Domestic Violence Victim Shares 3 Most Important Money Lessons

When I first interviewed the domestic violence victim, we’ll call ‘Jane,’ last January, it was clear to see the impact that such brutality had on her financial behaviors and beliefs.

In addition, the fact that financial abuse–which The Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin, Madison defines as controlling a person’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain economic resources–is prevalent in so many cases of domestic violence, makes financial security seem like a distant hope for those who find themselves in abusive situations.

“There are many obstacles that are not in our control that negatively affect our finances, which is why it is crucial that you do everything within your power to learn good money management skills,” says Jane.

Jane’s experiences have given her many unique insights about money. She agreed to share them with for our series, The 3 Most Important Lessons You’ve Learned about Money.  What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned about money?

  1. Good credit is everything in our world.
  2. Always have a budget and practice being content to stay within your budget.
  3. Paying bills late can ruin your credit rating.  How did you learn these lessons?

Having good credit, budgeting, and paying bills on time was initially modeled to me by my mother and father. They consistently practiced living within their means and seemed unimpressed with spending money to keep up with everyone else. I remember having the confidence and pride that Dad walked tall with a good reputation of paying his bills on time and using his limited funds wisely. How did the abuse impact your ability to live out those values?

Even though I was fortunate that my parents started me [off] with a healthy foundation, life happened. An abusive marriage, divorce, and raising four children as a single mother did not do good things to my finances. I have a master’s degree and I am qualified for good jobs, but my credit rating has been an obstacle in getting employment. My credit rating has prevented me from getting an apartment, much less a house.

Learn what you can do to support your financial health. Through the years, I continued to practice the money skills I knew, and learned all that I could by reading and attending many free money management programs, classes, and workshops. The Moving Ahead curriculum at is the program that I found to be the most helpful, informative, easy to follow, and accessible. The curriculum is online and provides a good overview, which allows you to regularly go back for refreshers that help you stay on track for continued financial health and growth through life’s ups and downs.