By Ryan Ryan
When we think about abuse in a relationship, generally physical, verbal, and emotional are the three main categories that come to mind. However, financial abuse is a very real thing as well, and Black Enterprise reports that millennials are a prime target for this in their relationships.
What exactly comprises financial abuse? Centsai, who put out the latest survey on the subject as well as one last year, defines this as a method used by a romantic or life partner to gain power and control in a relationship. This may include utilizing tactics to limit a partner’s access to family finances. Generally going hand-in-hand with this is financial infidelity, where a significant other in a relationship with combined finances lies to the other about money, including putting debts in a hidden account.
One major difference between this survey and last year is being more open with the definition of financial abuse compared to last year. In the first survey, millennials were simply asked if they were ever victims of financial abuse or infidelity. In this survey, they were given more specific examples to work with, such as whether or not their partner lied to them about opening up a credit card or didn’t allow access to a joint account. In the survey group of 2000 millennials, a whopping 60% responded that this was the case.
“The most alarming revelation was that nearly two-thirds of people said they are currently experiencing this or have in the past,” says Doria Lavagnino, CentSai’s co-founder and president. What led to such a leap? Lavagnino suggests that it’s not so much millennials having a higher predilection for this behavior as much as it is increased visibility and coverage to the issue, as well as breaking down what the behavior entails in the survey.
Along with the general statistic, some 69% of females stated experiencing behavior from their partners that would constitute financial abuse, while 68% noted behaviors constituting financial infidelity. 40% of males reported financial abuse, and 47% reported financial infidelity.
“Chances are that in many relationships, perpetrators are not even aware that their behavior constitutes financial abuse or infidelity,” Lavagnino says. On top of relationships being ended due to these actions, other potential consequences include emotional turmoil, debt, and ruined credit scores.
“Our hope is that surveys like this and the information we provide on our platform will increase awareness about this issue.”