He Said She Said: Financial Bullying

Are you being financially bullied?  photo credit

Are you being financially bullied? photo credit

Today we’re bringing you another round of He Said/She Said. These posts are really your chance as readers to hear how discussions (and sometimes disagreements) play out when managing our lives with each other. For a look at some of the past He Said/She Said discussions – check ‘em out here.

Bullying is all over the news lately. From the charges dropped against the teenagers accused of cyberbullying that led to the suicide of a Florida 12-year-old a couple of months ago to the bullying scandal among Miami Dolphin’s teammates that’s now under investigation, it seems like bullying comes in all shapes and all sizes. Especially in Florida. =/

So when I saw this quiz about financial bullying at Credit Karma, let’s just say I was already primed for interest.

According to the site/study, “Financial bullies intimidate and manipulate their partners by controlling all of the household finances.”

Hmmm.. But I control all of the household finances!?! Am I a financial bully? I definitely wear the financial pants in the family, and might be called the budget enforcer inasmuch as we have one… So, to ease my own conscience, I made Mr PoP take the quiz, which consists of just 7 questions with a 4 choice strongly/somewhat agree/disagree answer choice.

This He Said/She Said is in a little different format than usual.  But here’s how taking the quiz went.  

Q1 – My partner doesn’t allow me to shop on my own.

He Said: Strongly disagree. Though this would require that I have some desire to go shopping.

She Said: Really?  I thought you were going to say at least somewhat agree on this. I tend to find better bargains a lot of the time and have more of an eye for details (*cough* like which airports to fly in and out of *cough*) so I like to be involved with bigger purchases, and sometimes it seems like you don’t like that.

Q2 – My partner doesn’t allow me to have credit cards.

He Said: Strongly disagree. You just gave me a new one yesterday!

She Said: True… but then today I told you to stop using that one since we finished churning it in ~24 hours. (Readers – It was a very spendy 24 hours, let me tell you…) I tend to give guidance on which cards to use and help simplify it so we’re getting the best bonuses rather than just applying the purchases to whichever card is at the top of the stack in your wallet.

Q3 – My partner gives me a monthly or weekly allowance.

He Said: Somewhat disagree… monthly budgets in categories like “coffee” or “restaurants” kindof feel that way sometimes.

She Said: Don’t know what to say to this. Without limits you go kindof nuts in these categories since they’re like little escapes. So I get why you feel this way, but you do also ASK to have the limits in place…

Q4 – My partner makes me feel guilty about my shopping habits

He Said: Strongly disagree. Again, I’d have to shop in order to have shopping habits to feel guilty about.

She Said: I actually think you, Mr PoP, are incapable about feeling guilt for anything. Luckily my Catholic upbringing means I feel enough guilt for two. No surprise from this answer.

Q5 – My partner makes me show receipts for all my purchases.

He Said: Somewhat disagree. You do have that obsession about receipts when it comes to the duplex.

She Said: Other than for tax deductibility reasons, mint actually is set up so we never have to worry about receipts. And go ahead and sue me for not wanting to overpay on taxes! As DINKs we statistically pay more than our fair share as it is…

Q6 – My partner forces me to turn over my paycheck.

He Said: Strongly disagree. That was one of the perks of marrying you! Getting to turn over my paycheck to you! Take it all!

She Said: I joke that “what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine…”, and I’m glad that you laugh as much at it as I do.

Q7 – I suspect my partner has lied to me about money.

He Said: Strongly disagree. You grew up Catholic, so the guilt would probably kill you if you lied to me about something.

She Said: The automated transparency in our system makes it pretty difficult to lie to one another about money. Not impossible, but definitely a pain in the ass. When honesty is easier than deception, I don’t really worry about either of us lying.

And the results….



He Said

I’m glad I’m not being financially bullied, but I didn’t really need a quiz to tell me that.  Can I go back to reading reddit now?

She Said

Overall it seems like I worry more about Mr PoP’s feelings when it comes to me wearing the financial pants more than he does. Honestly, that’s pretty comforting to hear every once in a while. I don’t ever want to be like the husband in this financially abusive relationship we updated readers on this summer**.


** Update: Finally some good news on this one, everyone. A couple months ago she kicked him out of the house in the hopes that he would reform and come crawling back. Instead, he started bunking at a friend’s house and immediately threw a party to celebrate his freedom. She cried for a week after hearing about the party, but is now in the process of cleaning up their accounts, putting financial items in her name (like car, a credit card, checking account…), and working with her family to make sure he can’t get custody of the baby out of spite when she finally files for divorce. It’s like a complete 180. Such good news!


Where do you and your partner fall on the financial bully continuum?

59 comments to He Said She Said: Financial Bullying

  • I didn’t do so well on a few of those questions….hahaha! From a distance it might appear that I financially bully Greg but that’s not really the case. I do control all the money but we make joint decisions on how its managed. I do have his paycheck direct deposited in savings though and he probably doesn’t know how much it is!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Are You Spending More Just to Get a Discount?My Profile

  • Interesting. I definitely handle the money in our family but I feel like we talk about the big things. Mostly my wife expresses gratitude that she doesn’t have to deal with all of it, but it does make me wonder whether I mostly get what I want simply because I’m the one who’s typically bringing up the conversation. I certainly don’t intend to bully and don’t think I do in the traditional sense, but I think it’s possible that there’s some part of my wife that wishes she had more say. I mean, we both have freedom to make whatever purchases we want as long as our long-term spending stays in line, so it’s more like who’s really determining our long-term spending/saving goals. Definitely something to think about.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Disability Insurance: Why Almost Everyone Needs ItMy Profile

  • I don’t do so well either, but I swear he gives himself an allowance. And I wouldn’t look at receipts or ask about purchases if we weren’t on mint. It bugs me when mint can’t categorize something. And he has the allowance so he can go shopping on his own… So the one thing I don’t fail at here is I don’t lie about money.

    But in truth everything we have is joint except his allowance.

    Glad to hear the update on your friend.
    Nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Google, you’re my only hopeMy Profile

  • So, I guess I’m the finacial bully for wanting to get out of debt and buy a house? Some people are just bad with money and *forget* things they buy. We both get a certain amount of “blow money” as an allowance, and try to discuss the larger purchases before they are made. Generally it falls on me as once we combined finances after getting married all the dirty secrets started catching up.

    • I just asked Mrs. PoP about “blow money” and she thought I meant cocaine =/
      Mr PoP recently posted..He Said She Said: Financial BullyingMy Profile

      • LOL, no “blow money” i guess I picked up from Dave Ramsey. It is a certain dollar amount that we each get to waste on whatever we want for the week without asking/involving the other person. I don’t like her buying starbucks and she doesn’t like me wasting it on trivial items (tools, kitchen gadgets, etc), but if it’s our “blow money” it is fair game and no one gets mad. Everything else is budgeted and put to work, so it’s nice to have a little wiggle room for when you want to be silly.

  • I laughed when I saw this. I think it’s great that you’re not a bully. I have a coworker that just makes me sick with this. He’s the breadwinner in his family and his wife takes care of the three kids. If he needs anything while he’s at work he calls her and demands, not asks, that she drive over and drop off certain items. He justify a this by saying that he makes all the money in the relationship. While that fact is true, he’s still a shitty person…
    Cash Rebel recently posted..A Reader’s Thoughts on Healthcare and Pigovian TaxesMy Profile

  • Debbie M

    This one is hilarious. It does sound like you do lots of the icky parts for him and it sounds like like all of the limitations are mutually agreed upon.

    In my relationship, our finances are pretty separate, but I still had some of the same answers–I gave him a credit card (though not yesterday) and he is not into guilt! These questions have not captured the kinds of pressures we are likely to foist on each other though. I want to spend frugally so I can quit working, so I don’t want to share any big expenses (like living somewhere bigger), but I don’t want to feel bad for dragging him down.

    He likes working and he has expensive tastes, so I’m sure he’d think it would be nice if I were making some big piles of money to add to the stash. But he appreciates the super low housing costs now that the house is paid off, so that’s sort of like free money. He’d like to start his own business but I’m afraid of that (because my dad’s went bankrupt). Except I don’t think I need credit anymore except to keep my car insurance prices down (I have enough credit cards, I’ve already bought my house, I pay cash for my cars, and I’m done with job hunting).

  • Hm.. probably need to let my wife go through this quiz. I probably bully both of us since we both collect receipts and have allowances…. :-(
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..What I Love About YNABMy Profile

  • I think I could easily be married to you Mrs. POP (is it legal in FL? lol) because of stuff like figuring out which cc is best of use for bonus points, and helping me stay accountable. :) Sometimes because it’s just me, I have no one to make me feel just a little guilty about spending money where I shouldn’t. Glad you guys are on the same page as far as your finances.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Re-Commit to Your Financial GoalsMy Profile

  • We’re still fairly independent as of now, but I can see how he would reign me in once we go joint since I tend to be more spendy…. but all in a non-bullying way. :) LOL at the Catholic references… oh the guilts are just ingrained, yes? :)
    anna recently posted..Re-focusing and finding that lineMy Profile

  • I’m probably a financial bully, since I control the finances and sometimes get on to my husband about spending overall. If I didn’t do it, we would never reach our goals. Plus, big purchases are always a joint decision.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted..A Millenial’s Perspective: When Work Takes OverMy Profile

  • We’re also very independent when it comes to money. But now that I am the only money-maker, I take a bit more control. He listens to me because he knows I know best! But I never tell him no!
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted..Friday Blog Roundup #4My Profile

  • This is pretty funny! I’m tempted to have my hubby take this quiz, but I think we’re pretty balanced when it comes to finances. I’m extremely grateful we know how to communicate about money and make sure we are both getting what we want! Sounds like the PoP Household is the same way – no bullying there :)
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted..The Importance of Saving No Matter How Much You MakeMy Profile

  • H

    I’m the bully. I’m married to a wonderful man with zero sense of how to manage money. So, I lead the way or the poor guy will never ever retire.

    • I think what this helped me see is that there’s a difference between leading the way and being a bully. If your husband is on board with the direction and just needs someone to keep you both on track, then that’s a good thing!

  • My wife is pretty frugal, but she does tend to like buying things than I do. I try not to be a bully about it…I just nicely remind her about our financial goals =) We’re pretty financially compatible so we don’t usually have conflicts over money.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..November UpdateMy Profile

  • I pretty much control all of the finances, but I try to get Dad involved. I get frustrated sometimes because he just really doesn’t care sometimes, and trying to get a decision out of him is like pulling teeth. We’ve managed to learn this and he just tells me to “pick something” when he doesn’t actually care. He has full access to almost all of our accounts (except one CC that I use for things I buy him – and he has one CC that I don’t have access to), and our YNAB file, but he’s just not interested. I feel bad sometimes that I’m doing most of the decision making, but that’s how it goes.
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Home Network Security Part 3 – UpdatesMy Profile

    • Getting mint on both of our phones made Mr PoP even more invested in the day-to-day progress. The first two years we were married he didn’t have it and the everyday involvement was harder. Does Dad ever blog @ 3isPlenty?

  • Anne

    Glad to hear the update on W, good for her! That’s what I think of with financial bullying, when one partner is using it as a way to essentially trap the other.

    You and Mr Pop are just supporting (and maybe sometimes pushing) each other to meet the goals you’ve set as a team, and that’s a good thing :)

  • It sounds like you guys are very much on the same page when it comes to fiscal responsibility.. Which is sort of the anti-bullying situation.

    My wife and I are in a similar boat. If there is something that one of us wants to buy that wasn’t in the budget, it is up to the person who wants the item to figure out what category to subtract from.
    jefferson @SeeDebtRun recently posted..Five Tips For Saving Money on Thanksgiving DinnerMy Profile

  • Karen

    Ahh…When I started to read this post I immediately thought “I’m the bully”. But really, I just manage the household finances and we always discuss our bills/debt/allowances for the month, every month. I do, however, have a small cow when my husband checks the balance of his bank account at the ATM and the bank charges him $1.00 – when he has his “smart phone” in his pocket and can obviously check it for free. I know it’s only $1.00 but it’s seriously such a waste! He gets what we call the “stink eye” from me!

    • Eh, I really hate all those little fee’s the bank hits you with. Late fees, balance checks, over draft fees, all of em get the stink eye from me. I can understand buying things, but fee’s you don’t get anything for your money.

    • $1 fee to check your balance!?! holy cow that’s ridiculous.

  • I’m generally in charge of the finances in our relationship, but the “allowing” your partner to go shopping or giving them an allowance would seem to reflect much deeper issues with a relationship IMO.
    The First Million is the Hardest recently posted..Four Tips For Avoiding The Resume Black HoleMy Profile

  • Love the strategy you two took with this! I think the key here is the way the questions are formed – “My partner DOESN’T ALLOW me…” “My partner MAKES me…” My partner FORCES ME…” In a relationship where budgets, receipt-checking and allowance-giving is agreed upon (like in yours), these won’t apply.

    My husband and I are very similar – we’ve actually traded budget setting/monitoring responsibilities when one of us gets sick of it, but we always agree on that arrangement and our “allowances” (or “slush fund”). Right now, hubs is responsible for budgeting/paying regular expense bills and I’m on deck for paying of the credit cards and our savings goals. It works!

    • I think you’re absolutely right on the verbage and that the person doesn’t feel like they have a choice. That was actually what was happening (among other awful stuff) with my friend W that I mentioned the update about at the end of the post.

  • […] In this week’s edition of He Said, She Said, Mr. and Mrs. PoP go through a quiz on Financial Bullying, which is funny and also enlightening, especially from my standpoint since I could be considered the bully in my household. If I let my wife take the quiz, that is…  He Said She Said: Financial Bullying […]

  • B is still in school so she doesn’t bring in a whole lot of income. What she does make, she manages to ensure her bills are paid. I think we will probably have a similar course even after she graduates and has full time work. Seperate finances with a joint account used to pay common bills.
    Micro recently posted..Saving Money on Software Part 1: Open Source SoftwareMy Profile

  • I am totally a bully, but Jim has zero interest in keeping track of anything and is totally happy when I give him a credit card or tell him which store to buy things at. He also never keeps receipts, so it’s nice to have the credit card statement to track things. He may hate keeping up with financial stuff and he certainly rolls his eyes at some of my ideas (cancelling satellite TV), but usually when it’s all said and done, he’s really happy with the outcome, especially with the free travel rewards and amount of savings we’ve been able to keep. If that makes me a bully, I guess I’m a well loved one!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..The Emergency Fund Has Taken a HitMy Profile

  • Great post! The hubs and I pretty much split the financial tasks, although I am usually the one monitoring the checking account and monthly expenses (he does more with taking care of our investments). I hope he wouldn’t think I’m a financial bully, although just a couple days ago I was giving him a little grief about this expensive hunting trip he wants to take with his buddies next month. Guess I’ll have to have him take the quiz!!
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted..7 ways to (happily!) contain your standard of livingMy Profile

    • Definitely have him take the quiz. If nothing else, it’s a nice way to go through things and make sure the other person is really feeling like they are being heard. (At least that’s one of the biggest things I got out of it.)

  • I definitely stay up to date with our finances but I always communicate with my husband. Financial bullies are terrible and I am glad I’m not in a relationship with one, nor am I the bully. Glad to hear about the update on your friend!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted..Some ways to make extra cash for the holiday shoppingMy Profile

  • […] Mrs. Pop from Planting Our Pennies asks her husband if she is financially bullying him. […]

  • trudy

    A couple of things puzzle me about the friend’s situation – What happened when she asked CB for access to accounts before the breakup? Did she get the I’m the man of the house speech? And how did she get access after she threw him out? She’s able to transfer assets into her name, presumably without his okay?

    • I didn’t pester for too many details, but from what I got – apparently after he didn’t come back she did steps like
      – changed direct deposit on her paycheck to a new account in her name only
      – turned in the car leased in both of their names and took out a car lease in her name alone (she wanted that so she had more of a credit history if she needs it to move into an apartment on her own soon)
      – before that she apparently started squirreling away cash a little at a time, too. So she had enough to get her through a few weeks after he left and until the next paychecks started coming in

      I don’t think he gave a big “I’m the man of the house” speech… It sounded like he was really happy to be kicked out. (He literally threw a party.) Since then he’s only come by to see the baby a couple of times, and W won’t let CB see the baby unless they are supervised by one of W’s family members (usually mom or dad since they live nearby). From what I’m gathering, CB’s family was the one pushing him to be married, and diminutive wives are traditional in his family. Luckily W realized she wasn’t going to be happy filling that role for the rest of her life and CB wasn’t going to change.

  • well I guess I am definitely a financial bully. But hey, I am more than happy to take on the financial bully role as I’m the one who got my spendy husband out of credit card debt, paid for his bachelor’s degree in cash, loaded him up with savings, and raised his credit score from the 600s when we first got married to mid 700’s today. SO you can tell that quiz to suck it! Sometimes you need a financial bully in your life : )

  • Mama PoP

    Mr. PoP is following his dad’s example in the financial area by relying on Mrs. PoP since she excels in money management.

    When I met Poppa PoP, his idea of paying bills was to allow them to accumulate on his 6′ roll-top desk and pay one when he got a phone call about something being turned off (think electric, phone, etc.). The strategy for balancing a checkbook was triggered by a phone call from his friend the bank manager telling him that his account was overdrawn. That called for simply opening up a new checking account and letting the troubled account sort itself out.

    To Poppa PoP’s delight, I couldn’t tolerate this behavior, so he turned over all financial decisions, investments, recordkeeping, and the attendant headaches to me. Sometimes I wonder if that is reverse-bullying? My life would be much easier if I had a wife to do all of that!

  • […] PoP from Planting Our Pennies presents He Said She Said: Financial Bullying, and says, “Mr & Mrs PoP go through a quiz on financial bullying as a check on their […]

  • […] PoP from Planting Our Pennies presents He Said She Said: Financial Bullying, and says, “Mr & Mrs PoP go through a quiz on financial bullying as a check on their […]