If your husband is controlling with money, you may want to consider becoming financially independent from him. What I mean by financial independence is having the ability to sustain yourself financially without support from your husband.
I know that this may seem impossible right now, but I am telling you it's not.
Not only will financial independence from your husband give you peace of mind, it will also give you options if the relationship becomes intolerable and has to end. The last thing you want is to be in a position where you can't support yourself and your kids (if you have any). But even if your relationship with your husband is great right now, it doesn't hurt to gain your financial independence in case things change.
With that in mind, here are 7 things you can do to become financially independent from your husband.
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The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
1. Have Your Own Income Source (We Show You How)
Nothing is more important than this one.
If you don't have your own source of income, you will never be financially independent from your husband. If you already have a full-time job that can pay for all of your living expenses, you are set in this area. But I suspect many of you are stay at home moms or are not otherwise not active in the workforce. If that's the case, you will need to find ways to earn extra money on the side from home.
My favorite option here is blogging. You can write about any topic you like, but some of the more popular topics include food (recipes), DIY, fitness, lifestyle, beauty and fashion, personal finance, travel, and parenting. The topic you write about is often referred to as a “niche.”
Of course, I would be completely remiss if I failed to mention one of the biggest blogging niches out there: “mommy” blogs. There are moms out there who have started their own blogs and write about a host of topics aimed at helping other moms, including recipes, parenting tips, recommendation on side gigs, couponing strategies, etc.
Blogging can be a terrific way to make some extra money because you can do it from home in your spare time. Also, the cost of starting one is very cheap. Finally, the cherry on top is that this is 100% your thing and you can nurture and grow it until it becomes something worth being really proud of.
To learn more about how to start a blog (including setting up the website, selecting your niche, getting traffic to your blog, and monetizing that traffic), check out my article on Passive Income Blogging.
Ok, this one is perhaps the most obvious option for making some extra money. Again, I have selected options that can be done from home and in your spare time.
The best thing about freelancing is that, unlike blogging, you can reliably make a decent amount of money because essentially you are taking on a small job and trading your time/skills for money. Blogging is great, but you have to get a lot of things right if you want to make real money doing it.
So, what are some great freelance jobs that you can take on?
- Be a Virtual Assistant (you can offer your services on Fiverr) or any of the other major gig websites. Pretty simple and straightforward.
- Be a Freelance Writer. If you have a talent for writing, you can offer your services as a freelance writer. Sign up at Fiverr, Upwork or any of the various side gig platforms that offer writing services.
- Design Logos if you have an artistic side. Again, this is another popular service that you can offer through Fiverr. Don't worry about having to get expensive software to create the designs – you can just sign up for canva.com and create the logos there (it's free).
There are many other freelancing jobs you can explore where you can work from home and do the work in your spare time. I would just go onto a site like Fiverr and check out the various services being offered there (it's a really wide variety, including graphics, digital marketing, writing, video, music lessons, programming, data, business and lifestyle).
I suspect that you will find something that catches your eye and lines up with your skills and interests. If you gain a reputation and start doing really well, you can transition your freelancing services into a real, sustainable, business. The sky's the limit at that point.
Easy and Small Side Hustles (That Can Add Up)
Maybe the ideas we covered are a bit intimidating. I get it.
You can start small instead. For example, you can earn a little extra money by taking surveys in your spare time. You won't achieve financial independence just taking surveys, but every little bit can help.
One of the leading survey sites is Inbox Dollars. They are a legit company that pays you actual cash (not points, etc.) to take surveys, watch videos, and read emails. You can also get cash rebates for playing video games, using free coupons, and shopping online. By using this link, you'll also get a $5 bonus just for signing up. There are no fees and no obligation, so it's just free money.
If you want an additional option, you can try Life Points. They are another company that pays you for taking surveys (they have paid over $22 million to its members just this year). You can redeem points you earn from taking surveys and get Amazon e-gift cards or even get paid in cash through Paypal.
For even more great ideas that are truly passive and free to use (I am talking like no upfront work involved, no ongoing work, etc.), check out my article on 15 ways to make truly passive income without any money required.
2. Get Your Own Checking and Savings Accounts
Once you have a reliable income coming in, you need to start establishing a separate financial identity. That means opening up your own checking and savings accounts. You can go to any of the big money center banks and open up a checking account, although you may want to shop around and find a bank that will allow you to open up an account without fees.
If you have a local credit union, that can be a great choice.
As for a savings account, I would actually not go to one of the brick and mortar banks. There are a ton of high yield online savings accounts that will beat traditional banks as far as giving you a better interest rate.
Aspiration is an option that you may want to explore. If you happen to be socially or environmentally conscious, they seem committed to that as well. Aspiration offers digital banking services, no fees, unlimited free ATM withdrawals, and unlimited cash back on debit card spending. They also give 10% of their earnings to charity.
3. Save Up an Emergency Fund
So you have your new checking and savings accounts. Now you want to make sure that money from your job, blog or side hustle is going into those accounts (or at least a good portion of it is). You want to eventually build up enough money for a rainy day.
The math is simple. Having a healthy amount of money in your account that you can tap in an emergency will help you sleep better at night. On the flip side, if you don't have any money you can easily access in a crisis, that can be a recipe for disaster.
4. Start Investing (Your Future Depends on It)
Once you have funded your emergency fund (I think between $1,000 – $5,000 is about right, depending on your situation), you should start investing (and most importantly planning for your retirement). For most people, that means funding your 401(k) if you work for an employer that offers one, or funding an IRA if you don't have access to a 401(k).
Try to save at least 10% of your pay and invest it in your retirement account. No one can guarantee your financial welfare during retirement as well as you can. If you start saving now, your future self will thank you.
5. Make Sure Your Credit Score Is In Good Shape
The next step in building out your financial independence from your husband is making sure your credit score is solid.
Why is having a good credit score important? In todays' world, a credit score is basically the adult version of a report card. If you want to someday rent an apartment, they are going to pull your credit. Want to finance the purchase of a house or car – they'll pull your credit. Same thing goes for applying to many jobs. Bottom line is that your credit score is important if you want to establish a strong financial identity for yourself.
So how do you get a good credit score? First, you need to check your credit report and credit score. The FTC requires the three credit reporting agencies to provide a free credit report to you every 12 months. You can get your free credit report here.
You will have to go to a different source to find out your credit score. Experian offers a low-cost option for that.
If your credit score is solid, that’s great. You are ahead of the game!
But if your credit score is not as high as you’d like, take a look at your credit report to see what needs to be addressed. You can steadily raise your score over time. Generally speaking, get current and stay current on your bills – that seems to be the most important factor.
6. Get Your Own Credit Card
Once your credit profile is in decent shape, you should get a credit card in your own name and start building up your credit profile further.
A credit card not only helps you build your credit profile, it can serve as a source of emergency funds if needed. Now credit cards can be extremely dangerous if misused, so you should obviously use them responsibly. I always pay off my balances each month. That way, I get to keep points or cash back rewards without paying a penny in interest to the credit card companies. That's the right way to use credit cards (and you get to make a little bit of extra money for free!).
The wrong way is to carry a balance each month and just pay the minimum payment. You're going to be paying a ton of interest to the credit card companies over the long term. That means you'll be going backwards financially so definitely don't do that!
7. Know Your Collective Assets and Debts
Some husbands who are extremely controlling do not like to share information about the couple's financial resources or debts. This is not acceptable. You should try your best to become more knowledgeable about your combined finances (including everything that you own as a couple, such as real estate, investments, cars, jewelry, valuables and other personal property).
Perhaps even more importantly, you need to know what types of debt are out there. I have heard horror stories of people who have racked up huge debts (through gambling, uncontrolled shopping, reckless business investments, etc.) and have kept it secret from their spouse.
Don't let that happen. Be an active and knowledgeable participant in your family's finances. You don't want to be just a passenger along for the ride: Put your hand on the steering wheel too and help steer your family toward prosperity and happiness.
So there you have it – 7 key things you should do if you want to achieve financial independence from your husband.
For more tips on how to gain control of your finances, check out my article on the five pillars of personal finance. I cover in detail how to gain control of debt, conquer budgeting, maximize your income, and invest for the future.