Financial Infidelity

     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.

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4 Responses to Financial Infidelity

  1. Landen Ellis says:

    How on earth does one go about hiding an entire bank account or separate business? Deception in a marriage relationship of any kind is extremely unhealthy. Hiding a little purchase here or there may seem harmless but little actions like these can build and the results would not be pretty. As cliche as it might be, honesty is truly the best policy.

  2. Eeva-Liina says:

    When you think about it, I don’t think the described behavior is only present in relationships among two individuals. I’m sorry to say, but I do recall some moments in my childhood, where I was given some money to be used wisely on a shopping trip with friends, and eventually ending up telling white lies to my parents about how much something cost.

    People hiding their bills and salaries must be very talented at it! Sometimes I have faced situations, where I have had to hide a bill from my significant other, in order to not spoil a surprise birthday gift for example – the effort you have to make is incredible.

  3. jim_roberts says:

    You are corrrect. Financial infidelity can occur in a wide variety of relationships. Any time we decive regarding financial matters we have committed financial infidelity. I encourage others to share a time when they were not totally forthcoming with others about money. And, I believe it was Shakespeare who said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive”.

  4. Anton Melin says:

    If you have indulged yourself something that you actually not are in need of, or something that are more expensive then you actually can afford, I think it is very common that you hide the product for your partner, or lie to your partner about the price.
    Me, my brother and my dad have started questioning my mothers when she buy shoes. Firstly because she has very many more par of shoes than she need, and she has pairs that she hasn´t even used. Secondly because she buy expensive shoes that we know she won’t use more than a couple of times.
    Since we started to questioning it she has been secretive with her shoes. She does not show us anymore, and I know that she hide her new shoes in the bottom of her wardrobe. And I can bet that she don’t tell the whole truth about the price when we ask about it.

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