Ever had a disagreement with a spouse about money? Money has
been reported as the top reason that couples fight. What happens when one
person in a “money sharing” relationship wants to buy something and the other one
doesn’t? There’s a discussion to make a decision about the purchase that’s
something like an informal negotiation.
Here’s the million dollar question: Is there equality in
that discussion? Financial bullying is the name for what happens when one
partner has more power than the other one with money decisions. When one
partner has less power, this unfair advantage can lead to poor self-esteem due
to being dependent on someone else.
Financial bullying often happens when one spouse, usually
the woman, stays home to raise children. Does leaving her job mean that she
gives away her power with the pooled money? And does she really give it away,
or does she just feel like she has when her earned income comes to an abrupt
Another situation that can lead to a financial power
imbalance is when one spouses loses a job and unemployment lasts for a long
The male in the relationship is most often the one with more
money power, of course, due to thousands of years of normalcy and acceptance for
this financial power imbalance. The person being bullied has unknowingly
allowed herself to get into the situation. What can happen next is that marketable
skills are eventually lost from being out of the workforce, and the person
being bullied knows she can’t support herself financially, creating a downward spiral.
It’s a disempowering situation to be in.
Here’s are some ideas for how to avoid money power imbalance
in a relationship, or even feeling like one exists.
Keep a marketable
skill…always! With the availability of powerful and potentially life-changing
information now available at little or no cost, not knowing how to stay
marketable is just not a valid reason. Choose an area that is in demand and
easy to learn if you need to choose a new skill.
Make a list of skills you have already that you can be paid
for. Choose one of those skills, preferably one that you enjoy, and commit to
being excellent at it.
Consider getting a certification that will further establish
your credibility in the skill area you’ve chosen to keep current. Many
certification programs are low-cost and easy to obtain through online programs.
Opportunities are abundant for making money from home now with
the Internet. Take advantage of this still-new dynamic to generate income –
just be sure to do your research before spending money on it.
Establish your skills
at online outsourcing sites, such as elance.com and odesk.com. Treat this as a
real business by setting clear goals and structure for the most success.
It’s hard to believe that financial bullying still exists
today, but it does. Even when a spouse is super supportive, feeling dependent
can cause financial discord. With all of the opportunities that exist today,
almost everyone can keep marketable skills that lead to self-confidence and balance.