My Husband Is in Finance. He Is Brilliant. Lost His Job in 2011. - Missoula,MT

Updated on May 30, 2017
H.K. asks from Missoula, MT
18 answers

Started his own mutual fund. Told me "all will be fine", "we might struggle for a few years". Well, now it's 6 years later. He went through his entire IRA. 600,000. We were 100,000 in CC debt. Had to sell my dream home in the best neighborhood in the best town in Southern California. 10 minutes from beach. I now live in Montana. He promised a big salary and to make things better. Nope. He miscalculated salary, budgeted wrong, so much more. I had to leave my life and continued to believe him. He told me I was paranoid when I asked questions.
He was very convincing. Said I should go on medication because I was so depressed. I have 3 boys including one on the spectrum. Today I found out that he also lost 25,000 from my IRA. I gave him access 15 years ago when he was thriving in the finance world.
I can't leave because I have 3 young boys. If I divorce it's split down the middle and my savings is more than his because I started putting my salary in my own account. UGH. I want to move back to Ca and get a job and struggle and leave him. Jurisdiction laws prevent that.
I have already spoken to lawyers, 9 marriage counselors. a mediator. They all tell me I should leave. Financially I am scared to death. He is not violent or loud, just in denial and almost like a gambling mentality.
He is a decent dad and the boys love him. UGH!!! Suggestions??!!

What can I do next?

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answers from Anchorage on

My FIL was hesitant to leave my sister because of the financial hit his accounts would take, well after an extra 10 years the amount he paid out was much larger than had he just left her when they first wanted it. I am just saying, yes you may have to pay out when you leave him but the longer you build up money the more you will end up paying him when you finally do leave. Just another way of looking at it.

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answers from Chicago on

Your husband is a gambling addict (not maybe....IS).

The problem is your denial.
You not dealing with your denial has allowed all this to happen a second time (in Montana).

"He is very convincing"
"Continued to believe him"
"Not violent or loud"
"Decent dad"......These are phrases of someone in denial for a long time.....YOU!

You don't need a marriage counselor...there is no marriage to save.
You need a licensed therapist who is certified in addictions to help you understand gambling addiction and what steps you need to take to protect your children and stop enabling your husband.

My suggestion is that you call an addictions therapist ASAP for an appointment, and call Gamblers Anonymous and ask where they have self-help meetings for family members and go.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have no idea what we could possibly say when you've already gotten advice from at least 11 professionals, and you've chosen to ignore all of them.

I'm not trying to be harsh. I'm concerned for you. I think you are in denial and you need to go back to those professionals and take steps to secure your future for your and your kids.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Why can't you take back control of your OWN finances? I get that you would have to pay him if you divorced (although a good attorney could probably argue that you've already "paid" him $25K out of your IRA and part of the credit card debt repayments). I'm simply talking about cutting him off from taking anything else out of your IRA or borrowing against your 401k. Change your passwords and tell him he can't borrow any more.

Then get him into counseling with you if you want to make your marriage work. If he's a good dad, let him be that and give up on the dream that he's going to take care of you and the kids. All you talk about is what YOU lost. You're not taking any ownership of the fact that you are complicit in letting him loose all this money. Put your foot down, if not for yourself, then for your sons. If he can't live with that, then make an exit strategy.

And stop blaming him, a marriage is a partnership. It's up to the both of you to decide how best to manage your money. I'm sorry he's managed it so poorly and yes, you are on the losing side of this equation. But you made the decision to go along with his ideas instead of protecting yourself and your family. Now make the decision to clean up this mess.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

A co-worker of mine was married to a man who had his own very successful business. They had a very nice lifestyle. Turns out he was gambling. Lost everything. She was told to divorce him - to protect herself and the children. I don't know the details, but it was a rocky road for a bit, but ultimately she became much happier.

It sounds like hell quite frankly. My advice would be to divorce. My co-worker had a very understanding boss and a good support system. Reach out to those who will support you and start making it happen. It does not mean the boys can't still be close to their father. You've been lied to here - maybe he does have an addiction. Doesn't matter. It doesn't sound like he's gotten help and this has been going on too long and more damage has been done.

Put yourself first - you have to, in order to be the best mom to your kids and for your future. Sometimes we think sticking with it is the only option - it is not. You will be more unhappy and more resentful over time. Act now. Best to you.

ETA: Good advice from the others regarding being in denial. My only other thought is - you're not helping him by staying. No one is being helped here. You're in denial - he's in denial - something has to change in order for change to happen. It's going to have to be you. Look at it that way.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Your husband is not brilliant. I'm so sorry this happened to you but you sound like you are in denial. You need to leave him now. I know you are worried that you will only get half of what little money is left, but if you stay with him, eventually there won't be ANY money left.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I'm so sorry. This is very depressing. He has no business telling you to go on medication, but you might have real depression because of HIM...maybe medication could help you manage, but it won't solve the problem of HIM...

I don't know what the jurisdiction laws are that you mention. I guess it means that you can't leave the state with your children? Under what conditions CAN you leave the state? Joint custody?

If I were you, I would separate your finances at this point and if there's anything left of your IRA, revoke his power of attorney. Surely the attorneys have given you a list of things to do before announcing your intention to leave him?

I think if I were in your shoes, I'd give him an ultimatum AFTER you have done your homework. Either he finds a job working for someone ELSE (not self-employed) that pays the bills, or you will divorce him. And do if he doesn't find a job OR if he continues this pie-in-the-sky endeavor to run a fund. Either way, he will keep you tied to him in debt forever. You will never be able to trust him - you already know that. He has betrayed you SO completely already...He will continue to use you and you'll be looked at as complicit in losing people's money if he starts another business and it fails too. It will be even worse if he eventually resorts to a Ponzi scheme or swindles his investors. And if he DOES, you will be a pariah. Just look at Bernie Madoff's wife. And you have never been in her very wealthy circumstances.

I knew a man who on a smaller scale than Madoff, swindled his investors. His whole business was a lie and his wife and kids did not know. They lived high on the hog, so to speak. When the Madoff scandel hit the news, people started to worry and asked him for their investments back. He knew the gig was up, and went to work and put a pistol in his mouth. He left it all for her to deal with. She lost EVERYTHING. And I mean everything...

That was a man who would not admit to his gambling weakness. That was a man who was in denial. That was a man who didn't care enough about his wife to work with the authorities to even TRY to take care of her so that she would have more than social security to live off of. At least Bernie Madoff did THAT for his wife...

What kind of man would YOUR husband be if he started the slippery slope of doctoring monthly statements and hiding market losses?

And even if you had a life insurance policy on him, his creditors would take it from you...

You might have a really hard time getting on your feet after leaving him, and it might be a hard row to hoe for a long time, but you wouldn't have to live with the shame of what he may heap on others, using you to unwittingly help him do to them...

I know this sounds awful, and you may think that he would never stoop THAT far. That's what we often think of gamblers. But read about a gambling addiction and what it can do. I knew someone who knew Bernie Madoff personally, and he was absolutely gobsmacked that Madoff could have done what he did. He said that Madoff was one of the most charming people he had met, and this came from a finance guy who worked with securities authorities to police the industry. It was a real blow to him because HE didn't see it coming, being in the job he was in. And he said very few things surprised him...but Madoff did... and that's really saying something.

I was shocked about the guy who killed himself and left his wife to pick up the terrible pieces. My point is that you can't just assume your husband wouldn't cross this line. Even if he didn't, but continued to drain you of your financial health and your physical health and spirit, can you live with wondering when the shoe will drop, AGAIN?

I wish you much luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Wheres the brilliant part?
He's got a gambling addiction
Maybe he'll agree to not take any of the $$$ you saved since he screwed you royally
Has he been to marriage counseling or gamblers addiction counseling?

I would tell him to go to gambling counseling or divorce and he would have to sign an agreement not to include your assets in the divorce and to let you move back to CA...don't know till you try.

BTW I sure as heck would know if my husband was losing money left and right. How did you not know and put a stop to this long ago? Probably cause he has you convinced that he's 'brilliant'....time to put your foot down and look through everything with a fine tooth comb

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I am so sorry you are in this situation. Since everyone you spoke to knows your situation better than I, I would say you have to leave. California would be way too expensive for you to live at this time so I would either move near family or stay in Montana where the living expenses would be lower and you could get on your feet. I can't imagine dealing with this. I wish you all the best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like you've spoken to over 10 professionals who are telling you the same thing. As my MIL would say, time to sh*t or get off the pot.

Sorry to be crass. But I think you are feeling very stuck, and indeed you are. You pretty much only have two options, stay with him and this exact same situation you are already living because it *will* continue, or leave him and struggle independently, in your own way on your own terms.

I agree that you should stay nearby for the kids' sake if you split up. Clearly, moving back to CA is not in your near future, but have some perspective that it CAN BE in your future, someday. You need to establish financial independence first and a good co-parenting relationship with your ex, before you can entertain ideas of moving back to the motherland. One step at a time. Right now you are taking no steps. At the least, if you stay with him, you should be taking some steps to get your finances cleaned up, and take back some control of your family's financial situation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!

If your husband is brilliant? You would NOT be in this situation and he wouldn't have been unemployed for 6 years.

Talk with an attorney and find out your options to make sure you have all the correct information.

I would NOT leave without a job in place.
I would NOT leave without a lawyer telling you you CAN leave with the kids and it won't be considered kidnapping. Get it IN WRITING that you are NOT breaking any laws if you take the boys and go to California for a job.

Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Why did he lose his job in the first place? Was it for the same reason? I suspect so. He most likely did not tell you the truth. You must leave. Do it now. You must save yourselves or he will drown you all. Fact is he he love gambling ( aka his work) more than all of you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You don't say if you still have debt, only the loss of your IRA's.

He is a decent dad and the boys love him. Hopefully there is something you love about him, despite his "gambling" addiction. Is there a way to keep your finances separate and you take control of all the finances, from here on out? I would have my husband on a very tight financial leash if he were irresponsible with money.

I don't see divorce as the answer. He will still be in debt and you will still have to support your boys. It will actually be cheaper for the two of you to remain together, as long as he doesn't have access to the money. I agree with Marie's advice.

Good luck, it's a terrible pickle you're in.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Sounds like he's in denial about your families financial situation.
Playing with financial markets is a LOT like gambling - I'd say he has some sort of a gambling addiction.
In order to protect your kids and your finances - you may HAVE to divorce him.
Talk to Gambling Anonymous and follow your lawyers advice.
He's going to bleed you all dry if you let him.
Divorcing him might cut your savings initially, but you'll have cut your losses and can grow them again while his money keeps going down the drain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You're in a really difficult situation and I'm sorry to hear about it. Ive got to ask... have you talked to these marriage counselors and mediator by yourself, or together? If not together, WHY not? A marriage counselor cannot help a couple who do not attend together, and a mediator cannot mediate a conversation with one person only. It's only fair that you are both included in these conversations with professionals who are supposed to be helping the collective you. Now if he refuses to go, that's another story.

I don't know much about Montana family law but I do know that it's not a community property state like California. So you might not have to "give him money" if you divorce. You might want to talk to more than one attorney if you have not already.

In the meantime, you individually need to talk to a financial advisor to assess your true personal financial situation. Find out what you should be doing with your assets to protect them and keep them working for you - and your kids, if you decide to divorce. That might mean changing passwords on your accounts, moving funds to new accounts, doing different things with your salary, whatever. Start taking control of the things you CAN control.

And please, I don't know who these 9 counselors have been, but you should get some counseling for *yourself*. He may not be abusive but he sounds really manipulative. He's not a mental health professional but he "diagnosed" you as depressed and in need of medication, and you did what he said? No, that's not healthy. You need to figure out yourself what you need and want, and get some support (legal, mental health, etc) to make that happen.

Good luck and take care.



answers from Minneapolis on

I'm sorry, but I would leave him, like so many others have advised you. I would rather be poor divorced, and single, than sit around and watch all of my assets be drained behind my back. If I were in your shoes I would be screaming "Enough!" But you still have 3 kids together that need both of their parents. So I would resign myself to building an independent life in Montana, close to your kid's father. Make a long term plan to move back to California once your youngest is grown. Try to visit as often as you can afford and make maintaining your California friends/connections a priority. Perhaps by the time your children are young adults, they will choose to establish themselves in California near you



answers from Los Angeles on

Your husband needs help. Like an addict needs help. Does he know this? Have you talked with him about how his behavior resembles an addicts? If you haven't, it's time.



answers from Oklahoma City on

So, I know you think you are broke but it sounds like you have money. Not enough money to live in California but to have a home and life without him.

I think you need to care for your own money, all of it.

If you need more than a couple thousand per month to live on then you have a whole lot of areas you can cut back on.

Most people, whole families, normal people, live on just a couple thousand per month and have homes, vehicles, food on the table, and the rest of it. Some people think they need a lot more to live on but that's just because that's how they've come to view the world.

I have several friends who live on less than $700 per month due to being disabled. They pay rent and utilities and have food. You can cut back and manage your own money and live a good life.

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