For richer or poorer. Right? Wrong! When your partner is consistently secretive or deceitful about money, it might be time to ask for help.
Your partner takes out loans in your name. Keeps quiet about credit card debt. Consistently can't stick to a budget or shuts down discussions about finances. Or refuses to help pay the bills, even after promising to do so. If any of these ring true, you might be dealing with financial infidelity.
Money troubles are a key reason for divorce. In fact, almost 41% of couples say that fighting over money and spending habits led them to splitsville. Sometimes, it's just bad luck, or a combination of low income, debt, stress, and the feeling that life isn't heading in the right direction. Money really does touch everything.
However, financial infidelity is something else. It's lying to each other about money, which is especially sour if you’ve combined your finances. So, if you're struggling with a partner who has, on multiple occasions, revealed secret debts, hid credit cards, spends irresponsibly or kept critical funds to themselves, you may be dealing with financial infidelity.
The consequences are far-reaching. You may be unable to purchase a house or qualify for a loan. It's almost impossible to plan ahead or put together a rainy-day fund, let alone save for retirement. Perhaps you are forced to pinch pennies while your partner overspends.
Like Sandeep, 26, who tried multiple times to save his relationship after his partner didn't keep up with taxes, child support payments, and personal loans. "It's scary, frustrating and stressful to feel like you're never going to get ahead, and you have this weight around your neck in the form of a financially irresponsible partner."
Getting back on track
Sometimes it helps to consider the following: being financially incompatible is a very valid reason not to want to spend your life with someone. However, there are some other steps you can take together with your significant other (aside from seeing a marriage counselor):
- Sit down with a financial advisor as soon as you can
- Set credit alerts for yourself and your spouse, so no loans are extended without your know-how
- Discuss finances openly and frequently!
- Always share bank and credit card statements, even for personal accounts
- Create a budget and develop methods to stick to it, together!