Financial infidelity is the act of keeping secret various spending habits or purchases, credit cards, stashes of money, accounts, debt, etc. from ones spouse or partner. Often times, however, many adults in the United States when they consider infidelity are not thinking about financial infidelity. However financial infidelity is more common in marriages than you might think.
According to a recent survey performed by Harris Interactive on behalf of Coupon Cabin.com 41% of married people in the United states have hidden a purchase from their spouse. What’s even more scary is that this survey goes on to show that 45% of all divorced/separated couples in the United States found “financial skeletons in the closet”of their spouse.
Needless to say financial infidelity is not an infidelity to consider lightly.
Last week I offered up a list of 50 Money Questions to Consider Before Marriage for those who are on the path towards marriage, but what are some steps you can take after you are married to prevent the heartache that can be caused by financial infidelity?
1. Get to Know the Financial Habits of Your Spouse:
Each person comes into a marriage with an image of how they see themselves financially, their own financial backgrounds, and their own financial experiences. Because no persons’ backgrounds are ever exactly the same and spending habits are different for everyone, it is important to take the time to get to know your spouse financially. Understanding what their spending habits are and the motivations behind those spending habits can help you both make a plan that will satisfy everyones financial needs within your marriage.
2. Create a Financial Plan Together:
After frank discussions have happened regarding spending habits, future goals, etc., setting up a plan together and both of you agreeing to stick to the plan can alleviate any misunderstandings a couple might have regarding spending or saving.
3. Set Up a Regular Financial Talk Time:
A birth of a child, a job change, etc. can affect a couple’s financial situation. Because of these changes it is most important for couples to hash out financial issues on a regular basis. Both to make sure that the plans that they have developed together are actually working despite these changes, and that their plans continue to move them forward towards their agreed upon financial goals for their family.
4. Track Your Spending:
Whether you set up a joint method or you decide to each individually track your finances, a method for tracking needs to be set up to provide accountability to the financial plan that you have set up together. Also, tracking your expenses together can help you tweak and improve upon any plans that you have created.
5. Create a Free Spending Money Pool:
If you have room in your budget I found that each spouse getting a portion of their income to use as they will can help alleviate resentments that can build up when you are trying to develop new spending habits together. The key to this part of the plan, however, is that the other spouse cannot comment, criticize or even praise how the other spouse has spent or saved their money. You see emotions and spending personalities can often send the best laid plans off track. Creating this free spending money category can offer a release valve for the spouse or spouses that may feel too confined by the new plan despite the fact that the the plan was developed together.
Finally and most importantly…
6. Be Honest:
Nobody goes into a marriage looking to deceive the other spouse. After all, you love who you are marrying and part of loving somebody is respecting them. If you are finding the need to deceive your spouse financially whether it be the truth about your debt, your credit score, of the fact that you are secretly a billionaire, take the time to sit down and figure out why before the financial infidelity occurs. Often times your need to deceive your spouse about money can be an indicator of a deeper lying problem within the marriage.
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