8 Signs You Might Be a Victim of Financial Bullying

Financial bullying in a relationship can be a serious problem.

We hear a lot about bullying these days, but are you familiar with financial bullying?

It’s more prevalent than you might think, according to a study by Harris Interactive. It found that one in 10 Americans considers his or her spouse or partner to be a financial bully. The percentage is highest among those aged 22 to 34. Among that group, 22% said the bullying is serious enough that they would consider divorce if money were no object.

Here are eight behaviors that could indicate bullying in your relationship. It could be if your spouse or partner:

  • Chides you severely for going a few dollars over an agreed-upon budget.
  • Divvies up extra cash unfairly. Beware if a higher-earning spouse or partner takes or uses more money solely because he or she earns more than you.
  • Controls the credit cards. Partners should agree on credit card use, and both should have equal access to them.
  • Imposes an allowance on you. Sometimes a partner who earns more money or got money through an inheritance might put the other on an allowance. Allowances are fine, provided you both agree to the amounts — and you’re both subject to them.
  • Makes you show receipts for all your purchases, even small ones.
  • Belittles you for the size of your salary or — conversely — tries to curtail your earning power by discouraging you from taking a better job or going to school to qualify for one.
  • Simply takes control of the family finances and commandeers your paycheck.
  • Threatens to leave, knowing you’d be in a precarious financial situation.

If you feel you might be getting bullied, what can you do?

If the two of you are willing to talk about whether you can afford a major purchase or whether you’re spending too much at the expense of saving for your future, financial planners like us can help.

But if one of you is not willing to talk about these issues, it might be best to talk with a family member, close friend, clergy or counselor. Often, we can provide you with a referral.

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