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Financial Infidelity

According to a survey of more than 200 American consumers, 80% of couples have at least one member who spends money their spouse does not know about. Almost 20% of married individuals have a credit card with a balance unknown to their spouse. 38% of those with secret spending habits and credit card balances worry their spouse would consider divorce if they ever learned of the Financial Infidelity. (PacDivorce.com)

FINANCIAL INFIDELITY
Originally posted on ASeriousGirl.com

The other day I came across an article about “financial infidelity”. Wikipedia defines financial infidelity as “a term used to describe the secretive act of spending money, possessing credit and credit cards, holding secret accounts or stashes of money, borrowing money, or otherwise incurring debt unknown to one’s spouse, partner, or significant other. Adding to the monetary strain commonly associated with financial infidelity in a relationship is a subsequent loss of intimacy and trust in the relationship.”

Basically, according to the Internets, married people are cheating on each other with money.

Within a week of our moving in together, Mike had added my name to his checking account and I’d closed mine out and deposited all of my funds into his account. I wouldn’t recommend this to all couples, for in some situations that could be a really stupid thing to do. Yet in our case it made sense. For one thing, I had excellent credit and a knack for data entry, while Mike made lots of money that he never took to the bank. He used to get all his bills in red envelopes, not because he couldn’t afford to pay them, but because he never had money in the bank. Instead, all his money was scattered across the kitchen table, shoved into cracks in the walls to keep out drafts, tucked into books like so many bookmarks, and wadded up in the dryer lint catcher. It drove me crazy. So when we agreed to move in together, we agreed to a joint bank account so that I could manage our finances. And manage them I did! Every night when Mike came home from work he would put all his cash in a cigar box we kept next to the bed. Every morning I would deposit his cigar box cash at the bank. I paid all our bills, balanced the checkbook, and watched our budget. By the time we married we had zero debt and a nice little nest egg. Then we moved to New York and blew it all. Then we paid down our debt again, built another nice little nest egg, and moved back to California.

The value of a man who, without complaint, hands over his paycheck every week, is not lost on me. I know how lucky I am to have a partner who is so careful of his spending, so sincere in his desire to help me build the future we want for ourselves. It’s a blessing to know that we have the same goals in mind and that we’re both doing the best we can to meet them. Which is why the thought of financial infidelity is so absolutely horrifying. Aside from death or actual infidelity, I can’t imagine many things more terrifying than discovering that my husband has secret credit card debt. Or secret gambling debt. Or secret anything.

I thought about all this when I read the article, then I googled “financial infidelity” and found 809,000 more articles, and with each word I read I climbed higher and higher on my money-management pedestal. Patted myself on the back and told myself how superior we are because we would never lie to each other about money. We’re better than that. And then I remembered the parking ticket.

If I get a parking ticket and send the check off and don’t say anything to Mike about that $55 – is that financial infidelity? What if I go shopping and tell him I only spent $100, but I actually spent $350? We each have a budgeted personal allowance of $80 a month and Mike never spends that much, but in the past I have spent three times my allotted amount. Yet I’ve never told him (until now). I’ve just let him think I stay within my budget because I don’t want him to get mad, and it’s not like he ever looks at our budget sheets because he totally trusts me to take care of it – so am I cheating on my spouse with money?

AM I A CURRENCY INFIDELITE?

What do you think? Oooh, touchy subject, this is. Money! Scary stuff, I know. But I’m curious. What do you think?

Money Talks = Happy Marriage

Ron Lieber, writer of Your Money for The New York Times wrote, “Divorce tends to be emotionally gut-wrenching for the people who go through it (not to mention those around them). But most couples don’t realize that divorce can also be among the most ruinous financial moves anyone can make.

So how do we avoid divorce?  According to Lieber, you can lower your chances of divorce by talking about money before you get married.  He shares four specific topics he believes should be at the top of your discussion list and I’m sharing them here because I think they should be at the top of your discussion list whether you’re engaged, happily married, thinking about divorce, in the middle of a divorce, or somewhere in between.  Click here to read on.