Spending and risky behaviour

My husband who has SPMS, diagnosed 16 years ago at age 51, but long history of symptoms.
Has difficulty in rationalising the real value of money. Has on a number of occasion sought out ways of mengaging in investment trading. First time he lost over 4k by accessing a scam global trading website giving them control of our bank account and his laptop. The only reason it was 4k is because I’d come home from work, unexpectedly and literally ‘pulled the plug’ on the laptop. He was convinced he was doing a good thing and this activity would make us rich. He’d given them access to a credit card and they literally helped themselves. Would not accept that it was a scam and card provider wouldn’t cover as he’d willingly given access.
That was around 5 or 6 years ago now.
At that point we agreed he would have a bank card that had limitations and spend, this was suggested by our bank.
A while after that, once again he sought out another investment trading co and somehow managed to give our bank detail resulting in £500 taken, once again recognised scam not a legit investment trading site.
I managed to get that refund by our bank, as they were aware of the concerns and hadn’t stopped the transactions.
Now he’s accessed another couple of trading sites and has invested using a PayPal account as there is instant credit of £1200 interest free for 4months. Activity started last November he’s ran ip a debt of £920.
Some investments other transactions he doesn’t recognise and he says he can’t remember. The arrival of a snart watch ddluvety alerted me to his spending. Which incidentally arrived on my birthday, but a gift to himself not me!
The entire situation with his inability to behave responsible over our financial security is beyond upsetting.
He doesn’t have any cards attached to the PayPal account to process payments against, and obviously aware of this had to share what he’d been doing.
I’m at my wits end and don’t seem to be able to get through to him that this activity is similar to gambling addiction and it’s not safe and he’s squandering our savings on this activity, especially as his memory struggles to keep a handle on it.
What can i do? I’m close to seperating ftom him, as half of our home/savings is better than half of nothing! Peace of mind is priceless!! The stress he creates by his secretive behaviour is unbearable.
Ive put his lsptop away, and taken his phone while he’s sleeping just now - 3am this morning. I know i’m going to have to deal with the fall out of that action, but it’s lesser of the two evils.
He has access to money via the cash card I’ve set up. I top it ip as and when abd its always in credit if over 100£. I’m not financially controling or abusing him. Im trying to maintain our finances.
He told me about the investment trading when we had our grandchild in the car, which was a clever and manipulative thing to do as he knew i wouldnt have a head fit.
Advise please and tell me what i can do.

What an awful situation. I wish I knew what to suggest. Ideally you would have a financial Power of Attorney, but that might be hard to obtain now if you don’t have it already because the donor has to have capacity to consent to it, and it sounds as though your poor chap is already too far gone for that. That’s something to get legal advice on. I think. Or maybe he’s still OK enough in general and would be deemed to have capacity in general , but has just lost his marbles about money? That might still be OK. Your solicitor will probably have someone who specialises in these matters.

I would suggest you seek legal advice about how to protect you both from his recklessness.

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Thank you for taking time to comment. I think those are my options now. I’m hopefully going to speak to his gp tomorrow as he needs a full assessment by the complex care team. His mental and physical health is all rolled into his general need. He does have capacity, and it may be that with, if this is legal, some encouragement from his gp, that it is in his best interest to agree to a POA. we also have 3 adult children/sons that all agree that access to the Internet is not safe.
He is jeopardising both of our financial circumstances.
He has been sectioned, 2 years ago, as a result of attempting to take his life and proposals only last sept asling his consultant about Switzerland. His physical capacity really is not bad, he’s able to walk, albeit shirt distances, has a hobby with wood work, whi h we are constantly funding, yes, I’m aware he has cognition issues, but is able to be manipulative and use investment trading websites albeit irresponsibly.
Next is CAB and my solicitor.
I’ve had covid this weekend which has made it hard finding the energy to deal with everything.
I’m currently out with my dog, and im actually fearful of going home as he is verbally agressive and although i don’t believe woukd physically harm me, its very unpleasant and i can’t be certain. This is the first time i’ve felt like this. But understandably he sees having his phone taken as an infringement on his rights.

When was his last MRI?

Maybe he needs another one? It is entirely possible that damage in certain regions can cause a personality change and an inability to assess risk?
I’ve kind of done it myself, all be it on a much smaller scale.

If he does have damage in an area that could cause this behaviour, it would be helpful to all concerned to have this highlighted.


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I think you might be right. Hopefully gp will be supportive today.
Some of this behaviour was evident many years ago, its just escalated now and is less easy for him to deceive due to general lack of capacity. Hesza very unhappy and discontent man, despite having a lovely family and grandchildren close by, doesn’t appear to take pleasure from anything. It is difficult to see if this will ever change. I don’t think I want to live my life in this negatively.

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tough read, hope all works out for you

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I have just come apon this whilst searching for managing money and MS, you describe pretty much the exact same scenario that I am currently going through with my wife.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had discussions about finances as it became evident that my wife was struggling to manage money, it started with spending more than came in.

We set budgets for living expenses etc but I don’t think that it really registers, it is very hard as my wife comes across very well and people would not notice her disability in a one off meeting.

The finacial side has got progressivley worse and she has also signed up to some trading platform which she was very excited about, when I looked into it further I could see that it was a scam, fortunatley it was only £250 and we have managed to get the money back.

Move forward 2 weeks and the same has happened again, my wife completley conviced that it is legitimate and endorsed by Holly Willoughby and that I am being overly cautious.

We have a joint account for all bills which we pay into to seperate from day to day spends, this is now also causing an issue as if she over spends then she will just take from the joint account which gives the potential for the mortgage etc to not be paid.

I have noticed that when my wife has a relapse the money management get worse, I am trying to work out how we can move forward without my wife feeling that I am taking away some of her freedoms.

Welcome to my world johnboy
Doesn’t it just drive you insane :rage:
Thankfully I’ve just recovered £644 of the £800 ‘investment’ just decided to cut my losses and cash in the shares before they lost more value. My son helped me do this. Other items are just completely money down the swanny!
Im hoping to get advice from CAB (sadly i missed their call yesterday due to trying to sort out the trading and PayPal. But hopeful of them speaking to me next week now.
It’s so hard to know how to proceed as like you, i don’t want, but need, to safeguard our financial security by removing access. I’m hoping he will agree to a POA, but need CAB to guide me so not to waste more money with solicitors than absolutely necessary.
Like your wife, my husband is excited and is unable to accept that he really doesn’t have capacity to engage in this type of activity. Many of us don’t to be honest and the site he’d accessed warned that 85% of traders lost money in the short term. Unfortunately this was no deterrent!
I’d be interested to know if you put anything in place. Thankfully I’m home most of the time, dont have a mortgage - but I’d like to keep it that way!!!
So sorry for your situation.
I thought I’d covered all bases by setting up a cash card - but PayPal offer 4 months interest free credit. You might want to keep an eye on that. My husband couldn’t link to our bank account otherwise could have been a lot worse, although i would have seen the transactions sooner.

Hi, I’m no expert but this reminds me very much of my son. He doesn’t have MS but so many of the things you mentioned re your husband are things that I have experienced with my son. I know you said your husband has been sectioned in the past and seems like he’s getting good medical care. Has it ever been suggested that he may be bipolar, or maybe a dissociative identity disorder. My son has the later and does take risks, has no concept of money and frequently completely in denial. He’s a nice lad so it’s heartbreaking when he becomes abusive on top of it. I’m sure these are all things that have been considered, but if not would it do any harm to ask?
I really hope you get some answers for both your sakes.
And remember, look after your self and stay safe.

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Found your post interesting. Friend of mine is Bipolar and spends lots of money on counsellors who tell her that she is not Bipolar… her mobility deteriorated really badly during lockdown and she paid to see Private neurologists who tested her (MRI scan and lumbar puncture and other tests) and has only very recently admitted that she has been diagnosed with MS…she is now spending lots of money with an online lady in USA who says she can cure my friend’s MS and another friend of hers has told her to completely change her diet to non dairy and that if she takes lots of Choline she will get better and that the inflammation in her brain is getting better…she is spending lots of money and keeps telling me that she is getting better when I can see that her mobility is getting worse …as a friend I find it difficult to be supportive but I am quite worried about people around her taking advantage of her… She recently separated from her husband of many years and I think she is very vulnerable, although of course she doesn’t think she is!
Is this usual behaviour for people who have been recently diagnosed with MS?
Interestingly I now know 3 Bipolar women who have been diagnosed with MS …

Thank you for taking time to comment.
Is extremely sad, and i believe one of the many hidden symptoms of MS.
The determination my husband demonstrates when he is trying to justify his spending behaviour is extraordinary. Is definitely vulnerable and won’t be convinced otherwise, even by our rational, intelligent, adult children.
Action I’ve taken is to remove access to his laptop and smart phone. I’m now looking at getting him a conventional mobile phone, but need to ensure he doesnt get scammed by cold callers he’s given his number to in the past.
Maybe you can speak to a relative of your friend and at v least, express your concern about her vulnerability to be financially safe.
Could you encourage her to put a lasting power of attorney in place as a safety net? This won’t protect here at this present time, but if her situation worsens, she will at least have financial security going fwd.
MS shows itself in the most absurd ways.

I just wanted to say that I understand what you’re going through. My husband has an ‘I might be dead tomorrow’ attitude to money and it was only recently that I discovered he was £34k in debt across multiple loans and cards and maxed on his overdraft. I now pay for everything and keep the roof over our heads while carefully managing his income to start to pay his debts down. I have all his cards and monitor his accounts. He’s no longer able to spend anything other than put fuel in his car to go to work. It’s horrendous. I struggle most with the clear lying and deceit as we signed up for a life he couldn’t begin to afford. The nuts thing is he wage is a good wage! There was no need to get into debt at all… suffice to say I’m so sorry for you and hope you find a way through.

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It’s a constant battle to keep everything in check and my husband doesnt have any concept of finance or the need to continue to live within our means. He frequently makes me feel that I’m denying him access to his income, which is now only state pension and a small occupational pension. But to ensure we don’t overspend i need to manage finances.
We are currently in the process of completing Lasting Powers of Attorney for both of us in the hope that this will at least protect us should i become incapacitated. But that’s not fool proof!
Its the ongoing lies and deceitful behaviour that is most upsetting, but i genuinely do not think it is possible for him to stop.

My husband was livid when I suggested POA. So I’m biding my time on that one. There have been times when to walk would have been so much easier. I’m hopeful once the debt is gone we can get back on track but the spending is learnt behaviour so who knows if it will change. It’s the lack of responsibility for actions which are so tough. Feel free to let off steam with me anytime! x

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LPA are there to protect. They are not designed to take away control. If you have adult children it might be sometime for discussion. A LPA is only used if anyone no longer has capacity and this is a legal medical decision, nit anything you ir a family member could deploy. It can just stay there in the background and may never be called up. I wouldn’t suggest you appoint your husband as your attorney! Maybe another trusted relative or v close friend.
I doubt the behaviour will ever change, regarding taking responsibility, it certainly hasn’t in my case!
If you are young, and can plan a future away from this, my advice is to walk now as it will not get any better.