Stable ground is a precious commodity. We all need sources of stability in our lives, even more so when other parts of our lives become more fluid, prone to changes. While that’s true in general, a pandemic and other global turmoil really help bring the point home right now.
As if all this wasn’t enough to give you the impression that you’re playing life in the hard mode, imagine being caught in an abusive relationship to boot. The source of stability for many, but what can quickly become your Achilles’ heel if your partner is abusive. “Financial insecurity is the # 1 reason why people who experienced gender-based violence return to an abusive relationship or enter into a new abusive relationship.” – Freeform.
To get out of a relationship like that, overcome and thrive on your own, building your own stability matters. While it’s only one aspect of the process, financial stability matters too. Both when leaving an abusive relationship, as well as when getting back up on your on feet after.
This is where the money coach Tiffany Tara and her group for financial empowerment are trying to help. We talked with Tiffany by videoconference from Germany, where she now lives after having moved from the US.
She leads a group of abuse survivors, meeting regularly to discuss their daily financial lives, as well as plan for the future. While their financial lives may be under additional stress due to all the circumstances, their approach to improving their financial lives holds lessons for us all.
One of the first steps is knowing yourself and addressing your deep-seated financial biases. For example, based on your past influences and the resulting personal approach to money, you likely fit into one of the 8 financial archetypes. When faced with a quick decision, our approach to money is often subconscious and rooted in our pre-defined attitudes, rather than well considered rational analysis. That’s why knowing, for example, that you might fit into the “Innocent” archetype might help. It may just be enough to get you to pay attention and not avoid financial matters altogether as “innocents” otherwise might. If that’s not your schtick, you might be an upfront-planning Warrior, spiritually-minded Magician, a Martyr that always puts the needs of others in front of their own, or one of the other archetypes. In any case, realising your upfront financial biases can help with shaping a healthier belief system about money.
The group also discusses their current financial issues openly, getting them out in the open to deal with them better inside the group. They use the Toshl apps to track their daily finances and empower themselves with data.
Financial survivors can make 100 000 $ less in their lifetime earnings due to abuse, according to estimates, so it’s even more important to lessen these effects in the long term. To be more concrete, according to Freefrom, the lifetime costs of intimate partner violence—including the costs of related health problems, lost productivity, and criminal justice costs on average $103,767 for women and $23,414 for men.*
Redefining your personal approach to money is a good start, but longer-term plans are needed as well. The group also works together on their 6-month financial plans, using data to fill in a more customised spreadsheet and make a rough outline of their future needs, goals and how to best manage them. Getting out of debt is certainly one such worthy goal, removing uncertainty and empowering individuals to make bolder choices in the future.
We wish Tiffany and her group all the best and lots of success on the road to financial empowerment. We could all learn from them.
*Cora Peterson, Megan C. Kearns, Wendy LiKamWa McIntosh, Lianne Fuino Estefan, Christina Nicolaidis, Kathryn E. McCollister, Amy Gordon & Curtis Florence, “Lifetime Economic Burden of Intimate Partner Violence Among U.S. Adults,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, (2018): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2018.04.049