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Chelsea: Hi, I'm Chelsea

Lauren: and I'm Lauren

Chelsea: and we are...

Together: The Financial Diet! 

Chelsea: And today we're filming from our new location, well new to you not new to us, but it's our filming spot, which is the TFD office, so welcome to the TFD office. And today we're actually talking about something that several of you guys requested because we touched on it briefly in our last video, which is financially abusive relationships. I had mentioned in the last video that I had dealt with a relationship that I would have categorized as financially toxic, not necessarily abusive. And that just meant basically that although we had an unhealthy relationship with money, no one was acting maliciously toward the other person. 

Lauren: Sometimes it's hard to tel whether the behaviors and habits in your relationship, specifically financial ones, are a little bit unhealthy or if they're actually abusive. And it's really important to recognize the difference early on before the situation becomes more dire. 

Chelsea: And while we're definitely not experts on the subject, at TFD we've actually worked several times with the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, which is an organization that works to help create a conversation around and ultimately end financial abuse. Now we'll include a link in the description to their website with a lot more information about financial abuse, but just in general there are a few basic stats about financial abuse that everyone should be aware of. 

Lauren: So in 98% of domestic abuse cases, financial abuse is actually an aspect of the control. Clinical psychologist Susan Feingold says that money is about having power and there's always an aspect of power and control in abusive relationships.

Chelsea: Now financial abuse can be stand alone or it can be apart of a greater cycle of abuse as Lauren mentioned, but one of the important things to keep in mind is that often when we see an abused person and we ask ourselves "Well why didn't they just leave?" a huge part of it is often that they don't have the financial resources to get out of the situation. In a big city like New York just getting settled in a new apartment can cost up to $10,000 easily. Now imagine how much it would take to save that up if you didn't have any money of your own to start with. 

Lauren: So another fact from the Purple Purse study says that 1 in 5 Americans actually know someone who's been a victim of a financially abusive situation by their spouse or partner. It also says that financial abuse is actually the least likely type of abuse to be recognized by an outsider. 

Chelsea: And finally fewer than 1 in 4 Americans say that they have taken steps to protect themselves from financial abuse.

Lauren: Now we've linked out to even more stats about financial abuse in the description below, but these are just some of the key behaviors that you should look out for in any relationship. 

Chelsea: The first behavior is over monitoring what you spend on. If the person you're with makes you feel guilty for spending money in a healthy, normal way or if they make you feel like you have to ask them for permission every time you want to spend money, that's a really unhealthy power system that you're setting up in the relationship. Now it can be good in any relationship to have a sort of system of checks and balances on the things you're spending on, but the difference is that you're doing it as a team and it's not one person sort of controlling and monitoring the other. 

Lauren: Another behavior to look out for is someone who wants to control how much you work or sabotage your job in any way. According to a recent Forbes article on financial abuse "Any time a partner demands that you do not work, shames you into quitting, or makes you feel guilty about working, be on guard." Financial freedom means having the ability to earn your own money and if someone is dissuading you from doing that, it's a really bad sign. Some financial abuse cases are so bad that the partner tries to wreak havoc at other person's workplace, which leads them to get fired. 

Chelsea: Number 4 is an unusual amount of bills going through your partner. Obviously there are going to be times in a relationship where one person having their name on the line share of bills or putting most of them through their card makes sense. But there are 2 key differences in this behavior that make it truly dangerous. 1) Even if you're not paying a bill yourself you should be absolutely aware of what's being paid and when and have total access to these accounts to see what's going on. And 2) For important things like a lease for example you should always be on the paperwork even if you're not the one writing the check every month because having no control and no recourse over that sort of thing means the other person has an uncomfortable amount of power over you. If you're in a position where overnight your partner could shut off all your access to your cards and kick you out of your own home, you should reconsider your set up. 

Lauren: Another behavior to look out for is lack of transparency around long term or big financial decisions. You deserve to be apart of all major financial decisions in your relationship even f you're not contributing an equal amount of capital. Anyone who's making long term or big financial decisions such as investment, saving strategies, or home buying without getting your input in a meaningful way is putting up a big red flag. If you feel that you're being misled or that things are being intentionally hidden from you, it's even worse. 

Chelsea: The final behavior to look out for is using money as a means to control your behavior. Now especially if this person is the breadwinner, you need to be on the lookout for behaviors like cutting off cards, cutting off access to certain things, refusing to pay for things if you're doing something that they don't like. Using financial control as a way to regulate someone's behavior is always a bad thing. Now particularly if this person is a high earner, it's very hard to protect yourself from this kind of financial control, which is why we advocate that even if you're a stay at home parent or are otherwise not taking in any income for any reason you must still have an emergency fund of your own. Not having enough money to at least extricate yourself from a situation puts you at an extreme disadvantage. 

Lauren: Now these are just some of the most common examples of financial abuse, but every situation is unique. The important thing to remember is that if something feels unhealthy or dangerous, it probably is. 

Chelsea: No matter what the warning signs are or what you're current financial state is, if you feel that you're in a financially abusive relationship talk to someone that you trust about it because at the very least opening up to someone and verbalizing the problems will help you understand them and take action. 

Lauren: And if you suspect someone that you know is in a financially toxic relationship let them know that you're someone to talk to, listen to them, and help them in any way that you can. Let them know that you're someone that they can trust and go to if they need a safe space. 

Chelsea: And as always, thanks for watching and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and go to thefinancialdiet.com for more

Together: Bye!