Honest and open communications are the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. So, it should come as no surprise that withholding details of your financial shenanigans from your spouse is a financial recipe for disaster.
You are a financial infidel if you hide purchases you make from your spouse, have secret credit cards or even bank accounts, lie about your salary, have a stash of cash hidden away, or intercept bills at the mailbox to avoid detection.
If you stop to think about it, it’s highly likely that many of us have dabbled in the black art of financial infidelity during our married lives. Who hasn’t hid something they bought in their closet, in the basement, or in the trunk of the car (fairly risky)? Or, how many of us have made a large purchase without letting our spouses know beforehand (I plead the fifth)?
In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article by Veronica Dagher (April 30, 2012, R1) reports that 31 % of adults say they have been deceptive about their money with a spouse or significant other. And, of these, 58% have hidden cash, 53% said they spent less than they did on the item in question, 15% have hidden an entire bank account, 34% confessed to lying about their finances, and 11% have been less than forthcoming about their salary. Some people have even had entire businesses and brokerage accounts that their spouse knew nothing about.
As Michael Keaton’s son exclaims, when Mr. Mom (Michael Keaton, star of the 1983 movie of the same name) suggests letting his other son hold the money over a bet on whether the recently laid-off Keaton or his wife Teri Garr will get a job first, “Don’t give him money, it makes him Crazy”. Apparently, such an indictment holds true for many of us as well.