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
PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR
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.
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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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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