Financial infidelity is a major problem in marriages. Today I’m seeing more and more couples with separate bank accounts and keeping their finances completely separate. There are a few reasons you might want to do this, but most couples should be combining finances.
First, I’ll share which couples qualify for keeping finances separate.
I wrote a case for keeping separate bank accounts on Rockstar Finance last year. In the article, I shared six reasons that couples might want to have individual bank accounts and split the bills.
You can open a high-yield savings account with $100 to start. Out of sight, out of mind!
Now that we’ve discussed why you might want to keep your finances separate, let’s address the issue of hiding money from your spouse in marriage.
Here are eight red flags that should warn you to dig deeper into money issues in your marriage.
You think you know how much your spouse makes? Do you see his or her paycheck stub? Do they communicate with you about raises and bonuses? Do you know the exact amount of net income each pay period? What about how much they’re contributing to retirement? These are all important questions to ask. If you can’t answer these, it’s time to sit down with your spouse.
My ex-husband used to do this. He’d take his paycheck to the bank every week and keep a large portion (we’re talking hundreds) out for himself. He ate fast food, drank a lot of beer, and smoked a lot of cigarettes. Notice I said this was my ex-husband. Financial infidelity can destroy marriages.
Does your spouse have credit cards that you don’t know about? Why so secretive with the purchases? Many cheating spouses open additional credit cards so that they can hide money spent on “the other woman” (or man).
If you’ve noticed money missing from your savings accounts (or checking account), your spouse might be unfaithfully hiding something from you. Take inventory of your accounts at least once a month. Make sure everything is accounted for, and if it’s not, address it immediately. Communication is key.
Credit cards give the option of adding authorized signers. If you’ve been alerted that you recently closed an account or your credit utilization ratio increased, your spouse may have dropped you. You can get a copy of your credit report from Experian or Transunion. You can get all three for free once per year at annualcreditreport.com.
Have you ever done this? Be honest! If you’re removing tags from clothing so you don’t get caught, you’re committing financial infidelity. It’s okay to treat yourself once in awhile, but when you start having to hide it, you’ve got deeper issues.
Do the walls go up when you start asking questions about money? When you bring up specific purchases, does he try to change the subject or make jokes? These are major red flags!
Listen, when you got married, you gave all of yourself to another person. That means you each get unrestricted access (at least visibly) to the bank accounts. If you don’t have this ability, it’s time for a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.
Financial infidelity in marriage is a scary topic. No one wants to face the fact that their spouse could be lying by omission, spending on things he or she shouldn’t, and keeping secrets. But if you see signs above and are wondering if there are things you don’t know about your financial situation, sit down with your spouse and talk about it. Here’s how:
If money talks always end in fights, there’s a gentle way to ease into the conversation. Start out by saying, “Honey, I am so tired of being broke all the time. And I know you must be, too. Maybe we should sit down together and combine forces to see where we really stand so we can tackle this thing head-on!”
By coming from a collaborative standpoint instead of an accusatory one, your spouse is likely to be more receptive to talk. He may be itching to come clean about some of the issues that have been plaguing him.
Money used to be a taboo subject. So many people didn’t discuss money, income, finances, etc and now a simple google search for income reports yields actual income earned. When you decide to have your first money and marriage meeting, discuss the following:
This post originally appeared on MelissaBlevins.com.