Advisors are in a unique position when discussing finances and retirement with clients. They can not only help consumers prepare for retirement; they can also help their clients navigate and avoid financial abuse.
According to one expert, “Financial abuse is not only limited to romantic relationships, it can also creep into the picture very subtlety with close friends and family members. It can happen when they lead you to believe that without your constant and consistent help and support, they’ll suffer from some unimaginable fate.”
According to Patrice C. Washington, the Money Maven of the Steve Harvey Morning Show, financial abusive relationships often stem from the abuser’s inability to earn their own income or manage their own money wisely enough to distinguish between wants versus needs.
“It’s one thing to assist someone who finds himself or herself in a bind from time to time,” said Washington. “It’s another to add their needs to your monthly expenses.”
Below are three steps to ending the cycle of financial abuse: 1. Stop Enabling, Start Empowering:
The old Chinese proverb ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ is applicable to many financial situations. By providing your kids, friends or family members with a financial security blanket, you are continuing to enable them to live without basic money survival skills. Remember, real need inspires real motivation. People will not learn to be responsible as long as they know they will always have you as a backup plan. 2. Refer Those in Need to Community Resources and Services:
Rather than reaching for your wallet the next time you receive a request for a little monetary support, cut the financial cord. Actions speak louder than words and as much as you may threaten that this is the last time you will help, what you do will speak much loudly than what you say. 3. Remove Yourself From the Equation:
This is not about you doing a good deed or being the family martyr-in fact, this is not about you at all! This is about each person figuring out life for themselves. If nothing else, remember that the money you continue to dole out to irresponsible friends and family members could be used to get yourself out of debt, buy your first home, or save for your retirement. Financial abusers do not care about you or your future and when the money runs out, they will just move on to the next overly generous enabler.