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Are you honest with yourself about money? Are you less than honest with your spouse about your purchases? How about a private bank account or credit card your spouse doesn’t know about?
50% of married adults admitted to keeping money secrets from their spouse (self.com survey). Why is that? Infidelity is any form of unfaithfulness or disloyalty to a moral obligation or spouse. Most think it only applies to sexual and emotional affairs and overlooks the financial aspect.
Money has been cited, through several research centers, as one of the top three reasons for divorce. We all act and react to money, its benefits, its temptations, and its consequences differently. The way we handle money is largely due to our personal experiences. Financial infidelity isn’t cheating as commonly defined, but the effects are just as damaging.
Financial infidelity is any money related conduct that involves one spouse lying to the other (including lying by omission) resulting in a lack of trust, feelings of betrayal, and financial insecurities. People cover up any money behavior they think their spouse will disapprove of. Credit Sesame lists full control of finances with no input from other spouse, suspicious withdrawals from accounts, and failure to face money discussions head on as signs of financial infidelity.
How do you prevent financial infidelity from happening in your marriage or stop it from continuing?
1. Communication: Before marriage, you should have gotten a full understanding of one another’s financial standing. Create and execute a plan as to how you will resolve the problem areas in either financial footprint.
2. Budgeting: Regularly discuss your money. The budget for your household expenses, individual & family savings, tithing/gifting, and spending money. A simple formula to follow is give 10% of gross, save 10% of gross, and spend the remainder. I recommend, at the minimum, a monthly discussion where both parties participate and be heard.
3. Financial Goals: Set aside an amount to be used at your discretion. Be honest and reasonable with how much you can afford to spend. Be sure to consider long-term goals as well.
4. Joint Accounts: Eliminate or grant both parties access to any individual accounts. I suggest depositing all funds into a joint account and automatically transferring “spending money” to individual accounts if you choose to use them. Individual accounts play a large role in some spouses feeling independent and, therefore, to them are non-negotiable.
Remember, it’s not about control but accountability. We are accountable to our spouses and for our family’s wealth. Our financial behaviors affect our families at large and, therefore, should be managed accordingly.
Listen to Tretta Discuss Money Matters on The Doctor of Love Show Podcast!