Have you found charges on your credit card bill that surprise you? Have you discovered items hidden under the bed, in the closet? Do you and your partner make good money and you don’t know what happens to it? Is your partner evasive or defensive when you ask about the family finances? Do you have a say in purchase decisions?
If the answer to any of these questions is sounding an alarm for you, you owe it to yourself to ask some questions of your own. There could be financially damaging activities going on which could adversely affect your individual financial future. Left unchecked or unchallenged, you could find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be.
Financial secrecy. In this case the spouse in charge of the family finances is not willing to share information or discuss anything relating to their finances with the other spouse. Any question about financial particulars by the clueless spouse is dismissed, ignored or otherwise averted.
Financial infidelity. This type of behavior can be as innocuous as hiding a small purchase, stashing money away for a special gift, or having a secret credit card to day trading the retirement account away. Keeping a separate financial life on the side is being unfaithful to your spouse.
Dishonesty. When asked a specific question about what’s going on with the finances, the spouse lies. For example, saying that an item was on sale when it wasn’t or spending money on one thing and saying it was spent on something else or telling a spouse what he/she wants to hear about how their investments are performing.
Dominance. One spouse is in total control of the family’s finances, including all spending and saving decisions. The other spouse doesn’t have any input in this area of their relationship. This could go so far as checking every receipt and accounting for every penny spent.
Financial irresponsibility. One spouse spends money without considering the impact of their behavior on the family’s finances or other financial obligations. For example, a spouse may go on a shopping spree at the mall or online, leaving the family without money for utilities. Or a partner incurs a new car payment, even though the couple is already drowning in debt.
When two people marry, they are joined legally as well as financially. As a result, it is important they bring the same commitment, respect, trust and compromise to their financial relationship as they should to their emotional one. If you’re interested in starting a money conversation with your mate, check out the article How Couples Can Avoid a Marital Money Meltdown at www.starrcochran.com.