#1109: “My mom is judgmental about how I spend my money.”

Hi Captain,

Your blog has been really helpful in establishing boundaries with family, but my mum has brought us into conflict and I don’t know how to approach it.

Background: I finished uni with depression and no job prospects, so spent a year living with my parents working occassional cash-in-hand cleaning jobs, which I used for “fun” things. I would give my mum the cash and she would transfer the amount into my bank account, as we had to travel some way to either deposit or withdraw cash. Eventually I got a fulltime job offer which meant I had to retrain under the UK’s Apprenticeship scheme, so I earned around £3/hr until I finished training.

The first month of my apprenticeship I massively overestimated my new income, and overspent, going into my overdraft for the first and last time. I talked to my parents about what had happened. I’ve been consistently in the black ever since. I have no outstanding debt.

This happened three years ago, and I now live on the other side of the country with my partner. He has a good steady income, and we own a home together. I’m currently unemployed, and had been wanting to leave for health reasons, so had been saving for months.

My mum has made me aware that she has been reading my bank statements. Today she sent me an email boasting about a microloans scheme she invested in a few years ago. She referred to my “fun” money as an addiction (full disclosure: I can’t always resist microtransactions, but I set a monthly limit and otherwise live a very quiet life) and said she wants to “pretend it isn’t happening”. She implied that my dad is scared of talking to me about this, while he and I discuss my finances whenever I ring him. In the past she and my sister have made references to my parents bailing me out financially… which has never happened.

I’m hurt and confused for several reasons. My finances aren’t my mother’s business – I am financially independent. While I have been irresponsible in the past, I’ve tried to learn from it and have never put myself or my partner in financial risk. I feel the need to prove to my mother that I AM handling my money like an adult, but I don’t understand why she is involved at this point. I suspect she’s upset about the way her mother and brothers are currently treating her, and is taking it out on me, but I still don’t know how to respond to this.

What do I do?

Not-in-Debt in Norwich

Hi there Not-In-Debt,

There is a simple, rather mechanical solution to this and a conversation to be had.

The solution is: Remove your parents’ access to your bank accounts. Open a new account that they don’t have access to, transfer all your funds into it, and then close the old one. Eureka, no more parental monitoring of your bank statements! Your mom will inevitably have feelings over not being able to monitor your financial activity and you can say “Thanks for the advice and help in the past, this is what works for me now!” or “The last time you went over my bank statements it reminded me that I should probably just handle this on my own without your input” and ignore the rest.

The conversation is some version of:

  • “Hey, I appreciate the financial assistance when I was just starting out, but how I handle my finances now isn’t up for discussion. Let’s retire this topic of conversation, thanks.”
  • “Hi, I appreciate the help when I was just starting out and learning how to handle money, but I’m in good shape now, and if I want financial advice I’ll ask for it.”
  • “Hey Dad, let’s talk about something else, my finances are under control and pretty boring.” 

I would either ignore or call out passive-aggressive attempts to bring in other family members (“Dad is scared to talk to you about this” “Mom and Dad always talk about the time they bailed you out”) – You can say “Well, ‘bailing me out’ isn’t an accurate description of what happened back then, and there’s absolutely no reason for you to harp on it now, Sister, so why do you even bring it up?” When you have this kind of attempt at triangulation going on, another good practice is to ignore hearsay and deal only with what people will say to you directly. And when you DO want financial advice or information in the future, it’s probably best to find a trusted Not Your Family resource

As with any boundary-setting, it might take a few tries to make it stick, and you might have to cut a few conversations short to drive the point home (“I just said this wasn’t up for discussion, why are you still talking about it? Ok, guess it’s time to hang up the call, talk to you soon.”)

I’m glad you’re in good financial shape and have a supportive partner. Good luck finding work you like and taking care of your health.

 

 

91 comments
  1. Andraste said:

    Captain’s advice is great and I just want to echo that you don’t have a problem or anything to be ashamed of. Overdrawing your account when you’re young and new to managing your money is very, very common. Everyone I have talked to about it has done it at one time or another! It’s a super normal mistake that you pay a little penalty for and try not to do again. You’re doing great and your parents are so out of line by continuing to harp on it.

    • Meri said:

      Seriously. I was overdrawn every month as a student, and now my partner and I are accidentally overdrawn about twice a year. We both make £35k+, are putting a reasonable amount into savings, keep a relatively firm eye on living expenses/cook at home a lot, etc. I’m not saying this to compare anything about income/lifestyle but to firmly second that going overdrawn is SO SO SO NORMAL and not in any way related to overall financial competence, situation, anything. SO NORMAL.

      • Ren said:

        As a student I had an interest free overdraft (I dunno why that was standard but thank goodness) that at one point was up to £1,500 because they increased it each year without asking me. I stayed near the maximum of that overdraft for the first decade of my financial independence because once I fell in that hole it was damn hard to get out out, but bank managers presented it as a totally normal thing for students to do and no big deal. Until I aged out and it suddenly wasn’t interest free any more.

        Honestly getting into your overdraft only once is impressive, OP I’m sorry you’re parents (or just your mum?) is still leaning on you with this. But why does she have access to your bank statements?! Does she have your online logins or did you forget to change your address? Call your bank immediately and get everything changed- either to paperless statements with the correct address or get your logins changed and just say ‘huh weird’ if you mum notices. If it’s a joint account find out how to close and move it over to just you.

    • Nanani said:

      Maybe this doesn’t happen everywhere, but I distinctly recall being 20 with a brand new credit card and getting an awful lot of “pay later! (for a much higher interest hidden in the fine print”) offers, that were unwise to take but that’s the point of sending them to 20 year olds on their first steps of financial adulting.

      More broadly applicable is the basic mathematical fact that mistakes are more costly when you have less to work with in the first place.

      • Britpoptart said:

        “More broadly applicable is the basic mathematical fact that mistakes are more costly when you have less to work within the first place.”

        Yup. It is expensive to be poor, especially if being poor and struggling has damaged your credit score. Further, you can’t throw money at problems and get them to go away or hire any helpers to handle them. Being poor is super hard…so, especially in the USA, we make it punitive and difficult to claw your way out of poverty, because that’s totally compassionate and makes 100% sense (/sarcasm).

        • land_planarian said:

          Yup. When I screw up a little now I’m usually still in the black, just because I’m lucky enough to have an income that slightly but consistently exceeds my bills. When I was living on poverty wages, there were times when the math was never going to work out even if I was perfectly careful, and an poorly timed sandwich from a cafe could ruin things for two months. It sounds like you made one mistake one time during a period when you had very little to work with, and your mom has just never let it go.

          (also strongly seconding that you do whatever you can–change the password, remove her access to the account, or get a new private account–to keep your finances private. I did the same for similar reasons and it did wonders for my relationship with my mom)

    • Kaos said:

      I’m not even close to young…”young” is definitely in my rearview mirror. Nevertheless I screwed up recently (only $40.00) from not paying close enough attention. Of course I fixed it immediately, but it just underscores that it happens to everyone because…not perfect.

    • Britpoptart said:

      It even happens now and again when you are a busy adult and forgot you signed up for [thing] that takes $X out of your account auto-magically. Or that you already paid your car note, so maybe don’t pay it twice? Or maybe you just have a shitty month where you get sick and have to go to the doctor, then your pets both get sick, your new Rx is three times the cost, you need a winter coat to keep from staying sick, your car blows a tire…and you just run out of money to handle all that life just threw at you.

      1. Be forgiving of yourself, everyone makes a mistake now and again, and you haven’t in YEARS. Yay, you!
      2. Set up your account, if possible, so that your institution dips into savings if you have an overdraft. This is one way to head off overdraft fees.
      3. Credit unions have fewer stupid fees in general. (Also, I don’t think any credit unions have been caught laundering drug or mob money, nor did they contribute overmuch to the last financial crisis we went through here in the states, but correct me if I am wrong.)

      The real issue, LW, is that your family seems eager to write you into a part that you never played, that of the Irresponsible Spendthrift, and you’re not into that nonsense for excellent reasons. The Captain’s advice not to engage or argue with them is golden.

    • Violet said:

      It really is. I haven’t been overdrawn in a long time, but when I was in my 20s it happened a few times a year for all sorts of reasons, from crappy bank policies like reordering transactions, to plain old carelessness/bad math on my part. I also used to work in the back office at a grocery store, and one of my jobs was calling people whose checks had been returned (this was in the 90s when writing checks was much more common), and there were LOTS of them and they weren’t all that young, either.

      • Cactus said:

        Reordering transactions was the worst, really.

    • songofstorms said:

      Shoutout to my first bank’s overdraft coverage “service” for sparing 18-year-old-me the minor embarrassment of getting my card declined and instead letting me go around to several different stores buying small gifts, charging me a $35 fee for every purchase for this privilege. Thanks, bank, that was definitely preferable to me having to say, “Oh whoops, guess I’ll do my Christmas shopping another day!” Not.

      • Rachel said:

        I recently changed banks, and they kept trying to convince me to choose that version of overdraft ‘protection’. I kept saying no, because I didn’t want that exact same thing to happen to me!

      • egl said:

        That’s the exact reason I dropped overdraft protection from my account as soon as I had the chance. Mine had the bonus feature of me not finding out until I got a notice in the mail, two or three days later.

  2. Hi LW! Here is an idea of how some more reasonable parents might behave:

    I too lived with my parents when I was struggling with mental illness and had no job prospects.

    Then when I got a bit better worked part time on the shop floor in a supermarket (literally the only place that would hire me) and paid my parents theoretical-rent-which-was-much-less-than-real-rent-would-have-been for like two years. When my laptop broke, they loaned me the money for a new one and let me pay them back very very slowly. Eventually I scored a promotion and moved to work in London. I’ve been financially independent ever since.

    My parents responded to me moving out by…literally never asking me about money again! If they worry about me, they keep it to themselves. My mum insists on paying for dinner if we go out, but I think that’s more because she hates the feeling of going Dutch than because she thinks I can’t afford the odd dinner out.

    Your parents and sister do not have to pass whatever anxieties they’re having right now on to you – that is an active choice they are making. You are allowed to decline to absorb those anxieties, because they aren’t actually your problem.

    • Hufflestitch said:

      My parents still pay when they visit most of the time because they love me and want to treat us. I make sure that sometimes I get the whole dinner myself, it is almost a game if who can get to the register/bill first 😂

      • would that I were allowed! my family are Iraqi so I grew up with competitive bill-snatching as a norm but i still can’t beat mum at it.

        • Convallaria majalis said:

          Anna Badger, I love it that your family also behaves this way. In the area of Scandinavia my family is from we also do this. My mother used to spend hours with her sisters and other relatives negotiating with them: “Please, take my money. Let me pay.” One of my aunts is married to a lawyer and their behaviour always makes him laugh. “If all my customers were like your family I would be out of work”, he says.

          Here in EU parents are usually not able to monitor the account usage of their grown up children – at least that is what the teller told us when we were opening bank accounts for our children, that our ability to monitor the accounts would automatically cease when they turn 18. I am sure there are exceptions but there is probably a lot of bureaucracy involved.

          I have no knowledge of how banks work in US but here in Scandinavia it truly pays off to compare all the possible expenses each bank charges – the differences are big. Also comparing notes with friends about their experiences of different banks probably pays off.

          Best of luck with the new account!

    • Liz said:

      Given that you are living in one of the more expensive cities on Earth, I can sympathize with a parent wanting to subsidize you in a small way with a free dinner.

  3. elldubs said:

    You overdrew your account once when you were young. It’s not like you racked up crushing credit card debt, or sold her jewelry to fund a spending habit or something. I’m in my 30s and financially stable and independent and still sometimes life stuff happens or I forget about something and I overdraw my account. It’s super common.

    You’re doing great, you were irresponsible with money only one time, which is a superpower, and both your parents need to quit talking to you about/meddling in your finances.

    • Lucy Merriman said:

      Yes! Honestly, LW, I used to have actual compulsive spending problem. I solved it, thanks to therapy. It was never suggested that the solution be that another adult monitors all my spending. Even though that isn’t abusive in and of itself, it’s an easy thing to risk it becoming abusive later.

      • Jyoti said:

        I do have a compulsive spending problem and that you’ve overcome yours gives me so much hope. Thank you. Thank you.

        LW, the Captain’s advice is great. Get thee a new bank account, or even contact your current bank and update your security settings and where your statements get sent. If your parents can’t log in and your paper statements don’t get sent to your old address, your parents are out of your financial hair.

    • Jadelyn said:

      My parents actually *did* get into serious debt when they were first married, like $15k in credit card debt. My grandparents loaned them the money to clear it out so they wouldn’t stay stuck in the interest cycle and take a million years to finally pay out of it, which my parents then paid back over the next few years. And…that was the end of it. It’s never been mentioned again. I only know about it because my mother told me, when my dad was being overbearing about my finances while I was in college (in a “Oh, he has no room to talk, remind him of this if you need to shut him up” sort of way). So even if you do actually need truly bailed out financially, that’s not inherently license to hold it over someone the rest of their damn lives.

  4. AnonBee said:

    +1 to disentangling your mother from access to your accounts!

  5. GreenDoor said:

    You have a partner that has steady income. You co-own property. You had sense enough to save up money before quitting your job. And you set limits on your “fun” spending. Sounds pretty darn financially responsible to me! Also, if you’re old enough, mature enough, and responsible enough to have a partner that you live and own property with….you are An Adult. Which means your money is officially no one else’s business. I second the idea of transferring your money to an account that your parents have no access to and making the topic of your finances none of anyone’s business.

    • Anonyish said:

      This! LW gives zero evidence of being financially irresponsible. She had a period of not being able to support herself due largely to illness after University. She had one (ONE!) slightly silly month when she had her first job. This is like the most normal, boring post-University credit history in the world Well, OK, the UK. I’m 40 and you are describing the experience of the vast majority of people I know, except many of them didn’t just have that one silly month they had quite a few more before they suddenly went “Oops, that’s a really big balance on my overdraft/credit card.”

      I think the way to prove your financial independence to your mother at this point is to end her access to your bank statements and tell her that thanks, but you aren’t going to have these discussions any more. Talk to your Dad about money if it is useful to you – it’s often helpful to chat over that sort of thing with another person, so there’s nothing wrong with that if it helps you, but maybe consider if it is actually necessary now or just a habit you’ve got into. Anyway, you are fine, your mother will cope.

  6. BradC said:

    It was implied by the Captain but not stated explicitly: make sure to open the new account at an entirely different bank.

    Disentangling accounts while staying at the same bank is hypothetically possible, but I’ve heard plenty of stories of system glitches or “friendly” tellers who “helpfully” give your parents access to your new account as well.

    • Inspector Spacetime said:

      Good point.

    • Kaos said:

      Very good point.

  7. A reformed competent lawyer said:

    This happened to me! I just changed my account to online only = no paper statements for my parents to open and then question me on.

  8. Clorinda said:

    Plenty of people overdraw sometimes. That’s why banks offer the overdraft service in the first place. Sometimes it’s a bad decision, sometimes it’s an emergency, sometimes it’s an arithmetic error. You know what it’s NOT any more? Your parents’ business.

    • Audrey said:

      AMEN

    • Thanksforallthefish said:

      Agreed! I still overdraw frequently. Still all my own business.

  9. Rincat said:

    My parents used to be very involved in my finances when I was a teenager and young adult (partly out of necessity as a minor), but as I got older, I definitely had to set some boundaries, and the most helpful one is simply not providing them any information about your finances. My dad is really, really into retirement investing, and is a generally anxious and fearful person, so he’s Very Worried that me and my sister aren’t doing enough for retirement. This manifested as constant inquiries about our retirement accounts, offers to help set them up/manage them, even calling his investment company and getting info for us, and GIVING THEM OUR PHONE NUMBERS, which is a big overstep for me (do not give my contact info to ANYONE! EVER!). At first I was thankful for his help, because I knew nothing about retirement saving at 22, but now I’m 34 and I’ve got a pretty good handle on things. But I had to cut off all information at one point, because he constantly asked, and constantly treated me like I was an ignorant child who needed his help. One day I told him, “Dad, I know you want us to be secure in our retirement, but your constant questions and information barrages stress me out, and we are not going to talk about this anymore.” And I don’t. If they ask me any questions about my finances, I don’t answer. I tell him it’s not up for discussion, and they leave it alone.

    It hurt his feelings to have that conversation, and I’m sure part of that was the realization that I was an adult who no longer needed Daddy. But our relationship is waaay better now, and I don’t have the stress of him trying to “help” me, or my parents being nosy about my money.

    • 5 Leaf Clover said:

      Amen – setting boundaries doesn’t always feel great at first, but remind yourself that it is actually BETTER for your relationship with your parents in the long run if interacting with them doesn’t feel awful all the time.

      • TootsNYC said:

        And feel free to point that out to them: “These conversations make me not want to share things with you. That’s not a dynamic I want to have in our relationship. I want us to get along better than that.”

  10. Perfectionist said:

    I’m in a somewhat similar situation to you, OP: I’m married, own my own home, have only mortgage and student loan debt, have lived 100% away from home, abroad, for the last 8 years. My mother freaked out the one time I went into overdraft when I was 19 (paper checks and checkbooks were still a thing, and I missed a decimal point. I had to pay a 10 dollar fine, and it hasn’t happened since!) She has extreme anxiety about money, and has tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to pass this on to me with repeated warnings/haraguings about how I could have ruined my credit (for a 15 dollar overdraft that I took care of in less than a week!)

    The one reason my parents still have access to a bank account of mine is that I need to use it to pay off my student loans, and they occasionally need to deposit money for me from different sources, depending on the current exchange rates (newsflash: student loans are completely behind the times and only allow you to pay with US bank account transfer or check. There are no other options, besides paypal, that I could use from abroad, and that would charge a significant amount of money. When I told them that this was causing significant internal family conflict, their response was: Maybe you can use a friend’s bank account? …. )

    Once it’s paid off, I will be free from parental scrutiny! Cut those financial ties now, OP! Free yourself from the guilt! Hopefully by the end of this year, I’ll be able to, too!

  11. Audrey said:

    I’ve never had problems with finance… and my parents STILL talk to me like I’m irresponsible. I’m married and completely financially independent from them. I second the separate bank account and not talking to them about your financial life. I know my relationship with my parents was more strained when I took them off the account at first but long term our conversations are better.

    • Yep, I’m 45 and until I cut my mother off entirely about 5 years ago, she’d STILL make snarky comments about how I spent money. Of course, if I was spending it on HER (plane tickets, expensive dinners, wine tastings, etc) it was perfectly fine. If I bought myself a video game or a Kindle it was a “waste of money” and “immature and irresponsible.”

      It was especially annoying because she spent a decade collecting small sculptures of houses that cost hundreds of dollars apiece. But heaven forbid I spend $100 on a Kindle so my bookshelves don’t collapse.

    • Jen said:

      Haven’t spoken with my mom in about 12 years, and I know she’s still telling other relatives what a deadbeat I am. (For the record, I’ve been self-supporting for a good 20 years.) She was beyond PO’ed, when she could no longer access my bank accounts. Her take was that “what if something happened?” Well, then that’s why there’s probate.

      My mom’s hot take was that if I quit playing MMO’s (at 15 bucks a month) and buying used books every now and then (maybe 2-3 a month from Halfprice Books?) I’d be able to afford insurance pre-ACA. Even post-ACA, you can’t afford an insurance premium for $20 a month.

      When parents make issues out of finances like this, Audrey’s and the LW’s, it’s not about finances at all. It’s purely a method of control and keeping the apron strings tied in place. It’s also not respecting your (completely deserved) boundaries as adults.

  12. When I had this problem, the quickest fix was to “go paperless” on my bank account – your parents can’t illegally open your post if you don’t get any post!

    If you don’t have your own bank account, please get one. If you haven’t got online banking set up then please do that – they can’t check on your spending without your consent if you have your own account, you do not get post / post goes to your address only and you don’t share any passwords etc with them. (if they ask you to give them passwords etc this is really not okay, not normal and they probably know it’s wrong. If you already gave them any way to access your account, change all the relevant passwords etc so that they cannot look at it anymore).

  13. Kaos said:

    LW you are an adult. Your parents have no place in your finances. Even if they did (repeat they don’t) your sister certainly doesn’t.

  14. Manattee said:

    The advice above is great for shutting down conversations that you don’t want to have, but I think there is another option which might be worth considering and that’s having a bit of a go. “Mum, why do you always talk about me as if I’m a complete financial mess? Is that really what you think of me? I went into my overdraft one time when I was first starting out and have never been in debt since. It was three years ago, I wish you’d get over it.”

    I found that with my parents, they’d sometimes get their own narratives about me stuck in their heads and not update them as I grew older and more experienced, especially once I’d moved away from home and they weren’t seeing me every day. Sometimes I’d have to spell it out for them that they were doing this, and maybe have a bit of a barney, but generally they would adapt their view of me as a result.

    This probably won’t work if your parents are super abusive and controlling, but if in general you have a reasonably good relationship and they want good things for you, actually drawing attention to what they’re doing might help them correct it instead of just deflecting.

    • Clarry said:

      I’m not so sure. There are a ton of chiseled in stone narratives in my family. One brother can’t keep a job. (He had some trouble deciding on a career path 30 years ago when he was fresh out of college and has been employed ever since.) A sister is flighty and flirtatious (before settling into a great marriage, 3 kids, and a not-so-terrible number of ex boyfriends who wish her well). There’s the one who’s no good at math (trouble learning multiplication tables in elementary school), the pretty one, the humorless one, the unlucky one, etc. You can point out all day how unfair and untrue the narratives are, but they persist. It’s so bad that arguing only makes it worse. Like if you point out that the brother who can’t keep a job has been working ever since, the answer will be “what about the time he got a bad performance review” or “yeah, but he left one company and went to work for another (all normal things that befall anyone in their adult life). I’m afraid that if the conversation is opened as to why Mother thinks LW is a complete financial mess, Mother will be all too ready to go over LW’s early sins with the overdraft and frivolous spending. Asked if that’s really what Mother thinks of LW, the answer will likely be yes, because … and then the reasons will be stated. Point out that property is owned with steadily employed Partner, and it will come back that Partner can still lose that good job, run off and steal. It’s really a fruitless argument. Better to disengage from the start.

      • Manattee said:

        I’m so sorry you and your siblings have to deal with that, it sounds truly awful and demoralizing and I can totally understand why in your family disengaging is 100% the best option.

        Just putting it out there that there are other options for the LW to consider, to be assessed for suitability depending on what the LW’s family is like and how she thinks they’ll react, which I don’t think is really clear from the letter and so only the LW will know. The LW is still in her relatively early years of adulting (and thus her parents are only in the early years of working out how to navigate a relationship with an adult child – something many parents make mistakes in throughout their kids’ 20s). She also hasn’t indicated that she’s raised this behaviour with her mum, only that she’s upset by it. So I hope that there is the possibility for change and growth in the parents that will lead to a better ongoing relationship.

      • beautifulblue said:

        This! When I was 23, I went to a laundromat with my parents and overfilled a washing machine (in my mother’s opinion, tbh it probably was slightly overfilled but I was an underemployed recent college grad trying to save a few quarters!). It has been over 6 years and my mother is still convinced I’m unable to do laundry correctly. I feel like sometimes, stuff like this is more about other people’s insecurities or anxieties and it’s not worth it to dig into why they feel like that. In this case might have the back-to-reality convo once and then just be pretty strict about setting the boundary of talking about something else.

      • DesertRose said:

        Some parents are like that, and it is SO annoying!

        My stepdad has many sterling qualities (there’s a reason my mom has been married to him for coming up on 34 years), but one of his habits that irks the ever-loving shit out of Mom, my daughter, and me is his inability to drop a topic.

        When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was working in food service and going to university full time, so I tended to eat a fair number of meals from drive-thru fast food joints, and I wasn’t particularly conscientious about cleaning up all the trash thereby generated. I stopped doing that around age twenty-five because I didn’t like having an icky car.

        I am now in my early forties, I keep my car cleaner than he keeps his, and if I drive someone else’s car (often his, if my car is in the shop), I return the car at least as clean as it was when I took it and I try to return it with at least as much fuel in the tank as when I took it.

        [Content note: Mention of chronic illness, insects.]

        If he drives my mother’s car, he leaves empty fast-food coffee cups or soda cans (coffee sweetened with artificial sweeteners and diet soda because he has diabetes, so at least there’s no sugar to attract ants or whatever) all over her car.

        [End content note.]

        And he will still to this day give me a ration of shit about how much trash I used to permit to accumulate in my car, nigh on two decades ago.

        All this is to offer solidarity to other folks dealing with family members who will just not drop it already!

  15. S said:

    “Well I wouldn’t have accepted your bailout at the time if I had known I would be paying it back for the rest of my life in nagging and guilt trips.” Is probably too harsh a thing to say…..

    I honestly don’t know if it’s possible to look at someone else’s day to day finances and not say “well THAT was irresponsible” at some point. We all have different spending priorities, day to day, we end up with emergencies like, needing new tires, or a cute dress, or pie. Things happen, no one is perfect every single day. It’s easy to poke holes in other people’s day to day decisions when you aren’t living their life.

    I 100% think taking away their visibility into that is a key first step. They don’t need this information, you don’t need help with your finances, you need their love and support and all the good things you like about your family. Maybe once you cut off your bank account you could find something positive to share with your Mom to give her some escape from her negativity about her parents and your finances? Family book club? Planning a trip? Distance co knitting? I dunno, just a thought.

    • TootsNYC said:

      “I honestly don’t know if it’s possible to look at someone else’s day to day finances and not say “well THAT was irresponsible” at some point.”

      When my kids went off to college, we set them up with checking/debit accounts connected to my checking, so I could manipulate the accounts on their behalf, and so I could easily transfer money. Plus, it meant they didn’t have any fees, being linked to my account.

      I try really hard not to look (though at times it’s been handy to see that the total amount is low, so I can put some extra in).

      But when my DD went to college, my ILs asked for her bank account number so they could deposit gift money to her. In looking for it on the website, I ended up on the page w/ her expenditures for her first 3 weeks of school. I called her up and said, “Aren’t you going out for pizza, or burgers, or anything? You haven’t spent any money on stuff like that–that’s what that money is for, you know.”

      She said, “Only I would have a mom who would harangue me for NOT spending money.”

      Otherwise, I’ve never said a thing about how she spends her money. I do worry–silently–about whether she has enough, because it’s her job now to earn her own money.

      And once she is truly on her feet, and earning money, I’m going to tell her she should split off from me. I don’t need the temptation or the worry.

  16. Lizards80 said:

    How come your bank statements are going to your mom’s house? (I’m just going to grind my teeth at why she is opening and reading your mail)

    Is there anything else that you’re using them as a ‘home base’ for? Cutting that off may also help you establish yourself as a separate human from them who can adult all by herself.

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. You didn’t mention feeling shame or shamed by them, but if you are, I hope you can find camaraderie and comfort in knowing it’s ok to have made any financial mistakes (which yours was so freaking minor!) and to be treated as a responsible adult, which you are. You’re allowed to have fun money. You’re allowed to even go into debt or do things they disapprove of if you wanted to (because of the whole being an adult thing).

    Keep rocking on with your financially responsible self, and please take the Captain’s good advice and separate yourself from them completely.

  17. Dendritic Trees said:

    I don’t have any additions to the Captain’s excellent advice, but I just thought I’d add an extra point of perspective. I AM still financially entangled with my parents. They give me money on a semi-regular basis… and they don’t question me about my spending or feel entitled to my banking information, because I’m an adult. And briefly for a few months a little while ago they fully supported me briefly, and paid all my bills, and even then they did not ask questions about my spending, or attempt to access my bank account. Because I’m an adult.

    • Blue Meeple said:

      Same. I have a credit card that my parents pay the bill, for a variety of reasons, and since I’m self-sufficient otherwise, the most they ever ask is if any unusual-sounding charges are correct. When they did support me fully, they were more concerned about me getting a job than my daily spending habits.

  18. One other point to remember: parents are also imperfect money managers. It can take several years of independence to realize the extent of our parents’ weaknesses, especially when we respect them and have a decent relationship! They can misjudge and make mistakes. Financial advice from anyone should always be followed up with some research and second (more expert) opinions.

    I had my dad up on the Brilliant Numbers Guy pedestal for my entire childhood and young adulthood. This is a dude with PhD in statistics who plays around on the Options market (I don’t even know what this is) for fun, and almost always profits from it. Guess whose advice led me to make the costliest financial error of my life? During the 2008 economic meltdown, his predictions seemed so solid. It didn’t help that my faith in his expertise on these matters was still unshaken. I made a decision that cost me, when the smoke cleared, $15,000 US. That was at a time when I was earning less than $28K a year. He lost some money too. But to a man at the end of a successful career with ample retirement savings, he barely felt the sting. When I told him I’d taken his advice and lost over half my salary, he shrugged it off. “Oh well. Even the professional financial planners got a lot of this wrong.”

    You know what? He’s right. I now have my own lived experience of this fact: Financial experts don’t know everything about the money parts of adulting, and NEITHER DO PARENTS. I paid dearly for this lesson so maybe you won’t have to!

  19. Joielle said:

    Totally agree with the Captain’s advice – they can’t harangue you about money if they don’t know what you’re spending.

    I wonder if there’s some projection going on? How are your parents with money? My mom starts to panic about how I’m spending money if she thinks spouse and I are spending too much, and it’s only fairly recently that I’ve realized it’s because she and my dad are terrible at saving so they assume that I am too. Spouse and I make quite a bit more than my parents, so what seems extravagant to them (nothing objectively extravagant, just, like, going on a vacation) is well within our means, plus we actually do save for things.

    I’ve taken to telling her “it’s well within the budget” and leaving it at that. Of course, that only works because she can’t see the bank accounts. If she could, I know she’d have comments about whether the budget itself is correct.

  20. Aezy said:

    UK person here! Just to add that its now SO easy to change bank accounts here- you go to the new branch, fill out the application form to open it (need ID and proof of address ofc) and then the bank will transfer all your money and payments etc within 7 days!

    Also n-thing the overdraft is no big deal chorus – I had a huge one when I was a student, and I have a little one now just in case my salary and bills arrive in the wrong order…

    Good luck!

    • No Longer In Academia said:

      Another UK person seconding this. It’s incredibly easy, and they’re also responsible for dealing with any financial problems that happen during the transfer, so you’re guaranteed not to be out of pocket. The only thing you need to make sure is that if there’s an option on the form asking if you want to use the Current Account Switch Service, you tick ‘yes’.

      (If you’re the kind of person who stresses in the face of too much choice, I can recommend the Nationwide as a good place to bank. I’ve been with them for a few years now and they’re great to deal with.)

  21. Clarry said:

    Someone help me out with what’s meant by “micoloan scheme she invested in.” “Micro loan” makes me think of an excellent way to help people in 3rd world countries set up small businesses, a way to help that’s not charity and more helpful than charity over the long haul. “Scheme” makes me think of something shady, a little on the criminal side without being out and out illegal. “Invested in” makes me think of multilayered marketing where one investor makes money by roping in other investors who lose money. All of that makes me wonder if Mother isn’t overly interested in LW’s finances because she’s worried about LW’s decision making at this point. It makes me think Mother is overly interested in LW’s finances because of Mother’s decision making. What are microtransactions?

    • Nanani said:

      Microtransactions are a thing in phone apps and video games in general, where you can make a very low cost transaction inside the app/game. Like, pay a small fee for extra lives, buy an alternate costume for your character, something like that.
      They are a current Big Thing in video games.

      There is also an ethical dimension to them, as some “games” are essentially portable slot machines with microtransatiions along the lines of “pay a dollar for a CHANCE to get this special prize!”, or being “free” games where you can’t actually win a match without paying out tons of small fees for this or that power up, and so on.
      Much discussion about the practice to be found around the web.

    • MuddieMae said:

      “Scheme” often has negative connotations, but it really just means “large scale plan or arrangement” and can be totally neutral. From what I can tell with a little googling, “investment scheme” as a neutral term is a pretty typical commonwealth English usage, so if you are American it might be unusual phrasing.

    • BarlowGirl said:

      I think scheme in the UK can have more of a neutral meaning. I saw someone refer to an “eyeglass scheme” and that was more like a rewards program?

      • can confirm! in UK English scheme and programme are synonyms

    • Entity said:

      The “microloan scheme” might refer to businesses that provide P2P loans. They provide loans to people in the US (often to refinance their credit card debt) and let people invest in the loans in small increments. The business handles the whole process of setting interest rates, approving borrowers, and collecting payments, and the investor gets most of the interest and most of the risk.

      I invested in some P2P loans, but I’m getting out because of the poor liquidity and unfavorable tax treatment.

    • Clarry said:

      Thanks. American here. I had no idea of this English language variation. Now that I know what a microloan scheme is, I can say that it’s all the more baffling why Mother is boasting about it. She sounds boundaryless: My decisions about money should be your decisions about money, and if you’re not making my decisions, there’s something terribly wrong. As with so many of these situations, the first boundary is to control outgoing information. So first it’s getting a different bank account so Mother can’t see it. Later it will probably be not mentioning much of anything about how money is spent. I know I found that weird because it’s normal in conversation to say that I bought something small or that I enjoyed going to an event, but I clammed up altogether, and life with my mother got easier.

  22. Lizards80 said:


    —- answer
    “Well, I certainly appreciate the idea of you approaching me about something you’re concerned about, but I manage this responsibly.”

    “Weird. It’s not an addiction. That’s the second time you’ve mentioned this. What’s this really about?”

    “Bailout? Huh. What a weird thing for you to say.”

    If she responds: “I don’t know where you’re getting this from but like I just said, it’s not accurate, so you continuing to talk about it is weird. Let’s change the subject, shall we?”

  23. lalouve said:

    I think it’s not unusual that you get stuck in a specific role in your family, and they find it difficult to see that you’ve grown out of it. In my family. I’m ‘the restless one who doesn’t know what to do for a living’ – I’m a tenured Professor since about twelve years – and you might be ‘the one who can’t handle money responsibly.’ It’s not always possible to change how your family perceives you, but you can make them stop talking about it to you, by following the Captain’s advice.

  24. LA said:

    LW, I feel you so hard on the the triangulation/passive aggressive thing. It is annoying (and unhelpful AF). My sibling and I had to finally institute a rule between ourselves that if our mom told one sibling that the other was upset about something, we would tell her that it was between us and if we needed to resolve something in our sibling relationship, we would do it without her help. It doesn’t stop her from still trying, but we just check in with each other (“Mom said X is going on” “Good grief, I told her Y, how does she get X from that?” etc.) She still does it sometimes with grandparents (telling us Grandma is upset about something she actually wasn’t upset about, or telling Grandpa one of us is upset about something we’re not actually upset about) as a way to guilt one or the other party into doing what she thinks we should do. My and my sibling’s approach is basically what the Captain said: only listen to the people involved’s words. If my mother reports to me that someone has FEELINGS or CONCERNS that I need to deal with, I’m not responding until that particular person tells me about them.

    It is not your circus, not your monkeys until the lion tamer shows up to tell you that yeah, the lion did eat those monkeys and something needs to be done.

  25. SheRawr said:

    Practical tip: It’s possible that I missed this from another commenter but in order to prevent the inevitable “yes but…” – yes to getting a new bank account, new bank, etc. but also…IF for some reason it is not practicable to take your mother off the current account (and this can sometimes be a problem depending on how the account was set up or just too much hassle because it invites confrontation), just abandon the account. Don’t make additional problems, just take the path of least resistance. Withdraw all but 50p (or whatever the account minimum is) and destroy the debit cards. Never use it again. Then cut off the statement access she has, however that needs to be done.

    • SheRawr said:

      Edit – I meant to say ‘take your mother off the current account OR close the current account”
      Either action may be more trouble than it’s worth and I don’t want that to deter the needed plan of action here.

    • Bagpuss said:

      In the UK, if there is a joint account it will need both / all account holders to sign to close the account, however, any one account holder can freeze the account which stops all transactions (in or out, so withdraw any money in the account, first!)

      However, much better to close if you can, as if you have a joint account then you are financially linked and this can have implications for credit checks etc, and if the other person gets a copy of their credit records it may give them some limited information about you, as well.

      OP, I’m not sure how your parents are getting information about your finances, but if they access to your accounts, open new accounts elsewhere. If they have access to your online banking change the passwords and make clear that you are no longer wiling to share that information with them.

      Get all statements sent to your home, not your parents home, and don’t answer questions about your financial position .

      As others have said, switching accounts is really easy nowadays.

      I would also have a one-off conversation with your parents. Tell them you are surprised and upset that your mother has been reading your bank statements without your consent, and that that is not appropriate.
      You can add that you are baffled that your mum has got hold of an idea that the small amounts you spend of fin stuff are an addiction, that you understand that some people do have problems with spending on that kind of thing but that it is not an issue for you (you could give an analogy linked to something they buy – e.g. that assuming someone who spends money on that kind of thing is an addict is a bit like assuming that because mum has a G’nT before Sunday Lunch , she is an alcoholic, or that having a flutter on the Grand National means she has a gambling addiction. The reason I would suggest responding at all to her comments is that it does give you the opportunity to explicitly remind them that a single mistake made when young, doesn’t mean a lifetime of irresponsible spending or inability to manage money.

      I also think it is entirely appropriate for you to flag up with them that it is not OK in any circumstances for them to discuss your finances with your sister, or vice versa.

      (I’m very grateful for my parents approach on this. I learned that my elder sister went a bit overboard when she first went to Uni and had an overdraft. My parents paid it off and she repaid them, over time. I learned about this because my sister told me. My parents never mentioned it, not even when I was leaving for Uni and they were having conversations with me about money, and what help they could provide. )

  26. A Kate said:

    I’m sure there are plenty of emotional depths to plumb here, but I agree with the Captain that the first boundary to draw here is the inviolate boundary between an independent adult person’s parent and that independent adult person’s bank. Having a private account may not stop her from coming up with snide things to say about your spending, but it’ll certainly make it harder for her to home in on specific line items she disapproves of. I think part of the issue here is that she brings up microtransactions/”fun money” and part of you still believes she has a valid point. But if she is forced to resort to “I just WORRY about you because of Vague Notions and also the Woeful Events of Your Past,” it’s so much easier to laugh her off or say “oh, Mother, you’re always thinking of me but you really don’t have to worry, Partner and I are doing great! How about that subject change?”

    I guarantee you, there are few among us whose budgets couldn’t be improved upon scrutiny. That doesn’t mean it’s anyone else’s business to do the scrutinizing.

  27. Friendly Hipposcriff said:

    LW, if *you* worry about microtransactions, you can just get a £10 (or whatever) gift card at the beginning of each month and then use that to your heart’s delight.

    You sound like a completely reasonable and not at all frivolous spender. Just because your mum thinks your hobby isn’t worth what you spend on it doesn’t make it so – you’re allowed to spend your money! You’ve worked for it! And just because you’re not working right now doesn’t mean you’ve resigned your right to have a life. Ten-year-olds get pocket money. Twenty(thirty/forty/whatever) year-olds also get money they can spend as they like, particularly if it’s their own money.

  28. Pusheen said:

    I’m in a similar boat to you, LW! My mum loves to tell me how surprising it is that I do something responsible, even if it’s something as innocuous as hoovering. She’s told me several times she expected me to spend my entire student loan in a month when I went away to uni! I didn’t, by the way. She just has this image of me as being so flighty and irresponsible whereas really I’m quite a sensible person, I’m just a little quirky and like brightly coloured things and tattoos!
    I was fairly financially irresponsible, and then had long periods of unemployment and living on poverty wages so unfortunately I’m still digging my way out of my overdraft. I’m hoping to finally get there this year!
    Also I visited Norwich for the first time last year and it’s lovely, I’m up in Leicester but originally from Manchester 🙂

    • Nanani said:

      Reminds me of when I stayed briefly with my mom after moving back from abroad (had a new apartment lined up, but there was a bit of time between my flight back and my move in date) and she was all surprised that I did my own laundry.
      I had been adulting solo for over a decade at that point.

      The image of how you were as a kid is hard for your parent to shake.

  29. jmm said:

    Why does your mom still have access to your bank account? Is that absolutely necessary? Remove her from the account.

    Or, if you need a joint account for some reason, open a separate account that only you have access to — that’s your main account. Keep only what you need to keep in the joint account.

  30. Esme said:

    Overdrafts are a thing that has happened to everyone, even my The-Great-Depression-generation, allergic-to-debt, super-frugal grandma.

    Change the mailing address for your bank statements to your own home that you own, as one possible solution. And don’t feel bad about shutting down those, ‘we bailed you out’ comments. You’ve been a ‘good sport’ about them for years. It would have been OK not to be cool with those comments from the start, and it’s totally cool to declare a moratorium on them now. Good luck LW!

  31. Liz said:

    Everyone else covered the whole getting a new account.

    I think it was super-extra-double shitty of your parents to talk to your sister about your finances. It feels like your mom is clearly looking to shame you about this in whatever way possible. Did you pay your parents back any overdraft amounts and fees? You may want to ask them if they want to be paid back or why they keep up with the passive-aggressive shit talk about your finances.

  32. storyranger said:

    I overdrew my account once when I first moved out. I was really lucky; I went to the bank, the nice lady looked at it, said, “Overdraft protection is a thing, and it’s free with your current plan, and you should have it,” then reversed the charge and set me up with overdraft protection. My parents told me my credit was now ruined for decades. Fast forward about 5 years, my credit score is just fine. My credit card company recently BEGGED me to up my card limit, because my credit is so good.

    My parents didn’t have access to my statements once I moved out, thank god, but my mom would grill me about my budget. Me, being incapable of lying, would feel constant shame and anxiety as she picked apart my habits and berated me. I responded by ceasing all financial tracking because if I didn’t know then I couldn’t tell her, could I, and OH BOY I DON’T THINK I NEED TO TELL YOU WHAT A TERRIBLE PLAN THIS WAS but I didn’t have a better one because I didn’t have the confidence years of therapy would eventually give me to solve the actual problem, which was I was a grown up now but my parents weren’t ready for an adult relationship. and reacted by doing anything they could to prove I was still a child.

    My point is, parents are not financial wizards who know better then you by the sheer fact that you are their spawn. Banks aren’t monolithic cesspools of evil who want to suck your blood. Sometimes you can’t solve the cut until you rip the bandaid off and take a good look at how bad the infection is underneath. You’re doing just fine, LW.

  33. Heather said:

    There are some fantastic free to access financial activity services in the UK that you might want to check in with – not because you need ‘help’ over your spending but just to reassure you that yourcurrent money management isn’t unhealthy. I know from personal experience that when you grow up around weird money power dynamics, it can undermine your confidence in your own choices. The Money Advice Service, Money Saving Expert and your local credit union can give you some information on what is available to you without trying to sell you any financial products. The current climate of DWP cuts means it is hard to get clear info on what you are entitled to re unemployment and sickness assistance, Benefits And Work are run by lawyers who challenge the DWP misconduct and publish welfare guides drawing from internal DWP policy, check them out. There is still limited assistance for you to transition into the workplace should you need it, but you might need to do research to find out what you are entitled to.

    My bank, Natwest are pretty good in that when I disclosed to my bank manager that I had health problems that affected how I wanted to manage my finances (please don’t sell me credit cards or hassle me to use machines when I need the counter service.) You’ll be surprised how babysteps in advocating for yourself can make the issue of money a lot less intimidating.

    Good luck in your future. You got this.

  34. So, LW you just casually mentioned that your mom seems to be taking out how her frustrations with other family members on you (i.e. “scapegoating” you). And that she invented an “addiction” for you. And that she has been lying about bailing you out financially to other family members. This seems like a huge red flag for some very common manipulative behaviors, and it is time to step back and take a really sober look at her behavior– financially and otherwise.

    1. Of course you should separate your finances ASAP as The Captain says. Never mention them to her again, either. Or to your dad. And possibly not to your sister or other family members who chat with your mom. Except to say you’re doing fine. And that includes shared obscure never-used savings accounts, anything at all that would connect your finances, property or information. Don’t use family accountants, don’t share family doctors, family discounts or services of any kind. No shared phone plans. No shipping Amazon packages to their house to keep for you. Also, if she has access to your official documents (British equivalents of social security card, birth certificate, tax ID, etc etc) those need to be in your hands, not at her house. People who have already exhibited some manipulative behaviors are likelier than others to abuse your finances, such as opening something in your name or spending shared funds without your consent. So after separating your finances, keep a close eye on your credit score and do what you can to make sure no one has opened an account in your name (I’m not an expert, I have no advice in this regard). And don’t tell her before separating all your finances, just do it. Then tell her as if it’s good news (because it is). Good news, Mom, you don’t need to worry about any of this stuff!

    2. You do not need to prove anything financially to your Mom. You have already proven yourself and instead of accepting the proof she invented an “addiction” and spread a false narrative to your family in which she is the hero and you are the ne’er-do-well. Rather, your Mom needs to prove to you that she can respect your boundaries. Additionally, you can’t prove yourself financially without offering up details which she should not have. And consider this: you can be irresponsible, even have financial disasters, and STILL be financially independent of your parents. It’s STILL none of their business, as long as your disasters stay YOUR disasters. You could have a full-blown microtransaction addiction (for argument’s sake), and you deal with it on your own without your Mom. That is still being financially independent. ***You don’t have to be perfect to deserve to have boundaries.***

    3. Your Mom is a talker (behind your back), so you probably need to negotiate relationships with your family that don’t go through her. As kids all our family relationships go through our parents, but you’re allowed to have independent, one-on-one relationships with Grandma, etc., that don’t involve Mom at all. Maybe you and Aunt Sally go to Zumba class together or you call Grandma on Tuesdays and discuss other things besides Mom. Definitely ask your sister to refrain from discussing your finances with your mom, and offer to do the same with her (she probably has some area she wishes Mom would stay out of, too). You could suggest to her, “Mom, that’s between you and LW / me and LW / LW and her bank.” Or an uninterested “Huh. [subject change].” It’s unlikely you could get your Dad to stop sharing things with your Mom, so don’t discuss finances with him, either. The narrative(s) your Mom has invented and shared with your family may, I’m sorry to say, develop a life of their own and you may never be able to refute them. Stick up for yourself but don’t try to win them over or buy into the narrative that you must defend (or prove) yourself. It’s just rewarding the bad behavior. You have integrity no matter what your family members believe about you. Also, when your Mom tells you a nasty narrative about So-and-So, or that they’re upset with you, or agree with her about you, then maybe hold off on believing it until you can confirm it on your own.

    4. When you have a mental illness, you typically develop a network of people you can rely on when you’re having a crisis. But consider your mother’s behavior around your depression. It’s awesome that your parents supported you when you needed it, by housing you. It’s crap that your mom is trying to reinvent you to the rest of the family as some sort of financial addict or screw-up as soon as you no longer need her help and are no longer struggling. And besides that I have no more information, you do, so use your best judgement of course! But she might not belong in your mental health support network anymore. Your mental health issues might also become none of her business.

  35. AltoFronto said:

    I don’t get why your mum would have access to your bank statements in the first place. If she’s not named as an account-holder, then there’s a serious breach of your privacy going on… as in, anything of yours that your mum looks at without your consent could technically be considered a criminal offense.

    You might not have to open a new account (but do this if you want to be ultra sure) – Though you should definitely update your privacy and security settings – Change passwords, make sure all communication from your bank comes through channels that only you have access to. The new GDPR regulations are designed to ensure that sensitive information like your bank activity is only visible to those you give your explicit consent to, so read up on what your rights are surrounding your data.

    There is really no excuse for your mum to be snooping into something so PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL that they stamp it in all-caps on every letter your bank sends you.

    And remember, it’s your money; you earned it, so you can do with it exactly as you wish.

  36. Cherries in the Snow said:

    I’m in the unique situation in that I live in the U.K. with my husband but due to the nature of bills, all my American bills go to my parents’ house (my “permanent address”).

    Back before I even moved here, my mom made a habit of opening my credit card bills and then calling me to discuss/comment on how much money I was spending where. I finally just told her I was uncomfortable with this and would prefer if she set my mail aside and didn’t review it. She instantly complied. She now only opens things to see if there’s a problem/alerts me if there is, then stuffs everything into an envelope and forwards it to my foreign address. She lets me know if anything needs my immediate attention, but for the large part has stopped the meddling.

    If you haven’t already, have this conversation with your mom. If she doesn’t change and you live in the same country, change your bank account and permanent address. The privacy is worth it.

  37. Karak said:

    LW, let’s play a game.

    Pretend your parents are right. You are terrible with money, you blow your rent on snacks and booze, you’re on the verge of bankruptcy.

    Now, *are you asking your parents for money?*

    Because, even in the worst-scenario, if you are not asking for money, then it’s none of their business.

    Stop trying to argue or justify your spending. Tell your parents it’s your mistakes to make, that you will never ask them for money, and then close the bank account. Discussion over.

    They’ll try to say that they love you, and they worry. And that is nice. And then tell them that as long as you are not roping them into your finances, that’s all they need to know.

    It doesn’t matter how shitty you are with money. Don’t fixate on that part. Focus on how they’re not involved and need to stay not involved.

  38. Dulcinea said:

    I haven’t quite read every comment but one thing I don’t think I see discussed is LW’s comment that they “feel the need to prove to [my] mother that I AM handling my money like an adult. . .” and I think that needs to be addressed. LW, I don’t think you CAN neccessarily convince your mother of this or prove it to her; all you can do is live your best life and I think that definitely should involve removing her from your accounts and ceasing financial discussions with her. I also note that you say you discuss your finances with your father frequently….knowing him and his relationship with your mom, you should give some serious consideration to whether it is realistic to keep having these discussions with him but NOT with your mom?

  39. QoB said:

    Another strategy that has worked for me with parents/older family members who are All Up In My Business Like It’s Their Business is to turn the question around on them. It’s been both successful and satisfying to respond to a question about my career plans/finances/health habits with “So, anyway, tell me more about your pension plan! Oh, you don’t want to talk about it because it’s private…?”
    YMMV as always.

    • J said:

      Yes!!!!!

  40. J said:

    What cap said. My brain screamed when I read that your mom has been monitoring your account! Even if you were the worst at finances they aren’t her accounts. You didn’t need to prove that to us with a long letter about your current responsibility. It’s a nonissue. Internalize that bc I suspect you have feelings like you need to justify asking your mom to mind her own business. It’s your business. Believe that and things will get better. It’s hreat your parents helped you with living stuff in past but ugh they are overstepping now.

  41. Thanksforallthefish said:

    OOOh yes change the account!
    I kept my original bank account for many years because sentimental!! But my mom opened it for me when I was a minor. Then there was an “incident” when I was 18 or 19 where she was giving me some money while at the bank we shared, and the teller had the screen at such an angle that she “accidentally saw” my Planned Parenthood payment…

  42. You don’t even need to open a new account – just change the address and any log-on details you can for online banking. Done in less tha. 5 minutes! Depending on your bank you may be able to do the whole lot through internet banking.

  43. FrolickingElf said:

    As someone who has been through the rigmarole of parental financial extortion, the captain’s advice is not only spot-on, but should be places in the washroom stalls of ever college and university. My parents had access to my chequing’s account for far too long, and then to my student loan documents. Once I turned 18, I told them to stop, but they didn’t, and I missed some very important student loan documents because they opened the letters, and didn’t even give them to me… ugh!

    In my early 20s, got my own UPS box, and changed all my bank accounts – I started a family-war, but got a therapist, and am now working on my codependency issues, and got some therapy for poor boundaries. Hey I totally get it, they are your parents, and the constantly reminder of that ONE time you did X, is just another form of emotional control. Been there, and healthy boundaries are your key to overcoming this emotional trigger. Stay strong, this post was amazing, and a good walk down memory lane.

  44. UK Banker said:

    Hi OP! UK Banker here; some tips
    1. Your spending and money habits seem healthy and normal. Assuming it’s an arranged overdraft not an informal agreement, that is precisely what they are there for!
    2. Stop your parents having access to your accounts – you’re over 18, so the only way for them to have access to accounts (unless they have power of attorney or you’re just showing them) is if they either a) have your log in details, which will be against the terms of your accounts or b) the bank is giving them info which is totally against regulations and should be reported. The third option is that your statements go to their address and they are opening your mail. I see that you don’t live there, so it would be prudent and important for improving credit rating if you ensure all addresses match to where you reside – voting roll, bank addresses, etc.

    My other half had half his addresses at his parents and half with us, which meant when we applied for a mortgage there were some tricky conversations plus his credit rating was a bit off!

    Hope this helps!

  45. Wait, are you me circa 2008? My parents were both on my account when I got out of college and my dad was contemplating bankruptcy (he and my mom and recently divorced). He told me to open another account that his name wasn’t on so that I wasn’t impacted by the bankruptcy and, surprise!, my mom was on that account as well. I booted both her and my dad. She definitely had feelings about it and made those feelings known. But it didn’t take her long to get over it and it hopefully won’t take your parents long to get over it.

  46. MassMatt said:

    Advice here is spot on, only thing I would add is whether these are joint accounts. If not, solution should be as simple as changing the address and login passwords. If they ARE joint accounts, then the other account holder is entitled to access information about them, and they should be closed and your money withdrawn and deposited elsewhere. Latter might be a good idea even if it is not a joint account, psychologically making a fresh start.

    Re: the word “scheme” it is frequently used in the UK, as in “The government has rolled out the latest changes to pension schemes”, it does not have the pejorative sense it does in the US, where it is more often used as in “Ponzi scheme”. Friend in finance came from UK to US, had to remember not to refer to client retirement savings as their “schemes”, he wondered why he got alarming looks at first!

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