When you think of domestic abuse, physical or verbal assault are probably the first things that come to mind. Unfortunately, financial abuse is often overlooked, even though it occurs in 99% of all domestic violence cases. The effects of financial abuse can last for years or even decades after victims escape abusive relationships.
Financial abuse can take on many forms. Some abusers use manipulation to covertly remain in control of a victim’s finances while others resort to outright intimidation or threatening behavior. No matter how financial abuse presents itself in a relationship, it can make it extremely difficult for victims to escape, and once they do escape, they are often forced to start rebuilding their financial independence from scratch.
Starting over financially
The first step is always escaping the abusive situation, but what comes next? While this next chapter can feel overwhelming, this is ultimately an opportunity for you to lay a strong foundation on which to build the rest of your life. Here are steps you can take to establish your financial independence and help ensure long-term financial health.
Open new accounts
Some survivors may have done this back when they were planning their escape, but anyone who hasn’t should make it a first priority. Choose a reputable bank that fits your needs. Some offer budgeting help if you need it. Others offer online banking options that help customers manage their finances online. Larger chain banks typically offer a wider range of services while smaller local banks offer a personal touch to the banking process.
Do some online research, talk to friends or family for recommendations and make an informed decision based on what you feel will be right for you.
Opening an account is typically a simple process. You’ll need your Social Security Number and a valid ID. Some banks require minimum deposits for opening certain types of accounts. If you have enough money for the minimum deposit on a savings account, it’s a good idea to open both a checking and savings account.