Can you heal from abuse? What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day. And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough. Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation. But it doesn’t have to be a five year process either. Millions of other survivors around the worlds entire lives have been impacted by their narcissist. Yours doesn’t have to. To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.
Marissa: Welcome back to Healing From Emotional Abuse. Today we’re joined with my friend and colleague, Rob Wruble. I met him at a retreat in California, and he is awesome. I’m so happy to have him here today. Rob is the award winning and bestselling author of Financial Freedom for Special Needs Families. He speaks regularly to family organizations, serving people with developmental disabilities, as well as two groups of professionals serving adults with developmental disabilities and their families. We’re talking about tips to save money when you’re in a toxic relationship, and after you leave a toxic relationship. Hi, Rob. Thank you so much for being here today. I’m so excited to talk to you.
Rob: Marissa, I am too when we first discussed this, maybe a month ago or so three weeks, I can’t remember. I’ve been looking forward to it pretty much every day. So, I’m glad to be on and thanks for all the work that you do.
Marissa: Oh, my gosh, thank you for everything that you do. And that’s really nice to hear. So, thank you, I was really excited as well. I’ve been talking about this a lot. I don’t know if you know too much about financial abuse, and I know I’ve mentioned it in an earlier podcast episode. But a big reason why people survivors do not leave domestic violence situations is because of fear of finances. And a lot of them have endured financial abuse, which can range from either being told they’re not allowed to have a job by their narcissist or being forced to work but not having any access to their household money. And that presents a huge problem for people to leave, because it requires a lot of money to leave to be able to get an apartment, especially if you have children. And to be able to feed yourself and your children. So, have you dealt with or worked with people who have had any sort of situation like this or any fear regarding having enough money to survive?
Rob: I have it’s come up in so many different ways. And certainly, money is for so many people, a meaningful and stressful area of their lives. And I’ve definitely come across people who really don’t have any access to money in the relationship at all. I haven’t met that many and I don’t have a specific way that said, Gee, I’ve got no access, I don’t have any money. But I’ve definitely run across people who are who have hinted at that that all of their paycheck goes to their partner or spouse or whomever it is that they’re currently living or afraid with. And I’ve met lots and lots of other people who just feel like they haven’t ever been able to put two pennies together, let alone to have a few $100 or a few $1,000 to establish themselves and life. So, it’s a huge issue, frankly, for a lot of different people. And the more I’ve thought about our upcoming talk and talk to some other experts in the field, realize what an issue it is for somebody who feels a little bit hopeless and doesn’t necessarily know where their way out is. And so, I look forward to talking to maybe some strategies that can help people out a little bit.
Marissa: Awesome. What advice, have you given the people that you’ve worked with already? Who have dealt with similar situations? Is there anything that you can that you just off hand advice that you give them?
Rob: Yeah, there’s probably three or four really different areas to think about. And there, they’re obviously related, but they’re very different. One is, and maybe we can come back to it is how do you have conversations with the person that you live with that you want more access to information about or control over the financial piece, but that’s probably the very end because that’s probably the biggest, hardest piece to get over. And obviously, for people in abusive relationships, when that may never, that conversation may never happen. There’s a bunch of other things that people can do first, what I see a lot is that people just don’t think that they can ever even have any money. And it doesn’t necessarily come from the relationship partner, it may come from, how they were raised, or how they’ve always handled money in the past. And so, one way to think about is how are people successful with saving some money versus people that haven’t had a chance to do it. And a lot of it when I when I meet and talk to people has to do with the messaging they got when they were younger. Some people were encouraged to you know, take their pennies and put them in a little piggy bank on their desk as a symbol of, hey, you’ve got some extra put it away. Other people grew up in situations where there just wasn’t any extra money to go around. And so, they never got that piece. And so, a lot of times they have to think about what is it that you can do on personal behavior, to find ways to save money. And if you’re in a relationship or you don’t have a partner you can trust it’s a little bit harder. But if you have access to any actual cash, and very often the easiest way to save the first little bit of money for people, and especially for people that are being watched, is to just have some cash available. And so, if you’re the person that may be buying groceries and have some money and hopefully, you’re not turning in the receipt, you know, is there an extra $5, $10, or $20 a week or a month that you can take and put into pocket. And so, there’s a way sometimes just with the change that you get from, from your cup of coffee or a sandwich or something where you can start to accumulate, again, a few dollars is not going to be a lot. But really, I guess one of things that I see is for people who have never been able to put any money aside for anything, it’s changing that behavior pattern. And so even if it looks like it’s only 50 cents here, and $1 there and $5 there, watching that money add up in a safe and secure place, it might be in the glove compartment of a car, it might be at the bottom of a sock drawer, which is kind of an obvious place, so maybe not the best place. But it’s changing that behavior pattern of saying, Okay, I’m the kind of person today that can actually take a little bit of the money that I have access to, and put it in a place where I can keep it, get it when I need to, and see that it’s growing on a weekly, daily or monthly basis. And we see that, for people that might even be say saving into a retirement plan at work for the first time, that first paycheck, the second, third and fourth paychecks or money has come out a lot of times, it’s the first time anybody’s ever saved any money. And after a couple of months, there’s a confidence level to the fact that they could put it to the side, that’s so important for somebody to save for long term. And I think in the group of people that you talk to and work with, it’s so important to gain some confidence and control by taking very, very small steps. But taking those steps,
Marissa: I love the idea of taking little bits of money at a time and hiding it in a place where the narcissist won’t find it a lot of the time in these abusive relationships, the abuser will have full access of the money, so won’t really have the survivor won’t really have cash on them, and if they do, it’s very little. And if they do ever have access to any of the money, it’s usually very highly secured or monitored by the abuser. So, I love the idea of little by little, even if it’s just 50 cents, hiding it somewhere like in a shoe you don’t wear is something that’s pretty popular. Something that I’ve been doing, And I know that not a lot of survivors have this ability, because a lot of them don’t have access to their money. But I’ve been bartending for 13 years and every $5 bill I get I put in a drawer. And so, at the end of the year, I have a ton of money saved up that I forgot about or didn’t touch, and it ends up paying for a vacation.
Rob: No, I love that idea. And it’s somehow creating some mental accounting for the thing, like you said, this $5 bill, they’re going in the drawer, my daughter used to love Hamilton or still does love Hamilton. And for the first time she ever had a $10 bill on her hand, she’s like, I am never spending that. And so, on some level, that’s a different one, when people have access to the money is finding some tricks to say that money, I’m not going to touch that money, I’m not going to touch and then it’s there. And so that’s a different situation for you, or in that case for my daughter. And for somebody who really doesn’t have any access at all. But it is finding those little ways, and what we see so often is that it’s the really small changes at the beginning, can have really big impacts. And that impact may not be for a month or two or in some cases a year or two.
But it’s the person that we become by making those small changes. And so, for the group that we’re talking to today, I would imagine that so much of it is gaining a little bit of confidence that slowly, again, I don’t know all the dynamic particularly well. But that feeling that I, “Hey, I can’t hold down a job and should be allowed to do that I can have my own money. And there’s nobody that can take that away from me. I can maintain family relationships, and social relationships,” that have all been whittled down from what I understand so often and in abusive relationships, the freedom really starts with having that seed of independence. And that comes from having something in somewhere where people can be confident. And one of the great things about money as much as it can be a pain in the neck all the time. And there’s never enough of it. And some people seem to have lots and lots and lots of it and don’t good, do good things with it. But one of the things about money is it’s very tangible and very countable. And so, while we might want to become a better person in some way, or might want to exhibit time, and independence and freedom in some way, that’s a little bit harder to measure. Even there, you can come up with metrics but money like if it’s 50 cents here, $3 there and $8 there, we can go and count it and we can even say this, it was on this many days, I was able to put the money away. And it lets us as people start to feel like we’re making some progress in a very tangible and very measurable way.
Marissa: I love that I think you’re totally right on being able to be financially independent, even in a very small way, saving little by little but knowing that it’s growing, it really does build confidence. That’s a really good point. The cost to leave an abuser, let’s just say you’re starting from nothing. And you might not know the answer to this question, but what would you think would be a good goal for them as a financial planner to be able to effectively leave?
Rob: No, and so often we look at what is that goal, what’s it going to take in every city is going to be different. I’m in Colorado, where an apartment probably for two, or three or four people is going to be, gee keeps going up, it’s going to be $1,000 a month to $1,800 a month. Whereas 10 or 15 years ago, you could probably move to someplace for $600 a month, it just gets a little bit harder to do that. So, as you know, a lot of apartment places you need to have first month and last month rent, that’s probably not the right way to think about it, because there’s also a lot of other places that are out there that tend to be on by individuals that tend to be smaller apartment buildings, one or two-family type houses that have been divided up into a couple of different apartments. And you’re just looking for something to get by for the first period of time. And so really, I’d want somebody to have one, two, probably three months of rent, there’s some other strategies, and we’re going to get to about that. But that’s probably, you know, in an ideal world, somebody could have two or three months of rent ready to go, and then enough money to put food on the table for the family. And then enough money for utilities, we’re just trying to build a life quickly, and get out quickly and find a place to go. So, you’re looking at few $1,000 probably get somebody out in almost city in almost any city in the country. But there’s a lot of other strategies people can put in place that don’t require as much money. And these are, again, confidence building exercises that somebody could start with, that aren’t specifically financial in, in Colorado Springs where I live. And I know pretty much in every community of a decent size around the country. There are lots of nonprofits that serve people who have abusive relationships. There are lots of organizations that serve people that are homeless. And I would say for the most part that a single parent who is homeless with children can probably find an organization that’s going to get them housing and even pay for that housing, often for 90 days into one of the other things that somebody could do, if they have any access to the internet, obviously, you’re going to want to hide browser histories from somebody, but in your community, take a look go to the homeless organizations online. Very often they are having a specific program for families who are on the streets, or who might be on the streets, and they can use them. Every community has a women’s not even just women only but an organization that serves people who are abused. And I know again, there, it’s very hard for people to make that first call and get there. But these organizations are so good about coaching people on how to be more confident, what steps to take how to get out of a place. And they often have housing for a period of time as well. So those aren’t long term solutions, but it’s making that initial contact with the outside world can be so fruitful and can reduce the amount of money that somebody actually needs.
Marissa: You mentioned that you learned a couple strategies. Would you mind sharing?
Rob: Yeah, so one of them was, you know, just starting to save a little bit of money at a time. So, some of these strategies really are about the people we become as we start to change and look for something else. So how do you reduce your financial need to get in touch with nonprofits, there are usually friends or family that people have lost contact with through abusive relationships that I know of personally, that happens. And it’s very hard for people to pick up the phone and make that call to somebody to say, “Hey, I’m in trouble, or I need help,” or, “here’s what I need,” and it may be that they don’t have anybody, most people have somebody they can go to. And there again, somebody may have an extra room in their house for a couple of weeks or a month, where somebody can get out pretty quickly and reduce the financial need that’s going to get them there. You mentioned very early that people are often controlled to where they aren’t even allowed to work. And so, one of the other bright spots in our world today is that there’s a very, very low unemployment rate. And so, there’s a lot of people who think they can’t get a job, that they don’t have any skills, they haven’t worked for six months, a year, two years. But the reality is when I walk around, there are for hire signs just about everywhere. And it may not be the ideal job, but it’s usually enough for somebody to get moving and get started. So, a lot of the strategies are less about specific financial side, we’ll come back to the financial a little bit and more on what opportunities are there. And can somebody start to feel a bit confident about what they’re going to do. There’s another strategy on the financial side that I do want to talk about. And this is for people that would be working, if they’re working in a place where there’s a retirement account, and they can put money into that retirement account that starts to money that is outside the control of anybody else. Now if they’re in abusive relationship and somebody is monitoring every transaction in every paycheck that’s going to be found pretty quickly. A lot of companies match these days. Somebody could be saving into a retirement account and depending on whether they’re going to change jobs or not, if they leave that company, they may have access to money into we’ve worked with people who were just out of one of the companies that work with had a lot of people were actually just out of jail. And none of those people had ever saved any money before. In some of those people, after they’d worked in that company for years, started putting money in. And several of them made the comment, this was the first time I’ve ever had money in my life. They didn’t have a lot of money but it was the first time they had money on the sidelines that they couldn’t touch while they were working there. And some of them had moved on to another job, but or we’re going to lose their apartment, and needed access to the $500 or $1,000 that they had saved, to be able to live until they were able to use a retirement account as a way to escape whatever else has happened for them. It’s not the world’s best strategy. But again, it’s another place of just trying to find out, where is it that I can put some money together. And so sometimes you can use a 401k at work. And there may even be a match maybe free money from the employer on that, to start to stash some money away, that might be able to use be used in the right circumstances to buy a period of time of freedom.
Marissa: Do you know of any accounts outside of 401k’s that are like that. So high interest, like I know money market accounts sometimes have higher interest and banks like Capital One 360 and Ally Bank that don’t actually have any brick or mortar banks have higher interest rates. But do you know of any accounts or anything like that any banks that would be good to use to stash money away little by little with higher interest rates?
Rob: Yeah, you know, when somebody is just getting started, or just trying to put some funds together. For the first few months of living, or even the first year of living, in the basics of financial planning, we like to have people have what are called emergency funds. So, if something wrong happens, there’s money there. For somebody in the situation, who’s just trying to get out and establish themselves with whatever kind of living situation, put food on the table and pay their basic utilities and gas bills, interest rate doesn’t matter at all. So, it’s nice to get a little bit of interest and if you put money into a bank, and you put it into a checking account, usually those checking accounts don’t pay you any interest. But if you put it into a savings account, or like you said, if you can find a high yield savings account, whatever money you having in that account might earn half a percent or 1%. And so, your money just sitting there is earning a little bit of extra money for you. And it’s a great thing to have. Don’t ever discount that interest being paid is just extra money for you down the road. But it’s really secondary, the purpose of having those emergency funds in place at all. The purpose, there is easy access to money. And whether it’s paying you a quarter of a percent, half a percent or 1%, the bigger piece of it is, can I access it today when I need it. And so sometimes when you get into higher interest accounts, they may have a little bit of restrictions on it. But even if they don’t, it’s not so important whether you earn a little bit more a little bit less on your emergency funds. The most important thing is I can go to the ATM or to the bank or write a check and that money is there immediately. And so, while it’s good to get those, it’s not something I get too caught up in because again, I just want instant access when I need it. And that’s you know, getting into the situation of financial abuse is one of the nice things today is somebody can go online, they can open up an account online, they can, if they can figure out how to get money there, which is sometimes the problem would be online systems and things, they can get all their statements delivered electronically. Or they can often in some cases, even turn them off, or set up a phantom email address to get it. So, there are ways to not have quite the same degree of paper trail that are out there, and so that’s not a bad way to go for somebody who’s just building these up and needs to keep a degree of secrecy around it. Obviously, in a better relationship, everybody knows where you know, who’s got what and how it’s all working. But because of the ability to do everything online today, it’s not a bad way to go and even there’s some app-based accounts now that, again, depending on the situation, some of them I believe, round up. So, if you’re paying with a debit or credit card, and you pay $3.95 or something for five cents can go into a savings account. And if you pay $2.10, the 90 cents would go into a savings account. And I know somebody who is using one of those services, who ended up saving far more than she expected. Not enough to, you know, take a trip anywhere or anything big like that. But she was surprised at how quickly just rounding up actually added up for her. And that’s how she built a little bit more actually than her emergency fund.
Marissa: That’s a really good idea too, because then it’s not like you said there’s no paper trail, and it’s automatic. So, it’s not like you have to hide the change. It’s off a debit card.
Rob: And it may I don’t know how it would show up on the debit card statement, if somebody is really looking at it, you know that, hey, 45 cents once to XYZ app company, but somebody could explore that a little bit more and let you in, let me know, I’d be interested to hear. Yeah. So where can you squirrel away money. And cash is still the best way to do that. getting access to, like I said, trying to find other ways to save money, whether like an online bank account, one of these apps, money into a retirement account at work. Those are kind of three different ways I think that people might be able to think about, how do I start to put some money aside that I can just get to when I need it, for one case, can’t always get to when you need, it’s not the best strategy, but it can work in certain circumstances.
Marissa: But 401K’s are great if the person is working or able to hold a job, as per their narcissist, like you said, because you’re surviving without that money anyways, it’s like it doesn’t exist. And then one day, you get a letter in the mail saying that you have X amount of money saved up that you can move to an IRA or something if you needed to.
Rob: If you leave the employer, you can actually access into that, again, looking at a strategy, how do you get out? How do you build up a nest egg that if you need a couple of months of living expenses, you might be able to access it, the 401k could do that for certain people? And so that’s an option. It’s much better as a long-term strategy. But I’m just looking at ways ahead of you get money side-cared outside of the household where the abuser lives that maybe they don’t even know about. And so that’s one, I’m banks, or bricks and mortar banks, again, because you can actually walk in and make deposits. And even now you can turn off all the statements, and they can all be delivered electronically, I think from probably every bank, I think actually could prefer it. So those are just a couple of different ways where you could put money. The other piece competes have financial conversations with somebody who’s trying to control you.
Unfortunately, there’s probably no way to have that as a Healthy Working conversation. But if somebody has not yet been had all of their power, and all of their access, and all of their ability to have a say, taken away, and somebody starts to see that happening, a real clear way to find out whether this is healthy or not is to start to say, “Hey, we need to have a regular meeting about money.” And so, for somebody who’s kind of going in that direction, where things aren’t working, and start to say to their partner, let’s have more clear-cut goals and conversations around money. And if that answer is, “No, I do all of this and you can’t do it, you shouldn’t do it, you’re not capable of doing it.” It’s just such a huge red flag in any relationship, that something isn’t right. And so hopefully, if people use that, on the earlier side, they may recognize, oh, I’ve got to take some different steps here, I’d be there got to continue to advocate for that. I’ve got to get into a therapeutic relationship for me, and maybe this relationship as a whole or maybe, hey, this is just not going to work And I’m lucky I found out. Now, before this case got worse over time. And again, a lot of relationships don’t do a good job of talking about money. But if you’re in one, and you’re not sure if it’s in his relationship or not and you start to say let’s talk about money, and I want to be involved in it. And you get shut down really, really quickly, and then also denigrated along the way, that’s just such a clear sign and take it as a clear sign that something is not right. And you don’t have to put up with it.
Marissa: That’s awesome advice. And very true. There is a whole cycle of abuse, and I’m sure you’re aware of but it starts off in the honeymoon phase and then travels to the tension building phase where you’re walking on eggshells, and the survivor doesn’t know what they can or can’t say to piss off the narcissist and then an explosion happens. And once the explosion happens, that’s when the cycle restarts and it keeps restarting. And I know I have a whole other podcast episode about the cycle of abuse and all that it entails. But once you start to see red flags, I think this goes back to confidence, like you were saying as well as you have to trust your instincts, you know, look for the yellow flags and the red flags and trust them. And if it doesn’t feel right, then leave. If it doesn’t feel right, then then take that as a clear sign.
Rob: Yeah, and if you don’t have access to money to live your life, to me, that’s a huge clear sign as well. It’s just it’s a fundamental way of how we all work in society that people can if they can afford it, want to go buy a cup of coffee, whether it’s at the local deli or you know a $5 Frappuccino someplace depending on what they can afford, and they’re taken to task for it and brought down in the in a not a positive way. And the conversation isn’t, “Hey, we’re trying to budget and that was outside of our budget. What can we do to fix this?” and it’s all negative, negative, negative? Yeah, it’s a huge issue in any relationship, and one that bears having significant conversations about whether it’s really yourself or finding a therapist or a family member and saying how am I going to get this to change and if it doesn’t change, probably not a relationship that’s ever going to work. And again, little bits of confidence, putting a little bit of money away, frankly, having the confidence and I know, it’s very difficult to say, I’d like to be involved in the conversation, because you’re going to find out with that simple question, whether you’re going to get a positive response, you’re going to get that fair to middling responses could be a person that doesn’t matter, you’re going to get a really negative response. And so, the conversation around money, that behavior around money is very, very telling. And whether or not a relationship has a chance to really go anywhere or not. Now it can be fixed in a healthy relationship, and it just can’t be in a toxic relationship. Again, one of the things about money is it’s very tangible. It’s very obvious what’s happening with it, and so it can be used as a benchmark for the bigger relationship that might not be functioning well, like you talked about in the cycle before to the honeymoon phase, you’re going to find out pretty quickly in the with the money part are you in the honeymoon phase is it all being taken away. And as opposed to, hey, let’s go out to dinner, you know, and other things that might be more fulfilling and satisfying emotionally. Again, the money’s a little bit of a dry part. But it’s a huge area that you can gauge what’s happening.
Marissa: You mentioned at the beginning, and so I don’t want to get off of people who are still in abusive relationships and move to people who have left and find that they’re struggling a little bit. A lot of the tips and tricks that you mentioned before where you know, the roundups in your bank account and saving the extra change in like a piggy bank or something and just watching that money grow and grow and grow, that would be really effective for people who have already left as a means of saving money. Because chances are, if you left an abusive relationship, where there was a lot of financial abuse, you’re starting from ground zero, do you have any other ideas for people like that in those situations that can help them outside of the ones that we’ve mentioned already?
Rob: One of the things when people are just starting out, and for somebody who’s gotten out of the relationship, they’re now standing up on their own. Hopefully, they’re talking to everybody to know what resources are available, whether that’s section eight housing, or food stamps, or whatever it’s called in your community just to cut the expense side of it a little bit. And then like I said, it’s in today’s environment, it’s not always easy to find work that can support a full household, but it’s usually fairly simple to find some work. And then so one of the things people have to do is, again, change that mindset to say, “How am I going to start to put little bits away?” and it’s that round up. When my kids were younger, we had a big jug. And anytime we had some extra change, it all went in there and went into a place where we could see it, because it was that same piece of how do we make money tangible? And how do we know we’re putting some away. So, whether you do it that way, a little bit into a bank account, probably one of these apps is even better than a bank account, because banks tend to charge a decent amount to people who don’t have enough to keep in there right away. So those really don’t change, it just becomes even more important than somebody that on their own, to build emergency funds. So that if a job is lost, or there’s a health issue that comes up, there’s some money there and credit cards aren’t being used, and debt isn’t there, and they don’t have to go back to somebody else and ask for money. And so, money again becomes a symbol of when I start to have it in the bank, I’m starting to gain some independence. What we see also, and not everybody budgets, because budgeting is just people don’t ever seem to like it, is every time you get paid, taking a little bit of it, and putting it someplace is a huge piece. So not just rounding up from change and not just throwing pennies into a big jug. Thinking out of every paycheck I get, I’m going to put 1% or 5% or $25 or $50 into the bank at the beginning and then into long term savings afterwards, is how people start to be able to step up a little bit.
We also see that people are carrying lots of debt, until I would I’ve come to understand sometimes an abusive relationship to that the debt is all carried by the person who’s being abused. And so, they’re even if they do move out, they may have car payments that are on cars they don’t even actually own or don’t have access to. And so somewhere along the way, and this is not a first couple of months issue, but it’s a first year or two issue is just listing out everybody and every organization that you owe money to and how much it is every month and starting to focus on what’s most important or not. And in some cases, it makes sense to not pay debt, and pay utility bills and housing bills and food first. So, sometimes we see people that are really struggling with debt, and they’re just never going to make it and they’re going to have to lose that car or if they own a condo or a house, they’re going to have to lose that condo or house because they won’t be able to feed their family otherwise. And we see a lot of times with debt collectors, or I’ve heard many, many times they’re very vocal on the phone. And I’ve even talked to people that said I’m paying my car payment of $400 a month that I can’t really afford. And I’m not, you know, I’m not turning the lights on in my house except for at night for an hour or something, because I can’t pay my utility bill either, once. So, in that, in those cases, sometimes people have to really look at what are their fundamental core expenses to live as independently as possible, may not be a great style of living. That is what has to be paid first, food, utilities and place to live, and probably health insurance. The lender on your car probably doesn’t need to be paid before you go to the grocery store. And so, people sometimes have to shift their priorities, because they’re, they’re responding to a loud person on the phone is saying they have to make a $250 payment. Instead of realizing no, they actually need $150 of that to feed their kids. And so again, a lot of is just a mindset mind set shift that people have a hard time making, and understandably so. So, when they realize take care of food, utilities, and house first, put a little bit of money on the side. Next, all that other stuff is noise, and it’s going to work itself out one way or the other.
Marissa: That’s so true. And I just have two pieces that I want to snowball off of what you just said, because I think that what you just said is super important. First and foremost, when you said that you can take a percentage or a financial number, and kind of skim it off of the top of your weekly or bi-weekly or daily paycheck, you can actually set up bank accounts that will auto do that, like it’ll auto deposit $25 of your deposit into a separate account. So, I do that actually, all the time, where x amount, or I did when I had my full-time job at the army, I think I did 10% or 15% of every paycheck would go into a bank account and Ally Bank that I just kind of forgot about and I didn’t have to think about it. So, when I’d look at my bank statement, that money was already gone And I forgot about it. And it didn’t exist in my budget. So that money was just being saved. And I’d have to budget around that money not being there.
Rob: Yeah, that a lot of people call that pay yourself first, take some money, like said right off the top that goes somewhere else, you can’t touch it. And then you don’t plan on it every month for your spending, and you’ve just saved some money, it’s great way to go and if you can automate it even better.
Marissa: I know a lot of banks do. I don’t know about every bank or anything. But that was a good point. So, thank you for bringing that up. And the second thing was, I love that you said the loud people on the phone, because I hate when they call because they are, they’re loud, and they yell at you and they make you feel bad. A lot of the time, you can tell them, “Listen, I’ve had a change of finances, and I can’t afford this payment, is there any way we can reduce the payment or is there any way that you can give me like a 60 day on hold or something, hold for 60 days or something,” and they’ll call you back in 60 days, and then you can start paying again. But it gives you an opportunity to gather money, it gives you an opportunity to, like you said before prioritize, and it gives people an opportunity to not have to stress about so many things at once. Because I mean, you’re totally right. A lot of the time the debt does follow the survivor because it’s a mechanism of control from the abuser.
Rob: Yeah, and you’re stuck with it. And those people are just going to have to wait, you know, and that goes back to that confidence, little pieces at a time competence just doesn’t come overnight. But one of the things people can remember is, if you can’t pay something, you can just tell them you can’t pay it, and that you don’t intend to pay it as well. And by the way, you don’t want to be harassed over the phone. And so, it’s just another way where we get to exhibit some self-determination and control, we may have to pay that debt at some point. And we may actually have voted. And so, I’m not saying if you can pay it just turn away from it. But it’s this sort of looking for strategies and then also telling people who are not being kind to, you know, take a walk is always feels good to me. So, again, nothing financial about that one. But it is another financial strategy where it’s Take care of yourself and the most important parts of yourself first. And then you can start to work on those things that are really around the edges from a survival point of view.
Marissa: That’s a good way to build your confidence tell the telemarketers and the people that are that are hounding you for money to piss off.
Rob: You don’t know them. I mean, they may be very nice people but you don’t know they don’t know you they’re making judgments about you, you can make a couple of judgments back so.
Marissa: It’s a good plan. I think next time I get a phone call like that I’m just going to take a long walk off a short pier.
Rob: And I always try to be kind too, but sometimes you get people that you know, they’re just never going to be nice and it might be the same person and sometimes you you’ve got to bring up your attitude level to match theirs unfortunately, but…
Marissa: Standing up for yourself is a big leap forward in healing from emotional abuse.
Rob: So, you know, I just don’t think there’s any when I think about it, like how you get started on savings and building some Financial Peace there’s no like super-secret way of doing it. That’s complicated that the regular people don’t know about that’s not it all comes down to very, very simple to talk about sometimes hard to do behaviors. And it is that little bit at a time, build the confidence. And then it just starts to bloom over time. And so, you know, as you’re thinking about it, and people listening or thinking about it, you don’t have to make it any more complicated than taking $25 out of every paycheck, or 5% out of every paycheck, or all of your change shows, or three, just simple to think about ways to do it. And you’ll see it happening as you do it. And it’s just exciting to watch when it happens.
Marissa: There are times where I forget that I automatically put money in an account. And I’ll open that app and be like, Oh, my God, I have $500. Where did that come from? And it’s in the grand scheme of life, It’s not that much, but it’s like a happy surprise for me.
Rob: Yeah. And then as you get further along, that either those will grow, or you’ll say, Oh, I can use that $500 now to do something that I want to do, and not have to have, you know, don’t have enough emergency funds in other places. And so, yeah, just it really ends up being a great thing, if you can just do a little bit at a time.
Marissa: The last thing I want to get back to in the very beginning, you said, a lot of people don’t believe that they will have or deserve to have money. What do you tell those people when they say that?
Rob: Yeah, and it’s interesting, because I don’t always know where it’s coming from, when that comment gets made. I think there’s, again, a couple of things people can do about it.
One is, look around the people who you hang out with. And very often the conversation among those people is, I don’t have anything, I’m never going to have anything. You know, the little guy can’t get ahead in today’s world. And people tend to hang out with people that have that same conversation who don’t ever get anywhere, And because it’s a self-fulfilling piece. So, part of it is where’s all that messaging coming from? Is it coming from family, when you grew up? Is it coming from the people that you hang out with? Those are the two biggies. And if you can just recognize that those messages are coming from everybody around me, and I don’t have to put up with it anymore. Again, we’re talking mind shift here, or attitude shift to saying, I’m not going to do that. I want to live a better life than that. And I’m going to make some changes starting this week, this month, and next month to get there. That is always the starting point for how people go from that never have any money to I’m building money, reserves, wealth, retirement, whatever they want to call it. And so, the messages that are around you every day, that’s a big piece of it. The other piece of it is we live in a world where we are messaged all the time on ways to spend our money. And so, like I always want the new phone or I want the new plan or the new shoes or I want to eat it Applebee’s instead of eating at home. And so, people make lots and lots of decisions that they don’t really think too much about, because they’ve been pulled in some direction or other. Jia has to have this to be happy, or I don’t want to do this. So, I’m going to just spend money to make it happen. And I see that I can eat at home, I can eat healthier at home, and far less money than by eating out. And so again, depending where somebody is and their process of putting some money together, there are many ways that we spend money that we really don’t have to. And so, we’re again, for somebody starting out who’s not got enough necessarily to do a lot of extra, that’s a little bit harder to do. But as it starts to be a little bit more, what people tend to do is they make more, they spend more, and they’re still in that exact same spot, no emergency funds, no money going into retirement account. So, for somebody who’s getting out of an abusive relationship and may have gotten into their first job, and maybe now has like, you know, just enough to make things happen. It’s bare bones and whatever you have to do, you have to but then six months from now a year from now you get a raise, or you move to a different place, and you get a little bit more money. When most of the time happens, people just spend that money. And what they don’t say is I can spend a little bit of that money but more of that needs to go to savings more that needs to go to pay off debt, or some of that needs to go to retirement accounts. And so, it’s those critical decisions, and people are just starting to move from that bare bones to that next level that really will make the difference over the next 5-10 -20 years.
Marissa: That’s awesome. Thank you so much for all that. Is there anything else you want to talk about any programs or anything that you’re working on that you want to shout out?
Rob: So, I’m a you know, a financial planner, and part of my specialty is families who’ve got a member with down syndrome or autism or some kind of intellectual developmental disabilities, although really, I work with all kinds of people around the country. And if people want to find out more about me, they can go to RobWrubel.com, and just kind of see what we’re about, if it’s a good fit. Like I said, I’m so excited that you decided to have me on and had lots of conversations and thinking through, see when somebody is really just getting started and how do they get out of the relationship and have a get some control and power back. I just realize it’s such an important topic, not just for people who are in abusive relationships, but really for just about everybody. Because those very, very basic behaviors don’t change. Now, somebody’s ability to own it and feel good about it, are obviously different. And, and so I just really want to say thank you for the work that you’re doing, and encouraging people to get out there and have happy and more positive on the financial side lives and just, you know, blossom as people. It’s unfortunate that so many people have the need, but it’s exciting that you’re out there helping them.
Marissa: I really appreciate that. Thank you. And if we collectively help one person get out and not go back, I think the percentage right now is 80% of people that leave abusive relationships go back, and a large percentage of that is financially based, then I think that we’ve succeeded, you know, and thank you for everything that you’ve shared. You’ve given a lot of awesome tips to save money, you’re just such a good person and I encourage anyone who’s interested in financial planning or finding out more information to reach out to rob. He is friendly and fun and he’s a wealth of knowledge. You can find his book Financial Freedom for Special Needs Families is available on Amazon, as well as his website, www.RobWrubel.com and feel free to reach out to him with any financial based questions. I’m sure he’d be happy to work with you and answer them for you.
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