Just when you’ve gotten peace and serenity from a little retail therapy, your husband spots your Macy’s bags and loses his mind! “What did I tell you about shopping behind my back? Let me see your receipts!” he demands. But you aren’t alone. Many Americans feel financially bullied by their spouse.
A study conducted by Credit Karma finds that one in 10 Americans see their husband or wife as “financial bullies.” Financial bullies essentially use their control over the household finances to wield power over their spouse. “Heck no, you can’t apply for another credit card!” one might say. Or “how dare you make such a big purchase without my permission!”
Add to the list of financial issues that can come between a couple “financial bullying.” This can range from “berating” a spouse for every purchase to gaining access to a spouse’s account and using the money without their knowledge.
Sometimes, it’s financial incompatibility. Some people are spenders while others are savers. But in other cases, we know a few women who would forgo paying rent for an expensive trip to the hair salon. Or men who purchase flat screen TVs, while the bills remain unpaid. Sometimes, for stubborn big spenders who just can’t get it together, an authoritative stance on the household finances is needed. What’s wrong with that?
Among those who are financially bullied, here are their top complaints:
-Makes me feel guilty for my shopping habits: 37 percent
-Limits my monthly spending: 34 percent
-Makes me show receipts for all purchases: 20 percent
-Gives me an allowance / limits my spending: 18 percent
-Keeps me from having credit cards: 17 percent
-Doesn’t let me go shopping by myself: 11 percent
-Forces me to use coupons: 8 percent
Some of these “complaints”, in my opinion, are comical. God forbid you save a buck or two on a purchase from using a coupon! And any spouse who limits your monthly spending isn’t a bully. They’re simply rewiring you to become more budget-conscious consumer. Not having another credit card is probably for their own good. The only alarming tactic here is that 11 percent reveal that their spouses won’t let them shop on their own.
We all know that money is divorce’s biggest culprit. To beat the odds, couples must sit down and discuss at length about how they will make joint financial decisions, especially when children are involved. Partners with kids are more than twice as likely to feel financially bullied than those who don’t have children (18 percent vs. 7 percent)
Credit Karma points out that different money-management upbringings threaten a healthy marriage. For example, if the wife grew up in a tight-fisted financial environment and the husband did not, these two different circumstances can cause a serious rift between the couple. If a compromise isn’t reached, the marriage will fall apart. Unfortunately for nearly a quarter of the survey’s participants, they’re at a point of no return: 22 percent want a divorce.
What do you think about Credit Karma’s “financial bullying” survey? Do you think someone who imposes a monthly spending limit, for instance, is a financial bully or just concerned about the household finances?
This survey questioned 2,021 adults over the age of 18. Surprisingly, among respondents between the ages of 18 and 35, more men complained about being financially bullied than women (33 percent vs. 7 percent).