Why I'm Starting a 'Screw You' Account For My Daughter

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istock.com/altanaka

My friend B is a stay-at-home mom. She loves her two children but fears her husband. She knows he’s cheating on her and she knows he has issues with alcohol. When he has been drinking, he can be cruel and physical with her. As her friend, I desperately want her to leave him. She wants to leave too, but one thing stands in her way: money.

B married young and hasn’t worked outside the home in years. She has no money in her own name and barely has a credit score. She doesn’t have the cash for a security deposit for a rental house. She’s not sure if should could find a job that would pay enough to cover the costs of childcare, especially if her husband decided to be vindictive about money stuff. 

Her friends are trying to help her as much as we can, but there is no denying that she feels trapped.

  • This could all be so different if B had a “screw you” account.

    istock.com/milkos

    A “screw you” account is a stash of money that every woman should have. I totally believe that whether it is hundreds or thousands of dollars, every woman needs money that is only in her name. That money should be something her partner doesn’t know about and can't access. Although some people might feel like couples shouldn’t keep financial secrets from each other, I think having a secret stash of money is a way to make women safer. I suspect there are a lot of women like B, stuck in a bad situation that having money could solve. 

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  • For my friend, a few thousand dollars might be all it would take to get a fresh start for her and her kids.

    I'm so convinced that every woman should have money that would give her the freedom to walk away from a bad relationship, that I'm already starting to save for my daughter. She's no where near needing it yet, but some day she might. 

  • One of the gifts I plan to give my daughter is the ability to walk away from a bad relationship.

     


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    In addition to the “birds and bees” conversations, I think parents have an obligation to talk to their children, especially their daughters, about healthy relationships. As my daughter gets older, I want her to understand that love shouldn’t mean abuse and that she should never feel afraid to walk away or ask for help if she is with a partner who hurts her. Someday, I’ll also tell her that there is a savings account with her name on it that she can access in the event that she needs to walk (or run) from someone who hurts her.

  • I’m not sure I’ll be able to ever fully fund a college fund for my kids, but I know I can put away $5 a week from now until she is an adult.

     I hope she’ll never need it. I hope she finds a love that is healthy, safe, and supportive. But if that isn’t the case, I’ll be damned if I haven’t given her the gift of the ability to take control of her own life.

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