idea. Don't you think that is a serious warning sign? A warning sign where the story is, something's not right here. I don't have freedom in this relationship. I can't just be and say anything. I'm living by his rules and his rules and actions are absolutely exclusive of me. And I'm allowing that to happen. I'm now starting to write my own story where I'm abusing myself because I'm staying. Do you understand everybody what I'm saying to you and why I find this email so fascinating and so sad when a brilliant woman does that to herself. And the question has to be asked and answered, why why do we do that to ourselves? What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of leaving and going out and being on our own? Are we afraid of hurting somebody? Are we staying under the pretense of he's a good guy or she's a good woman or whatever? Why? I'm asking you to ask yourself these questions, whether they apply to you or somebody that you know, because stories like this have to be revealed and understood. So, that situation can end because if it doesn't end sooner than later, it ends up really, really bad. She then goes on to say, however, the house that he refinanced has since sold for $300,000 above original price. He says he didn't get any money from it however, and then she goes on to say, I have trouble believing that. Let's underline that, I have trouble believing that. Why are we staying in a relationship with somebody that we don't believe what they are telling us. Where we can't open up mail freely, where we can't see their tax returns. Why what pulls us and keeps us in that story? But then she goes on to say it gets worse. In July 2020, I saw $42,000 from Charles Schwab hit our joint account. He immediately raided the Schwab in the amount of $48,000 to buy a Porsche and didn't tell me. I’ll that sink in for a second. How would you feel if you had a joint account with your spouse and all of a sudden from nowhere, you see $42,000 enter that account and you're like, whoa, where did that come from? That's a lot of money. What are we doing here? And then all of a sudden, as quick as it comes in you see it disappear and why, he buys a Porsche with it and he doesn't tell you. But the reason you find out because now it's sitting in your driveway, how does that make you feel? Really think about that. Why is that a story that you still want to be a part of? She goes on to say I threatened divorced and ordered him into therapy. Problem here, she ordered him into therapy. He had no desire to go into therapy on his own because he didn't think he was doing anything wrong. In the meantime, this woman is now living a story that she really wishes she wasn't part of and so she takes her last shot at it and says you are going to therapy and he has been going weekly now for seven months at the therapist urging he has shown me some bank and credit statements. Please note everybody, it does not say he has shown me all of his bank and credit statements, some of them. He has showed her his paste of and miscellaneous expenses like his car note. However, he still refuses to show me the tax returns or be transparent enough to work with a financial coach to help us get back on track. Three coaches have refused to work with us after reaching an impasse with him. Three coaches have said, you know what, I'm out of here. He isn't somebody that we can work with. So, this is why this woman now has written and she says, the following my question is this I am a smart girl about my money. And then she says, thanks to you. I like that part of it. However, some days I want to leave, some days I want to stay. Now, Here is the key to this email. I'm really trying to make this work as we have a two-year-old child and now we know why she's really staying. She's not staying because she loves him. She's not staying because she likes him. She's staying because she has a two year-old child and she doesn't want her child to grow up possibly without a father. But she, in her own mind thinks that it is better for her to stay in this relationship for the child. But yet she and her own needs have totally disappeared. She says, is there any possible way for me to remain in this marriage and be in a financially healthy? She doesn't say emotionally or psychologically, all she says is financially healthy. As if money is the only thing that matters, a financially healthy place with everything separate with us not filing returns together? I save as much as possible and I have opened up an account with, and then she names a brokerage firm and it's doing well. One day I do plan to buy a home with my parents, but his name, if we remain together, would not be on the mortgage or the deed. Okay. That's it, I'll take all the straight talk you have to give. All right, that's the email. So why, once again, I am I choosing to talk about this on the Women and Money podcast as well as everyone smart enough to listen. If you're really smart enough to listen to this podcast and you really somebody who has been with me for all these years now or maybe your brand new to learning about the, why does money matter? What does money matter when you yourself aren't fulfilled when you are in a relationship and you don't have any joy. You don't have any freedom. You don't have any trust, yet you decide to stay. And many times you decide to stay because you have a two-year-old child. Now I wrote this woman back a very long answer. But here are the things that essentially, I wanted to point out. What really got me was she had a two year old child, and I wrote her and I said, don't you think that every time you pick up that child and you hold that child to your chest, that the child can't feel that something is wrong. That Mommy isn't happy that Mommy's in a relationship that she really doesn't want to be in. And you really think that you're staying and it will benefit your child. Don't you think that you may be teaching your child that you stay against all odds? You give up anything that could mean anything to you. You ruin your own life and you do that for your children. If your child was you, and coming to you right now and was in a relationship like you're in right now, what would you say to your child? Wouldn't you say to your child Honey, please come home, live with me, get divorced. It's over. Come on, let's create a great home together in love and trust and integrity. Not just for you but for the child as well. And then we have a situation where Mommy and daddy want to buy a home with this woman, but the woman doesn't want the husband's name on the home. Here's something all of you really really need to remember when you are married and you are making money after you are married, especially if you do not have a pre-nuptial agreement. All the money that you may be saving in this account that she says she opened in her 401K. Where she works. All of these things. If they get divorced, the longer they are married, chances are half of that money is going to go to her husband, in this particular case. So, the longer she postpones doing that, what she knows she should do for herself, the less money she is going to have in the long run. And if she happens to buy a home with her parents, even if his name is not on it, he's going to own half of what she has within that home if they get divorced. So, what is the story that we're writing here everybody? What are we postponing when your story reveals to you the truth of what is going on in your life. You cannot postpone making a decision over it, because if you postpone it and postponing and postponing and postponing, you are the one that financially is going to suffer big time, especially if you are legally married. Now I get when a relationship goes off the charts and you try and you try to make it better. But if three coaches have left him, if he's still not willing to show you his tax return, if he's trying, because you forced him to try, do you really think this is something that you want to stay with? My advice to her was a very interesting piece of advice. It was very simple. It was, I would immediately divorce him once you divorce him, you now have stopped the clock on all the money that you're going to accumulate in the future or with your parents where he will no longer be entitled to it. Next if you want to stay with him, okay If you want to continue to be abusive to yourself and in the long run your child in my opinion, okay. But at least financially speaking you have now cut the cord that binds the two of you with your savings, your retirement account, your real estate, whatever it is that you may purchase, it cuts that cord and it gives you that freedom and that is the freedom that you gave yourself. And the other thing is this, do you understand that because you are married and you have to file separately? You cannot take advantage of so many of the retirement accounts out there that are what I consider the best retirement accounts in the world. And that is a Roth IRA Because you can't make more than $10,000 a year of adjusted gross income if you are married finally jointly to have a Roth IRA. So, there are things that you aren't able to participate in. Why? Because he has forced you in your mind to file married finally and separately because he won't show you his tax returns and why won't he show you his tax returns? Why? And how does he file? What if he files married filing jointly and forges your name on those tax returns? What if he is doing that? And that is the reason why he does not want to show you his tax returns. What if that's possible? So, the reason I wanted to tell this story is that I wanted bad ending stories to stop and here's what I'm asking all of you to do. I want you to pick a story that you are living a part of your life that you're really not happy with and everyone has a part of their life. I would imagine that they're not happy with. I am seriously not happy with my health on any level, it's good one day, it's not good the next they tell me it's going to be another year. I am not happy with that. And I have a story to be told about that to myself. Am I mad at myself? Why don't I like this story? I need to figure it out even more so that I can feel more positive when I think about that. So, I want all of you to write down your story. What part of your life are you living that you don't like? And then I want you to read it back to yourself and I want you to pick out the phrases like I did for you in this podcast where you're blaming somebody else for the situation that you happen to be in. And if you find that as you're reading your story, that you're using words like, you know, they forced me, I did this, whatever it may be, then this is the time for you to rewrite your story. Because every story that you live, everyone should be happy, should be fulfilled, should be something that you learn from. There's no room in this world right now for sadness or anger or to be vindictive, there's no room anymore. It's almost as if this entire world is filled with anger. We’re angry that once again the pandemic may come back in full force. We're angry because we couldn't get our jobs back. We're angry because we have to go back to work. We’re angry because we're in a relationship that we don't like. We're angry because we're caretakers and we've been caretakers now for a long time and we don't want to be a caretaker. We want to live our own life. I don't know what it is, but you have to write your story and after you have written your story, I want you to really look at it and then I want you to rewrite it without blame or shame. I want you to rewrite it in a forceful, positive, courageous way. And that's the story that I want you to live. Because the true bottom line is until you know who you are, you can never have as much as you are meant to have. Until you can be truly happy. You can't really be strong. And if you can't really be strong, you can't really then live in your truth and truth is what attracts money to you. So, there's so many reasons that I want you to do this exercise. So, until Thursday, the day after Ms Travis's birthday, write your story and let me know how it goes.

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