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What to do when you get screwed, financially?  Stories I’ve heard:

One senior’s  husband secretly maxed out their joint $10K line of credit, for his own purposes, knowing full well that he did not and would not have the wherewithal to pay it back.   She was stuck with the debt,  and the lost dreams of her own.   This was years ago.   She’s paid off the debt,  but the resentment remains.

A middle aged man had worked very hard as the sole breadwinner in his marriage, only to lose the home and be driven to bankruptcy after the divorce.   Now, anytime he begins to long for romance again, he backs off because there’s no way he’s trusting another woman with his money again.

And then there was the young woman who moved across the country for a job offer, only to find herself in a crazy-making work environment, with far less earning potential than she’d been led to believe.   She eventually moved on, but figures she lost about two years of her career plus the loss of income plus the moving expenses.

And without disclosing the painful details, I’ve personally experienced what can only be described as a serious rip-off, and I bet you may have, too.

These experiences leave their scars:   Raw spots that still have the capacity to elicit expletives or angry, wet eyes.

How do we recover?

There is no “how to” or technical answer- as is  often the case, with money issues.  It’s a matter of life experience, maturity and our ability to absorb injustice without becoming a victim, or feeling diminished.

We can start by validating that indeed we suffered an injustice.  We took a hit.

We must also accept the painful truth that a lot – (!) – of injustice is perpetrated not just in tyrant-ruled countries “somewhere else” but right in our midst.

But our experience is not the end of our story, nor its defining moment.  It’s just one piece of the ups-and-downs of our financial lives.   A wide angle lens of our life, set in the context of this whole world of ours, serves us well.   We can learn to forgive, we can regain lost financial ground, and we can get on with our lives in relative ease compared to the people around the world facing systemic injustice the likes of which we’ll never face.  And besides, imho, while we may have lost some money, the perpetrators lost some of their soul.

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. It’s about moving on, isn’t it? You can’t change the past, but you can change the future.


    Nov 03, 2008
  2. Nothing about poisoning, eh? Oh well, I’ll just have to go to Plan B.


    Nov 03, 2008
  3. brad

    It’s also important to keep in mind that most of our “being screwed” experiences are specific, rather than generic. You were screwed by a specific person, and it doesn’t mean the next person who comes into your life in the same role (partner, spouse, business associate, whatever) is going to screw you too. Furthermore you can take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen. In the case of the guy who lost it all in a divorce, he could insist on maintaining separate finances if he decides to get married again.


    Nov 05, 2008
  4. @raincoaster sorry! 😉

    @missthrifty and @brad Yes. Past, specific experiences are not determinants of the future, ever. Sometimes it takes a while to regain equilibrium and move forward, but it’s always possible.


    Nov 06, 2008
  5. @Brad I agree, but I know about a more generic problem – the recent stock market crash. Many of us got screwed by the market. Now as I see my investment portfolio, I try to figure out if I will actually be able to overcome these losses ever, and if yes, how long the wait is going to be. Unfortunately though, I also think that nobody has got the answer to this.


    Nov 12, 2008


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