Are clashing couples overplaying the ‘financial gaslighting’ card?

“If this was financial gaslighting, we wouldn’t have received the information,” she said. “If I had gone down this financial gaslighting trail with her, it would have been very hard for them to come to a settlement. I don’t think I would have been helping the situation.”

Julie Shipley-Strickland, senior wealth advisor at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth (above, right), says financial responsibilities in households have traditionally been divided so that men are in charge of investing, while balancing the budget and making sure everything’s accounted for has been a role for women. That siloing of duties, she says, could play into a situation where one partner accuses the other of gaslighting.

“In my meetings with clients, I sometimes see instances where one partner questions the other’s ability to deal with the family’s finances,” adds the Principal and founder of Julie Shipley-Strickland Wealth & Risk Management. “I don’t think it gets to the level of gaslighting, but there are situations where the woman really defers to the man to fill in gaps in her memory.”  

Simple miscalculations and financial disorganization can also set off false alarms. According to McCullough, a teacher who makes $100,000 a year might conclude, after some quick-and-dirty division, that they have about $10,000 of spending money a month. But the reality is that after deducting income tax and contributions to pension and benefit plans they may be part of, their take-home pay may actually be closer to $5,800 to $6,200 a month, leaving a huge opening for misunderstandings down the road.

“Eighty per cent of my work in a year is talking to people about how much money came in, how much money went out, and where did it go?” McCullough says. “It’s easy to blame the other person or say ‘maybe they could change instead of me.’

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button