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Question about finances and alcoholism

Old 02-12-2014, 02:17 AM
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Question about finances and alcoholism

Hello all. I'm curious - is it common or part of the disease for alcoholics to insist on controlling the finances? In my situation, though I have tried, my AH will not add me to his bank account. I do not see statements (though the credit card statements come to our house) and he puts in a certain amount of $ into our "joint" account come payday.

A friend of mine has the same arrangement with her husband, though in her case she is the one who earns the money and has control over the finances, and he has no access. When I asked her about it she became flustered, said she just didn't like the idea (of him having access). She admitted it was a control thing. She has also mentioned possibly quitting drinking, which made me wonder if this was a facet of alcoholism - the want to control. Or, is it another facet of abuse?

Thanks for your feedback.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:43 AM
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think that it may depend on the amount of time married
and the arrangements made before the marriage
and are we on our first marriage, second marriage, third marriage or ??
or who's the one most qualified to handle the monies

but -- here's a common recent story I will share
my neighbor who owns a long time successful business got remarried around 4 years ago
instantly he turned over all money business matters to her
just the other day he found out that she has developed a gambling addiction
she has made no house or car payments in several months now
and has spent all of the family monies

I think it always best in a healthy marriage
that both parties have a good idea what's going on with the monies

Mountainman
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:53 AM
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My husband is the alcoholic and I have full access to his acct. So much so that I can now access it and write checks through POA. My husband is far from controlling. He can't even control his drinking. lol

Ok... that was a bad joke... whatever but I do have access to the funds.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:11 AM
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I think it depends on the marriage and whether there is some 'traditional' set up where the man is considered to be the one who controls these things.
During my marriage we had joint accounts and kept a tight reign on spending but I ran the financial side. That wasn't to say my husband and I didn't consider ourselves equal, it was more convenient as I was in town more often. If I needed to spend a lot of money we ran it past each other so there were no surprises. Later when I started working it went into 'my account' but I always considered it 'ours'.

The main issue with only one partner having access to financial information is that the other is putting his/her financial welfare in their hands. With an addict, that's problematical. Do you have an emergency fund? Is money being put aside for your retirement? Have you set joint goals like a deposit for a house, or a trip or whatever?

Your AH may not want you to know the extend or type of his spending.
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:07 AM
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Ex did that to me the last 2 years of our marriage. It got to the point i had to utilize a food pantry that wasn't based on income( ex made plenty of money then).
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:22 AM
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I have my own savings, checking, retirement and credit history. I have access to my H's accounts. We split the bills. He does handle more of the financials like taxes, insurances, etc. But I ask questions, we cost share many things, so I am not in the dark or shut out whatsoever.
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:34 AM
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I think it depends too. My husband and I have had all of our money commingled into one joint account since we moved in together, long before we were married. We have separate spending accounts for security and budgeting purposes but we both have full access to those. I do have a savings account that he doesn't have access to but that was done on accident and I was supposed to fix it but haven't done so.
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:48 AM
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Speaking as an alcoholic, I can say emphatically that keeping my finances secret was all about my bf not knowing what I was up to (in my case, liquor store bills, and excessive shopping).

Now he is my bf, not my husband, and I don't have access to HIS accounts (probably with good reason, LOL!!). I am trying to be more responsible about this and more forthcoming. In a strong marriage I believe it is a good idea to manage finances together. Both of my stepdaughters have done that and I admire them.

However, in an addict situation I have seen entire seemingly well-built financial structures brought down completely by the addict spouse with the sucker (oops, I meant "enabler") trusting that all was going well.

I use the word "sucker" because it is harsh but real. My bf is incredibly shrewd in the rest of his life but very blind when it comes to me and a few other family members who have used him. (I can see it so clearly, because hey, it takes one to know one) and the family members in question are very leery of me for that reason.

BTW, when I was sober for many many years, and married to another alcoholic in recovery, I got done in by his lies and gambling addiction, and affairs. I was the sucker there, and I look back and can't believe I was so trusting… I guess we just want to trust.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:12 AM
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I would say it may be common but I wouldn't say it's necessarily the norm. I think it depends on the personalities of the A and the partner. We've done it multiple ways. We've had separate individual accounts, one joint account, and most recently separate joint accounts used for different things. He's been in control of the major finances for the last 10 years. Prior to that, I was in charge. My sister's AH is in control of their finances and she doesn't even have access to the account. My parents have always had separate joint accounts and my father's been in control of/responsible for the finances for the most part.

I'm looking forward to having total control of the finances again when AH moves out this weekend. I think this is one of the most difficult areas in a relationship because we all have different investing and spending views.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:31 AM
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We had separate accounts and joint accounts for bill spending. I controlled the joint accounts because I was generally more responsible about money. I tried to get him to help me devise budgets and talk about money with me and why we never had any, and he always threw a fit. The biggest line in the sand that he drew was once when I "made" him sit down and talk budgets, and in response he went out to the garage and tried to hang himself. I stopped asking him about money for a few years. During this time his alcoholism flourished.

My STBXAH never showed me his bill stubs, or receipts from grocery shopping. Money was flying out of our house on bottom shelf vodka and god knows what else. We drank wine and cocktails together sometimes, and our drinking together was fun and casual, I thought -- but his liquor store and liquor at the grocery store spending was crazy. He started buying small bottles with spare change and borrowing from his folks behind my back. He pawned things, took cash from me, took cash from my son. He had a lot of tricks up his sleeve.

Which is only to say that even when I had control of the money, I didn't have control of him, or really, all of our money. He had plenty of avenues to undermine my efforts.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:55 AM
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I receive a small fixed income from before we were married. I've had this my entire adult life, and my AH has no access to it. From this, I pay all the fixed bills for the family, except the electric bill. He pays that and the satellite and internet. AH also occasionally buys groceries or other things for the family.

I also have a bank account which the fixed income is deposited. AH's name is not on it. Also none of his money goes into the account.

I would never think of putting his name on the account. The money in there is rightfully mine, and I shudder to think of what he would do if in a drunken binge.

Sue
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by FeelingGreat View Post
Do you have an emergency fund? Is money being put aside for your retirement? Have you set joint goals like a deposit for a house, or a trip or whatever?

Your AH may not want you to know the extend or type of his spending.
I have a small account set aside from making money here and there, I am not employed and looking to get a job. Retirement - I assume he has benefits from his company but to be honest I have no idea. He wants to buy a house but again, no idea of how much we have. He makes a good living.

Before we were married we discussed joining finances, and a few years ago before a move he said he was going to add me to his account when we got there, and once there he did not. Opened a joint account instead that next year which later became what I feel is an electronic allowance, as he does not use it. He has also used money as a weapon for punishment (lessening amounts given depending on his latest fit, or outright saying that he will not contribute if I don't want to have children with him, etc.)

Yes, there is the concern that he could be hiding things other than his liquor spending, which I know he would want to hide as he also hides his drinking from me. I do know he likes to gamble, but I feel like making any one assumption isn't fair and could lead me to paranoia. I already feel crazy for focusing on him so much, but as a married couple I feel my concern over the finances is justified.

He is controlling in other ways so I feel this could be part of it, I don't know.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TonightTonight View Post
Hello all. I'm curious - is it common or part of the disease for alcoholics to insist on controlling the finances? In my situation, though I have tried, my AH will not add me to his bank account. I do not see statements (though the credit card statements come to our house) and he puts in a certain amount of $ into our "joint" account come payday.

A friend of mine has the same arrangement with her husband, though in her case she is the one who earns the money and has control over the finances, and he has no access. When I asked her about it she became flustered, said she just didn't like the idea (of him having access). She admitted it was a control thing. She has also mentioned possibly quitting drinking, which made me wonder if this was a facet of alcoholism - the want to control. Or, is it another facet of abuse?

Thanks for your feedback.
the only advice I have based on what you have written is from my own experience. I don't think it's ever a good idea not to know what your finances are or where your money is going when you're living with an active alcoholic.
It's a recipe for disaster.
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TonightTonight View Post
He has also used money as a weapon for punishment (lessening amounts given depending on his latest fit, or outright saying that he will not contribute if I don't want to have children with him, etc.)

He is controlling in other ways so I feel this could be part of it, I don't know.
Hi, this is financial abuse and is probably part of his controlling pattern. I suggest you do some research online about types of domestic abuse and see if any of it sounds familiar to you. The more you learn the more power you'll have. You could also call a domestic violence help-line. It doesn't have to be physical, and they will be able to point you to further resources.
Then if you want to talk it over with your husband you will know your rights.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountainmanbob View Post

I think it always best in a healthy marriage
that both parties have a good idea what's going on with the monies

Mountainman
A heartbreaking thing I saw on Phil Donahue years ago: A woman stood up and said after her husband died, she waited and waited for the life insurance check. She finally called the insurance company, and was told her husband had cashed out the policy years before. He had done so to keep up a standard of living his paycheck didn't cover, and he was embarrassed to tell his wife and kids.

My husband and I kept separate monies. I didn't trust him not to spend mine as well as his. As it was, he took out money from his 401K to spend when his unemployment wasn't enough. He lied and said he needed it for medical expenses. He was spending about $600 a week. You wouldn't think it possible, but in addition to unemployment (about $200 a week) he withdrew $2500 every three months. He did pay his share of the bills, but we own the house outright, so no mortgage. It mostly went for beer (2-3 six-packs a day) cigarettes (two packs a day) and lottery tickets. The ATM withdrawal slips were about $200 every two days.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by velma929 View Post
A heartbreaking thing I saw on Phil Donahue years ago: A woman stood up and said after her husband died, she waited and waited for the life insurance check. She finally called the insurance company, and was told her husband had cashed out the policy years before. He had done so to keep up a standard of living his paycheck didn't cover, and he was embarrassed to tell his wife and kids.

My husband and I kept separate monies. I didn't trust him not to spend mine as well as his. As it was, he took out money from his 401K to spend when his unemployment wasn't enough. He lied and said he needed it for medical expenses. He was spending about $600 a week. You wouldn't think it possible, but in addition to unemployment (about $200 a week) he withdrew $2500 every three months. He did pay his share of the bills, but we own the house outright, so no mortgage. It mostly went for beer (2-3 six-packs a day) cigarettes (two packs a day) and lottery tickets. The ATM withdrawal slips were about $200 every two days.
This hits home..Im dealing with the same thing. Praying he sticks to his word, though not holding my breath, about no more w/d's.

Tonight, I am praying that you get yourself involved in your finances, dont take no for an answer..don't let him do this to you or control you in this way. It is a huge regret I have and I am taking responsibility for my ignorance on the matter. Im praying for you!
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:57 PM
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Alcoholism is progressive and degenerative. Financial and emotional independence are essential in a marriage with someone who is "under the influence". Alcoholics are in general a self-absorbed lot which is one reason "service" is a focal point in AA. They often have to learn to put emphasis on those other than themselves. Many have grown up in alcoholic homes themselves and as a result of the chaos and nature of alcoholism have trust issues. Open ACOA meetings can give you insight should that be his history.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:10 AM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. On one hand I am thankful for the separation in finances as this has only protected my credit, but at this point I cannot imagine continuing the way we have been living. I don't know many people in my situation and my mind spins to horrible fears and scenarios.
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