The infidelity of financial affairsSubmitted by Future Values on October 28th, 2015
A recent survey conducted by GK Roper revealed that nearly 55 per cent of respondents reported hiding some aspect of their finances from their spouse or significant other. Few would argue that financial infidelity is as devastating as marital infidelity, but most would agree that any kind of deceit can lead to an evaporation of trust.
Therapists and relationship experts all agree that concealing financial issues from one another prior to and during a marriage is a big sign of trouble for a relationship. Couples can recover from infidelity, but it’s the lack of trust and respect that are the destructive elements. Most men and women believe that if their spouse is able to deceive in one aspect of their lives, they are likely to deceive in others.
The study found that many conceal credit card accounts from their partner. In most cases, these are accounts established before they entered the relationship – so it might seem harmless that someone would simply forget to tell their partner, or perhaps even choose not to, because it seems like such a small thing.
While that may be true for some, others have experienced major problems, especially when it turns out to be not just one account, but several, and they are used extensively. At that point, it’s not just the concealment of a credit card account that threatens the relationship, it’s the concealment of spending habits that could ultimately harm the relationship. The reality is that irresponsible use of credit by one spouse, even if the accounts are held in separate names, can wreak havoc on the credit of both spouses.
Why do it?
There are a number of reasons why a spouse might conceal financial activities – fear of reproach, hiding a spending addiction, security concerns, even fear over loss of financial control. All of these suggest that the relationship is already lacking in trust and open communication. Couples who avoid or refrain from discussing finances – including their credit situations and their financial preferences and priorities – are destined for trouble, especially if problems are left to fester.
There are situations in which leading separate financial lives may be appropriate, and even preferable – such as in a second marriage where both spouses are financially independent, or even when one of the spouses is substantially more well-off. Single people who choose to live together may also be better off with separate finances. In these situations, trust may not be a factor in how finances are discussed. However, open communication about all matters, including finances, can only strengthen the relationship.
The study also found that many people hide chequing and savings accounts from their partners. Considering that, statistically, people in relationships will at some point find themselves divorced or widowed, this finding isn’t all that surprising. It’s sad commentary on our society that people feel they must take such measures to protect themselves, and it’s made worse when some people feel as though they can’t tell their spouse for fear of reprisal.
Changing attitudes and shifting trends are leading more couples to act collaboratively when it comes to finances. Respect for each other’s dignity and independence is the cornerstone for a relationship that approaches the management of finances as though each has an equal stake regardless of who “brings home the bacon.” When each partner feels more secure about the other’s attitudes and actions with regards to finances, they are more likely to feel secure in all aspects of the relationship.
*This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Advisor Websites to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2014-2015 Advisor Websites.