I grew up in a family where my father managed all of the money.
But for some reason, when I was eight or nine years old,
he started showing me things about money.
We would sit at the kitchen table, and he'd show me all the bank books.
Now, that was back in the day before the internet,
when we used to have little books that we used to keep our information in.
And he would show me how he saved in these accounts,
and he'd pay bills out of these.
And every time he would show me something about money,
he would end by saying, "And don't you tell your mother."
Now, to this day, I really don't know why he said that,
but what I do know is,
to that eight-year-old girl sitting at the kitchen table,
it meant, "Don't say a word."
Years later, when I got my first job, my father said,
"You'll bring me your check, and I'll put it in the bank for you."
But because of what he taught me years before, I said,
"I'd like my bank book."
And to my surprise, he gave it to me.
Right then, at 16 years old,
I began managing my own money.
I went on to college and then to start my new career as a CPA,
but now, with students loans, getting an apartment and a new job,
I began the roller-coaster ride of accumulating debt, paying it off
and accumulating more.
Many years later, after getting married, I went through an unexpected divorce,
and I was left with a house I couldn't afford
and bills I couldn't pay.
You might be wondering,
"How does that happen to someone
that's educated and skilled at managing people's money?"
I had reverted back to what I learned growing up:
that one person managed all the money.
I had handed over my financial power,
and I had become financially dependent.
Financial dependency is when someone is dependent on a person,
a job or a situation for money,
and they feel trapped.
People fall into two categories:
dependent with choice and dependent without a choice.
Someone is dependent with choice when they hand over their financial power
and their participation.
It can happen in personal or business relationships
when one person doesn't want to be involved with the money,
so they hand over the responsibility to a spouse, a partner or a professional,
like an accountant or a manager.
This was my situation.
I spent all day long managing other people's money,
so I was relieved
that my husband was interested and good at managing ours.
For the first time since that first job at 16 years old,
自从 16 岁的第一份工作以来，
I didn't have to be responsible for managing my money.
But what I failed to realize was what felt like freedom
was really dependency.
My mistake is that I didn't stay involved
or understand what was going on with our money.
You may have experienced this yourself,
or you may have heard stories of celebrities or professional athletes
that have relied on family, friends and others to manage their money,
and they are left broke, bankrupt and betrayed
because they made the choice to hand over their financial power.
Someone that's dependent without a choice feels trapped
because of their financial situation.
They can be in a job or career where they're unhappy or being harassed
but they can't afford to leave.
Or, someone that's had to move in with family and friends
because they've had an illness
or gone through a divorce or experienced a tragedy,
and now they're financially dependent on others.
And how many of us know someone that has an elderly parent or a relative
that can no longer take care of themselves,
and they're left to rely on others,
sometimes handing over their homes, their money and other assets.
Another type of dependency without a choice is financial abuse.
Financial abuse is a pattern of abusive behavior
used to control and intimidate a partner.
Victims are in a relationship, and the other person has power over them,
because they don't have access to money, information
or the resources and support they need to leave.
The Allstate Foundation has a program called the Purple Purse
好事达基金会（Allstate Foundation） 有一个名为“紫色钱包”的项目，
that helps victims of domestic violence
through financial empowerment.
They report that 99 percent --
in 99 out of one hundred domestic violence cases --
在 99% 的家庭暴力案件中，
financial abuse helps keep victims trapped in their relationship.
The Purple Purse has coined financial abuse "the invisible weapon,"
because visible abuse leaves bruises and scars
but financial abuse doesn't.
Financial abuse and financial dependency leave emotional scars that you can't see.
They include hopelessness, guilt, shame, depression,
lack of confidence and self-esteem.
Financial dependency is also invisible, because no one's talking about it.
Because no one wants to show their emotional scars,
and because we're taught in our homes, on our jobs and in our community
not to talk about money.
So many people that I talk to about this issue,
they can relate and they have a story,
but they're not telling anyone their story.
When I was told at the kitchen table, "Don't you tell,"
I never told anyone.
It's even hard for me right now to break that rule that I learned so long ago.
So, what can I do? What can you do?
What can we all do to disarm this invisible weapon?
We can solve three problems.
The first problem is lack of awareness,
because knowing about money and having money
aren't always the solution.
In my situation, I was educated and experienced in managing money,
but that didn't stop me from becoming financially dependent.
Because of the beliefs and experiences I had growing up:
one person manages all the money.
After my divorce, I had to rebuild my life financially and emotionally.
So I took every self-development course
and I read every self-help book I could find.
And that's when I began to understand the dynamics of the family I grew up in
and how they played a role in me handing over my financial power.
When you become aware of your inner bruises and scars,
you can begin to break free from financial dependency.
The next problem is lack of information about financial literacy.
Financial literacy is having the skills and the knowledge
to make informed decisions about your money.
It includes topics like savings and investing,
budgeting and debt.
In 2018, only 17 states required financial literacy
在 2018 年，美国只有 17 个州 要求在高中课程中
in high school curriculums.
This corresponds with recent studies that show that 66 percent of Americans
这与最近的研究相符， 该研究表明 66% 的美国人
are financially illiterate.
If you are in a financial dependency situation,
start by looking and going through your finances,
making decisions, participate in making decisions about your money.
If you are in a financial abuse situation,
get access to your information.
Look for financial documents like bank credit card statements,
social security information and account pass codes.
The last problem is lack of giving and getting support.
Many people don't know that there are free resources
online and in your local community
to help you learn and establish healthy money habits.
There are also free resources if you are a victim of financial abuse,
like the Purple Purse.
Giving support includes listening to others that are financially dependent
without judgment or criticism.
It also involves sharing your story,
because when you share your story, you empower others,
and you give them the permission
to rewrite their own.
It's my hope that by sharing my story,
more people will learn about financial dependency,
will share their own stories
and will connect with others to shed a light on this hidden issue
so that we can all have financial freedom.