According to ABC News, nearly 70% of millennial women and almost 50% of men have experienced some form of financial abuse in a relationship. Financial manipulation is one of the most common control tactics out there, so it’s important to keep an eye out for it. Not only does it occur in romantic relationships, but also in friendships and families. If you feel like your partner, friend, or relative may be taking advantage of you monetarily, here are some tell-tale signs of a financial manipulator.
Signs of a Financial Manipulator
They Always Need to Be Bailed Out
It’s one thing for a friend or family member to ask you for a loan once. After all, we’ve all been in a financial bind at some point in our lives. But if they always have a financial crisis and constantly need to be bailed out, they’re probably taking advantage of your generosity—especially if those “loans” never get paid back.
Experts say it’s best not to enable this kind of behavior. Even if your friend is out of money, giving them cash prevents them from getting better at managing their finances. It also drains your bank account and keeps you from achieving your goals. You should also avoid cosigning for them because it will make you legally responsible for their bills if they can’t pay.
Instead, suggest community resources your friend or family member can use when they need help. Churches and food banks may be able to provide assistance with rent, food, and other necessities. You can also offer to help them make a budget in lieu of giving them money all the time or cosigning their loans.
They Make You Feel Guilty for Spending Your Money
One of the most common signs of a financial manipulator is that they make you feel guilty for spending your hard-earned money. They put you down for buying non-essentials and make you feel like you need to justify all of your purchases. They may even limit your access to cash by giving you an “allowance” and cutting you off from the rest of your income.
Although it’s normal for couples and even roommates to budget together, if you feel like this person is making all the financial decisions without your input and using money to control you or take advantage of you, that’s a bad sign.
They’re Not Paying Their Fair Share
Sometimes partners have to pick up some slack for each other. If your boyfriend or girlfriend loses their job, for instance, they may have trouble paying their portion of the bills. But if they’re not hunting for a new gig or refusing to pay their share despite being gainfully employed, they may be manipulating you.
Friends can also exploit your generosity. When you go out, they might ask you to pick up the tab all the time but never return the favor. They may expect expensive gifts or make you pay the lion’s share of expenses when you take trips together.
Although generosity is a wonderful trait, financial manipulators will try to exploit it and take advantage of your goodwill. If you feel like a friendship or relationship isn’t financially balanced, it’s time to have a serious conversation about it.
They Steal From You
Financial abuse can escalate until your friend, partner, or family member is out-and-out stealing from you. They may lift cash from your wallet or take your belongings. Sometimes financial abusers will even use your credit card without your permission or steal your identity so they can take out loans in your name.
When confronted, a financial abuser will get angry, defensive, and may even gaslight you. These are all signs that the person is toxic and you should cut them out of your life.
Although it’s easier said than done, you shouldn’t let financial manipulators take advantage of you. Set boundaries and make it clear that you can’t afford to give them money. If the friendship sours because you won’t bail them out or they try to violate your boundaries by stealing from you, that’s a not a relationship you want in the first place.
If you enjoy reading our blog posts and would like to try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you; you can do exactly that on Saving Advice. Just click here to get started.
Check out these helpful tools to help you save more. For investing advice, visit The Motley Fool.