Couples: ideas to combat financial abuse

Thus, a wide range of situations can lead to an economic imbalance in a couple.

  • One family moves regionally or abroad to advance one spouse’s career, while the other puts the career on hold or suffers from prolonged unemployment due to the difficulty of finding work in the new environment.
  • A mother temporarily stops working to care for a young child while her partner works harder to make up for the financial shortfall. “What increases the income difference between spouses is often that children come to the couple,” Hélène Belleau explained. We know it will require more money. Women want to take their maternity leave and take the time to take care of the children. Men want to work more. We know that men’s wages rise when they have children. »
  • The member of a couple earning the lowest income is unable to save up because following the lifestyle of the spouse with the highest salary spends all his cash.

The management of the couple’s financial affairs or their marital status can sometimes restore this situation. For example, married spouses are generally subject to the family wealth scheme, which allows for the sharing of the value of family wealth between spouses, including pension schemes and pension savings.

However, this rebalancing is not always present. Due to ignorance of the law governing spouses, or for various reasons arising from the dynamics of love, park clients allow financial inequalities to continue in their union.

Together with her INRS team, Hélène Belleau conducted a major survey in 2015 among 3,250 Quebecers from all regions to find out their personal financial management habits. “We asked the question to our 1,683 respondents in mainstream unions in Quebec, and 45% think they have the same social status as married. It’s a mistake. And 4% do not know. In addition, 40% (wrongly) think it poorer spouse will be entitled to apply for child support for themselves, and 16% did not know it, ”the researcher explained.

Among other things, due to the effect of compounded returns on long-term investments, uk capital can even expand over time, especially as Quebec households often manage their pension financing separately.

According to the INRS survey, 52% of married spouses manage their retirement savings according to the “every man for themselves” method, and 48% will pool their savings for their old age. Among ordinary married couples, it is 74% and 26%, respectively.

In addition, the researcher observed that 58% of women delegate the management of household financial affairs to their better half. Women also tend to pay more for non-durable goods, such as children’s clothing or groceries.

Risk of economic violence

Now the question of economic abuse comes from one spouse at the expense of the other, that is, abuse of economic power that limits the well-being of the other. “It is a taboo. Yet we know that when there is physical violence, there is often economic violence first, ”the researcher noted.

Given that counselors can have a crucial impact on clients’ financial lives, they may be sensitive to signs of abuse, including the following identified by Hélène Belleau:

  • One spouse ridicules the other’s contribution to the household income.
  • One spouse saves while the other puts the career on hold to take care of the children, especially in the case of joint spouses without a cohabitation contract.
  • All one’s money is sent abroad to support their family. “We know that many immigrant families send a lot of money abroad to support the family. If all one’s income goes to help the family, it would be interesting to know for which family and whether both agree, because it can limit access to the money for the person whose salary is, ”explained Hélène Belleau.
  • One spouse forces the other into a project against their will or without their consent. “Here we have sexually transferred debts, these are the ones we take on in love, in pleasure, but which we repay in shame for having received. It happens when one of the spouses supports the other for a project that he does not agreed, but does so out of love, ”the speaker illustrated.
  • After both spouses were informed of a financial injustice within their marriage, one voluntarily allowed it to continue.

Actions to consider

What should you do now when you notice a sign of abuse or a temporary inequality continues to harm one of the spouses? Here are suggestions from the researcher and other panelists for the question.

  • Encourage both spouses to maintain financial independence. This means that everyone must deposit their salary in a personal account. But according to the INRS survey, 28% of couples deposit it in a joint account.
  • Consider home economics in a broad sense. For example, agreeing that the time one spouse invests in caring for the children has value for the whole family because it allows the other spouse to focus on his or her career.
  • Involve both spouses in financial decisions and / or meet with them separately. It may be easier to raise individually with a client the sensitive issues of danger by delegating financial matters to the spouse, the increased life expectancy for women, the financial risks in the event of a breakup.
  • If one of the spouses loses interest in financial matters, the adviser should seek their feedback, for example by saying this during a private call, according to Fabien Major, mutual fund representative at CI Assante Wealth Management: is your family, I would like to hear from you . »
  • Make sure both spouses know what will happen in the event of a breakup (of the house, cottage, investment, etc.) To do this, the differences between tax law and private law must be clearly explained, including the effects of marriage and cohabitation.
  • Be sure to follow up when a couple is recommended to sign a cohabitation agreement, because less than 5% of the cohabiting couple sign such an agreement. In fact, this type of contract often forces couples to consider breaking up, and this dissonance can sometimes prevent them from acting.

According to Fabien Major, we need to present this type of contract rather as a proof of love, as a couple project to consolidate it. “If a housing association agreement would be a solution and we postpone, we must always bring it back on the agenda. “I know you said in your goals that you would solve this. I have made a small calendar for you and here are the steps to get there. I just have a notary colleague who will be ready to take care of of your case. ” It’s our role sometimes to push a little bit nicely, because it’s something that can affect our future experience, ”he said.

  • Hélène Belleau also talks about the importance of offering clients options other than the cohabitation contract, such as marriage. This is perceived not only as a proof of love, but often an act that can be relatively economical. “Organize your finances differently while you wait for you to make your cohabitation contract. It gives hope that the project will become a reality, but it can limit the damage a little, ”she said.
  • To restructure financial circumstances, the couple can plan their pension savings differently by treating it as a common expense in the daily budget. Spouses can also review the method of managing the daily expenses according to income, for example by ensuring that each has a discretionary minimum income which belongs to him and which is not to be used to pay family expenses.
  • The relationship with the adviser must be based on trust and the absence of judgment, emphasized Hélène Marquis, regional director, tax and property planning, CIBC Private Wealth: “Something important for an adviser is to involve a third party in the conversation, e.g. , if you have a financial planner on your team who only makes financial plans or professionals in your organization like me that you can introduce to the client. Often, in discussions that are a little more advanced because the person is a third party, there is confidence that they will not necessarily tell others, ”she explained.

To improve the expert’s active listening and the client’s sense of being understood, it may be a good idea to get someone to take notes for them, she says.

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