By Toni Husbands
Webster.com defines infidelity as:
- Unfaithfulness to a moral obligation
- Marital unfaithfulness or an instance of it
Are you morally obligated to be open and honest with your spouse in all areas – including the finances? Absolutely!
For those who’ve experienced an extreme breach of trust regarding finances or are dealing with an actual disorder, seek professional help from a licensed professional. All others, remember that 80% of divorcing couples cite money fights and problems as a major reason for ending the marriage. Engaging in financial infidelity within your marriage is like playing with fire.
You might be committing financial infidelity if:
- You keep financial secrets. Once you’ve agreed to marry, all details about your financial history, money mindset, and goals for the future should be fully disclosed. Develop a plan to fix your finances prior to saying, “I Do”. We’ve shared previously how White Board Economics improved one couple’s pre-marriage money woes and set them on a firm financial foundation. Don’t wait until premarital counseling to have this conversation. Schedule a specific date to discuss your current financial status as soon as possible.
- You hide money or purchases. This is not a cute habit to giggle about with girlfriends (or the guys). Hiding money (lying by omission) is a clear sign that the financial communication in your home is off balance. As a unit, create a budget and allocate cash for spending categories to alleviate the need for secrecy and guesswork. Press pause on purchasing luxuries until you can agree on a budget that works for everyone.
- You operate as separate units. This is not a debate on joint vs. separate accounts. Regardless of how you structure the financial records, everyone should feel ownership of and have access to all resources generated within the household. Using language such as “his bills” or “her money” does not foster cohesion. Have a series of conversations about future goals and determine how to best reach them together.
- You violate spending cap agreements. Couples may institute a cap on discretionary spending. If you’ve agreed to cap individual spending, then go over a specific amount, doing so is not only a violation of your spouse’s trust but a clear sign you have little, if any, respect for your husband or wife. Reevaluate spending caps if the amount is too restrictive, but honor any existing agreements and keep your word.
- You make major financial decisions without spousal input. Move forward as a unit or not at all. Ignoring your spouse’s feedback concerning an investment or major purchase is a surefire way to cause a rift in the relationship. Don’t fear disagreement. Use the divergent viewpoints as an opportunity to prove to your spouse (and yourself) that the proposal is the best fit for the family. If your spouse is not on board, the approach definitely requires more review and possibly an adjustment.
Improve or repair the financial intimacy in your marriage to avoid becoming another divorce statistic.
BMWK, Are you committing financial infidelity?
Toni Husbands is a financial coach with the Debt Free Divas on a mission to help 1 million families dump consumer debt. My family dumped over $100K in debt and you can too. Twitter: https://twitter.com/debtfreedivas Blog: http://debtfreedivas.org