• Fottell - My husband is either giving $300,000 to a religious cult

    From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Sun Feb 4 06:37:28 2018
    My husband is either giving $300,000 to a religious cult, being
    blackmailed — or plotting a divorce
    Published: June 11, 2017 11:01 a.m. ET

    These donations will go towards special ceremonies for his ancestral spirits



    Dear Moneyologist,

    I have been married for 24 years and have four children, two who have
    finished college and two that will soon start college. I have stayed at
    home to raise the children while my husband has been a successful career
    man. He has said for many years that his income is enough for us to have
    a comfortable life and retirement. He said I should stay home and
    concentrate on raising the kids and managing the household since he
    travels for business. He does not like doing chores, shuttling kids to activities, shopping for groceries, etc. We live in California.

    Around our 20-year mark of marriage, he started donating money to a
    church overseas that he has never attended or visited, nor does he
    personally know those who run it. He has donated several hundred
    thousand dollars, more than $300,000, by wire transfer, all of which
    have been borrowed. It has not stopped, no matter how much I express
    concern and disapproval for all the debts incurred. He does not share my concern for how we will pay the remaining eight years of our mortgage,
    college (there is no college fund for our two boys) and other bills in
    the coming years, and says I worry too much about money.

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    I am now the third wheel in my marriage and finances, as his religious
    leader dictates how much money he needs to donate as well as other
    things. He now says the money he earns is his to do as he pleases and I
    should not protest his donations nor worry about his loans for
    donations. I have no access to “our money” at the advice of the
    religious leader. I have no means at this time of earning a high income.

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    I believe both partners in a marriage should have equal say in the
    finances and other major life decisions, no matter their earnings. He
    used to think so too. He is out of touch with how much money there is
    compared to future expenses. He is 62 and healthy, but thinks he will
    have a job in his industry forever, which pays about $175,000 per year.
    I have lost trust that our financial future will be secure and am
    dismayed to have no say in my marriage. I don’t want to break up my
    family but the relationship feels lost.

    It is a temple [named withheld] I believe it to be a scam, but my
    husband does not agree. He says I’m not spiritual and, therefore, cannot understand or appreciate what the donations will do. He has been told
    that the donations will be used to perform special ceremonies for his
    ancestral spirits. He will be blessed because of this and he will make
    his own business. He says his business will earn him $53 million because
    of the special prayers the monk is performing for him. None of the money
    is used for things like food for the poor or shelter for the homeless,
    etc. It all goes to “special ceremonies.”

    Is this blackmail? Is he planning a divorce? Or has he fallen for this
    church? He has never visited the county he is sending the money to, nor
    does he speak the language.

    Concerned wife

    Dear Concerned,

    The Moneyologist has dealt with many cases of people dipping into
    someone else’s account, but rarely has dealt with someone who is giving
    away his or her own money.

    When does life coaching and career advice become religious and spiritual exploitation? It often happens long before you reach six figures in
    donations. I’m only sorry that you are left in such a seemingly
    powerless position. There are many spiritual organizations around the
    world that are only to eager to fill your head with promises of a better
    self, while emptying your pockets at the same time. From Times Square
    fortune tellers to exotic temples in far-off lands (and some other
    religious organizations closer to home). The time for secrets is over.
    You can empower yourself by seeking legal help, financial advice and
    emotional support from friends and family.

    He is either desperately seeking some kind of salvation or running a
    nefarious financial scheme that you are unaware of. Your husband needs
    an intervention. Enlist your children if they are no longer minors. Sit
    down with him and explain how this devotion and financial commitment to
    this foreign temple makes you all feel, and why. Inform the bank of the
    wire transfers and warn the bank that it will be held responsible if it doesn’t take action. Read this document from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on elder abuse and financial institutions. Print it
    out and bring it with you.

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    There are organizations out there that can help you deal with a loved
    one who has been embroiled in a religious cult and groups that can help
    you navigate elder financial abuse. There are 1 million cases of elder
    abuse reported to National Adult Protective Services Association per
    year, which is a small fraction of overall cases. U.S. states are
    currently working on compiling a database of national elder abuse data.
    The National Center on Elder Abuse, a government agency affiliated with
    the U.S. Administration on Aging, reports that elder abuse lags by as
    much as “two decades” behind research into fields of child abuse and domestic violence.

    Of course, there are many alternative scenarios. You can’t do this
    alone. You need a team of people to tackle this. The Moneyologist
    Facebook Group (link below) had a lot of theories and opinions on what
    you should do and why your husband is doing this. Only you know for
    sure. Elise Priester Babcock says, “I say he is either putting his funds
    away for his own rainy day, leaving the wife high and dry.” Another
    member, Anna Noyola, wrote, “The growth, development and success of
    others in your family. Many women and men make the choice today. Be
    strong and do it all for you first.” Gene Sievert suggests contacting
    law enforcement: “This needs to be reported to authorities.”

    He may be depositing this money in an off-shore bank account in lieu of
    a divorce. He may be being blackmailed by someone, Judy Heap, among many others, suggested on our Facebook Group. What could be worse than
    frittering your life savings? There is no recovering from that. Many
    couples do rebuild a relationship after an infidelity (or get divorced
    and build a relationship with someone else instead). With the help of an attorney, ensure that your home is safe. Is your name even on the deeds
    of the house? And you are not in any way liable for debts he might have incurred? (Alas, this is highly likely as you live in California, a
    community property state.)

    You may be able to stop these payments with divorce papers or legal
    separation, and a financial restraining order. Your only solution may be
    to find a way to freeze his assets.

    God’s speed and good luck.

    Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family
    feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send
    them to MarketWatch’s Moneyologist and please include the state where
    you live (no full names will be used).

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    column has been published? If so, click on this link.

    Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyologist private Facebook
    group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues.
    Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills,
    divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants,
    financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own
    thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in
    these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you
    want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyologist columns.

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