Last week, I talked about guilt-tripping. This time we’ll dive into the extreme, a type of abuse that is not necessarily being talked about in the Philippines — Financial Abuse.
Abuse is treatment of a person or animal with cruelty or violence repeatedly in order to unfairly gain something or sort of benefit. Financial Abuse is a tactic to gain power and control which may be subtle or not, that limits the victim’s access to assets or even drives them into debt. Financial abuse is much harder recognize. This is due to beliefs, traditions that is deeply embedded in our culture.
It could be a simple ‘belief’ of gender roles/stereotypes in our society that men should be in-charge or men should get a higher pay than women.
Here are more examples:
Financial Abuse can be intertwined with domestic violence. The victim is threatened in many ways that making a major life decision can be very difficult such as: risk staying in an abusive relationship or risk losing financial security; add to that the burden of social stigma and emotional trauma that affects one’s ability to work.
When you are forced to hand over wages/benefits (bonuses or ATM) to your partner/parent every month.
You are asked to provide receipts, bank statements to justify spending and then given a ‘small allowance’ that is unreasonable.
Forced Debt:You are coerced into getting a loan on their behalf, which they can’t repay (either a partner or a parent); or controls your joint accounts without discussion and even putting bills in your name.
Browbeating:Abusers intimidate you to hand over your money with stern or abusive words.
Centralized Money Source: You are told not to have any financial accounts (bank, check, investments), and you depend on one money source – the working partner; wherein one is reliant on the ‘provider’ for their very existence!
Forced Career Choices:Women or children, are forced to take career paths they would not have chosen on their own for the sake of “getting out of poverty” or “greener pastures for the family”, I’m not saying it is outright wrong but sometimes it becomes too much of a common excuse already.
Financial Exploitation Vulnerable Individuals:Children, Persons-With-Disabilities as well as the Elderly. Children and PWDs are commonly exploited through sexual abuse – what’s the financial link? A certain island in Central Visayas has been known to have been raided multiple times for sexual abuse cases and child pornography. The elderly is even more prone to scams, undue influence in managing assets, and property grabbing.
Adult-Child(ren) Abuse:Parents continually abuse their adult children. It could be as straightforward as ‘forcing their children to take care of them’ or very elaborate like feigning illness/crisis, suicidal thoughts so they can live with their children and once they succeed, they lord over the house.
Scams: These are the most obvious form of financial abuse done by a family member or a stranger.
There is No Easy Way Out. Financial abuse ruins trust and can make a person’s life incredibly difficult. AWARENESS is the first step, the rest will be covered by diligence and patience in financial planning towards recovery.
Have you experienced Financial Abuse? Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends/family!
The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit www.certa.ph
Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last September 13, 2016.