5 Ways to Kick Financial Infidelity Out of Your Marriage in 2018

BY: - 11 Jan '18 | Money

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Financial infidelity, like romantic infidelity, is rooted in deception, lying, and secrecy. Instead of holding your cards close to your chest when it comes to your relationship with another person, financial infidelity surfaces when you purposely mislead and withhold information about money and money matters.

In December 2010, Harris Interactive fielded the Financial Deception with Partners study on behalf of National Endowment for Financial Education. The study found that most American adults had combined their finances with their current and/or past spouse or partner (65%) and nearly 1 out of 3 adults (31%) have committed some form of financial deception.

Studies like these show that the majority of us want to create a collaborative financial foundation with our partners and that the majority have been financially faithful to our spouses and partners. But since nearly 1 out of 3 marriages that have combined finances engaged in some form of the following financial deceptions, this means that there is still room to engage in conversations about money, relationships, and trust. Here are some examples of what some couples might consider financial infidelity:

  • Opening secret bank accounts here or abroad
  • Opening up secret credit cards
  • Keeping quiet about large amounts of extra income
    Making big tickets purchases without getting the buy-in of the spouse
  • Making minor purchases without notifying your spouse
  • Lying about the cost of items
  • Intercepting mail to hide debt on a bill or statement
  •  Lying about having paid bills when you have not
  • Giving money to friends and family members without informing spouse
  • Keeping a “mad stash” (for women)
  • Hiding purchases (literally— i.e. pantries, basements, car trunks, closets, neighbor’s/friends homes) to avoid conversation about spending money.

The key to safeguarding your marriage from financial infidelity is the same tool that you need to increase your marriage’s financial intimacy: honest, solution-driven communication. As a team facing the world of emergency funds, retirement, college funds, home ownership, investments, it is crucial that you take the following into account to avoid financial disconnect and suspicion:

Play to Your Strengths but Keep Communication Open

In some marriages, there may be a “point-person” designated to manage the household finances because they are good at it and enjoy doing it. In instances like these, it is important that partners meet regularly to keep each other in the loop on the location of important documents (i.e. policies, bills, contracts, deeds) balances of bills, mortgages, and the acquisition of property and elicit their input about all money matters in the home.

Make Your Own Rules

I am a firm believer in doing what works for your marriage. No one lives your lives. My husband and I created the $75 rule for us based on our own beliefs and values about spending and freedom, despite what others may view as financial infidelity. We also decided to have both shared and joint accounts and create a separate “homeownership fund.” In the same spirit, you may want to create
your relationship’s “Laws of Financial Infidelity” based on your shared wants and desires for the financial integrity of your marriage and follow them accordingly.

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If both partners have access to all accounts, there is a greater chance that financial infidelity will decrease since it’s harder to hide secrets.

Use Technology to Fight against Financial Infidelity

Here is a beginning list of different online tools and resources for you to use to build a healthy and intimate financial future for yourself. Take advantage of these resources to monitor and track spending, debt elimination, savings, and other money-related goals.

  • YouNeedABudget.com is personal home budget software built with help you quickly gain control of your money, get out of debt, and reach your financial goals. The tool encourages you to decide where every dollar earned is going on a monthly basis, and then helps you make adjustments if you spend too much.
  • Mint.com pulls all your financial accounts into one place. Mint allows you to set a budget, track your goals and reduce the chance of financial infidelity.
  • CreditKarma.com allows you to access your free credit score with no hidden costs or obligations. Based on your score, you gain access to exclusive offers from companies that value your creditworthiness.

Keep Nosy Folk Out Of Your Money Matters

Allowing uninformed third parties to influence how you financially relate to your mate is sure to create problems in the marriage, in general, and how you communicate and act with money, in particular. If your friends encourage financial infidelity in your marriage, then they probably are not the best models for financial intimacy in your lives.

The journey toward financial intimacy begins with a shared commitment to understanding, communication, and solutions. And as with all journeys, there will be highs and lows, but remember, stay steadfast and anchor yourselves in the love that you have for one another and in the shared financial vision that you have for yourselves…and you will be alright.

BMWK, are you ready to kick financial infidelity out of your marriage?

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 150 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .

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Financial Intimacy: Key Questions You Must Ask Before You Tie the Knot

BY: - 25 Jan '18 | Money

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I spent the majority of my twenties and the early part of my thirties scratching and clawing my way out of student loan debt, establishing my financial priorities, and aligning my spending with my values. So, when I started dating and being receptive to sharing my life with someone, I knew, for sure, that I needed a spouse that held similar financial beliefs to my own. I was not trying to go back into anybody’s debt.

The air on the other side of debt was too fresh and too clean. Too breezy. Six months after meeting my husband, he started hinting about “putting five on it” and long-term commitment. While the feelings were mutual, I did not allow my feelings to override my common sense. Before getting married, my husband and I had several in-depth conversations about all aspects of our future married life: no area was spared examination—especially our respective financial realities.

I can say that I am grateful that we started communicating about money while we dated because even now, as newlyweds, despite our transparency prior to being engaged, I am still learning the nuances and subtleties of my husband’s financial framework and he is learning more about mine.

Effective Communication (Online Course)

I share this story to say that whether you are engaged, newlyweds, or a seasoned married couple, it is better to know about each other financially before marriage, but also to remind you that it is never too late to develop, repair, and expand your financial intimacy. Below are some key questions that you should begin to discuss with your lover. If you need the support of a financial counselor to facilitate the process, invest in one; the health of your marriage is worth it.

When asking the following questions, always be sure that you monitor your body language and your tone of voice, and choose an appropriate time to embark on these conversations. Since financial intimacy necessitates financial vulnerability and disclosure, emotions can begin to run high. It is also helpful that you both keep accurate notes either electronically or by hand so you can refer to them later.

Childhood Money Memories

  • How was money handled throughout your childhood? Who handled money?
  • What role did you play in the family with respect to borrowing and lending?
  • What was your most vivid memory around money when growing up?
  • How was the topic of money discussed?

Financial Systems and Structures

  • Do you want joint or separate accounts or a combination?
  • Will there be a prenup?
  • If there is a disparity in income, how will expenses be shared? Equally? Based on a percentage of income?
  • What systems will we have in place for a layoff?
  • How much is sufficient for an “emergency fund”?
  • How often should we have money meetings?
  • Have you started saving for retirement? How much? What percentage of your
    income goes into your 401(K) or Tax Deferred Annuity?
  • Are you eligible for a pension?

Financial History

  • How will obligations from previous relationships play into our current financial commitments? (spousal support, child support)
  • Have you had to file for bankruptcy? If so, what were the events surrounding that choice?
  • What is your credit score?
  • How much do you earn?
  • How much do you have in assets?
  • How much debt do you have?
  • What was your biggest financial failure?
  • What was your biggest financial success?
  • Do you gamble? Recreationally? Or, have a history of chronic gambling issues?

Financial Identity and Goals

  • If you had to classify yourself, would you identify as a “saver” or a “spender”?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want to live? (jet-setting, minimalist, nomadic, suburban) and how much money will that cost?
  • Do either of us not want to work full-time or at all once married?
  • What does “wealth” mean to you?
  • At what age do you want to retire?
  • Do you want children? If yes, how will we pay for college? Are we considering sending them to private school K-12? How will we pay for that?
  • What role does gender play in dividing financial responsibilities?
  • Do you keep a budget?
  • What are you stress triggers when it comes to money?
  • Are you a spender or a saver?
  • What is your investment style: conservative, moderate, or risk-taking?
  • Do you want to own or rent?
  • Do you have any desire to be self-employed?
  • How will we handle family members that want to live with us or borrow money?
  • What are our beliefs about tithing and/or charitable contributions?
  • Should we invest in a financial counselor or financial adviser?

Click Here to Download a FREE Copy of the BMWK Generational Wealth Pledge for Black Families!

This list of questions is by no means exhaustive. Since you know your relationship better than anyone else, it is important that you use your observations and concerns to create questions that will allay your anxiety or misgivings and bring about more financial intimacy and transparency with your spouse.

If after answering these questions, you find that you and your soon-to-be-betrothed or lifelong partner appear financially incompatible, it is important that respect prevail and you open yourself to third-party intervention from your religious institutions, your financial institutions, or from couples whose financial acumen you respect.

BMWK, do you know the answers to these questions from your future spouse?

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 150 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .

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