Those who financially abuse, do so to attain complete control and power over an individual.
You now need to regain your power by taking control of your finances!
Where to begin?
To start with, you should have a bank account in your sole name. If you don’t have this setup, then this should be done asap. It is not a good idea to have your income lodged to the joint bank account you shared with your abuser. If you still have joint debts, then lodge the required amount each week/month to the relevant account or bill. Make sure to keep receipts for all payments made.
Assess your financial situation
It will be necessary to ASSESS YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION as best you can. Start by preparing a budget; write down your total income and your total outgoings. Only when you write everything down will you see exactly how your financial situation really stands. To prepare a realistic budget, you will need up to date balances of all your expenses, such as loans, credit cards, mortgage etc. Try to gather details of all financial obligations and their associated account numbers. You can contact each provider to get an updated balance of what is owing and if you are in arrears.
This process will be stressful, the reality of your financial situation will be clear to see and for women with no support system in place this can be hard to deal with. Research has shown that financial distress can leave an individual incapable of dealing with simple everyday tasks. Add to this the stress of dealing with an abusive partner, can result in it being impossible to gather all the necessary information to prepare a simple budget. If you can relate to this, and are finding the preparation of a budget difficult, then I would recommend you contact MABS for assistance. Their details can be found at www.mabs.ie. MABS is a free and confidential service open to everyone. Be clear from the outset what your requirements are, to ensure you get the assistance you need with preparing a budget.
Maximise your income
After you have gathered a full picture of your financial position, explore options to MAXIMISE YOUR INCOME. I recommend you contact the Citizens Information; you can find out more details at www.citizensinformation.ie. Enquire if there are social welfare benefits you may be eligible for. They can provide details of any entitlements you can apply for which may improve your financial situation.
It is also a good idea to assess employment opportunities which might be open to you that may facilitate an improvement in your finances. Again, when discussing your options with the Citizens Information Service, ask them what the effect of you gaining employment will be. For example, depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to the Working Family. When you have been informed of all your options, only then can you start to make informed decisions!
Reduce your outgoings
In addition to maximising your income, it is wise to also examine the possibility of REDUCING YOUR OUTGOINGS. Maybe you have a subscription service you no longer require? Examine all expenses to see if there are any possibilities for a reduction. No doubt, if you’ve been experiencing financial abuse your outgoings will already be at a minimum, even so, still examine this area to make certain.
For those who have children, the cost of childcare can be considerable. There are childcare subsidies available under the National Childcare Scheme (NCS). You can find out more information at www.ncs.gov.ie or contact your local City or County Childcare Committee.
Some important checks to do!
Finally, it is important for those who have experienced financial abuse to attain a recent credit report. This will ensure you get up to date information on all debts IN YOUR NAME! Many who have experienced financial abuse, also come to realise debts were taken out in their name, which they were not aware of it until it was too late. You can request your credit report free of charge at any time from the Central Credit Register. You can get more information at www.centralcreditregister.ie
If you would like further information on the topic of financial abuse or are interested in a group workshop, you can book a callback through this link to discuss this further. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide details of your requirements.