What's at stake is not the money — it's our relationships. Whether it is small sums or massive amounts, financial infidelity is a relationship killer. More than 70 percent of divorced couples in America cite "money" as the number one cause of their split. Money affects every day of our lives, and how we view money shapes our decisions and how we handle it. Add another person's views on money to the equation and we've got a hot-rod headed for a crash.
Understanding and communication is key but certain situations create an especially fertile environment for financial infidelity. Steer clear of these five, main triggers for financial infidelity:
1. Separate accounts. Many couples think if they keep their money separate they can avoid any tension about money. There may be certain times when separate accounts work for a couple, e.g. business account and personal account, education account or surprise gift account — monies you temporarily use to treat the other without them knowing right away. Frankly, you can have 15 different accounts if you're transparent with each other about every one. But maintaining entirely separate accounts usually leads to entirely separate lives.
2. Overspending and debt. In March 2013, Bloomberg.com reported, "Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, dropped 4 percent after adjusting for inflation, the biggest plunge since monthly records began in 1959," yet consumer spending for the same timeframe rose.
We work hard. Sometimes we feel we need a tangible reward for that hard work and we're optimistic we can pay it off later. Then other expenses pop up and our debt grows. That's when the secrets start; we start lying about spending, hiding receipts and borrowing to cover our money mistakes. It's a vicious cycle.
3. Poor planning. Kids grow up fast, some small businesses never turn the corner and somehow retirement age gets closer every year! The desperation of little-to-no retirement or college funds or even a rainy day fund leads people in relationships to point fingers and take drastic measures, often in isolation. Avoid the blame game and the temptation to fix it on your own. Work together or your lack of funds won't be the only hurdle you face in retirement. Keep reading ...