Financial abuse is typically characterised by someone taking control over your finances and money. Another term that is synonymous with such abuse is Economic Abuse. In some cases, financial abuse is also accompanied by physical violence and other forms of abuse.
Financial abuse can be of different forms. You can be subjected to financial abuse by your parents, spouse, children or even your friends. For the elderly, in most cases of financial abuse, the care homes are often found guilty. Sometimes, however, even children and close relatives do not shy away from taking advantage.
Few Signs Of Financial Abuse
1. Regulating Control Of Your Bank Account
Elderly people who lack necessary vigilance over bank accounts or financial instruments such as cheques or Credit Card also fall prey to such abuses from caretakers or family members. The key to resolving such situation is to observe the signs early on and take preventive measures. In such cases, if you think that the access to your bank account is being misused, it’s best to inform the bank authorities immediately and ask to revoke access to the said person.
2. Vigilance over your expenses
Similarly, when your spouse starts asking you to account for your expenses or starts checking your bank statements for your purchases, it might be time that you start being a bit more vigilant. The right to spend your money as per your needs rests with you.
There are cases where the working partner is made to account for each penny earned. This stifles their sense of independence and also empowers the culprit to violate their finances and restrict the availability of funds for the victim.
As a result, if you’re being made to account for each and every expense made, you need to start creating boundaries in your relationship.
3. Denying you money
If you’re being made to handover your income/salary to your parents or spouse and are being made to ask for allowances instead, it is time that you realize you’re in a financially abusive relationship.
Such examples are more found in families that transact freely in cash as against digital currency. The control of the finances in such cases stifles individual independence and creates the stage of mental harassment. The solution for such cases would ideally be to restrict control of finance and seek help from your personal lawyer.
4. Threatening to leave dependent family members
Another example is when a spouse denies financial support to another and threatens to leave, knowing that their spouse cannot make a living for themselves. Such forms of abuse are more common where the victim is not educated enough or lack the confidence/ability to gain employment.
Solutions to Avoid Financial Abuse
The basis of such relationships usually focuses on the control of finances to dominate the victim. The absence of bank accounts or over-dependence on cash transactions can also encourage financial abuse. Since such transactions cannot be tracked; it’s easy to 'grab' from the working partner.
The primary step involves being observant of the behaviour of the partner, friends or family member regarding your money and ensure further vigilance when any of the above-mentioned signs are triggered.
After evaluating the behaviour of the suspect, if such instances continue, it’s best to start talking to your civil law lawyer, in the case the abuse is from your family member. Start creating savings for emergency situations. In case you have kids, create a backup plan where you can relocate with your kids in case of extreme situations.
(The author is CEO of Bank Bazaar)