Lies hurt a marriage, and financial untruths are no exception. When you combine your money with your spouse’s, you should be able to speak openly about how to spend it and admit when you have made mistakes. Check out this article to find out what common lies you should avoid.
There are plenty of reasons why members of couples lie about money. Maybe they’re afraid of confrontation, maybe they’re scared of how their significant others may react, or maybe they have serious addictions that they’re ashamed to admit – like gambling or shopaholism. Whatever the reasons may be, financial lies can seriously hurt a marriage. If you lie to your partner, trust is lost, and it can be extremely hard to get it back. The relationship becomes stagnant, and you may end up going your separate ways. It’s best to be open and deal with the consequences now than to constantly delay talking about your financial issues and hiding purchases or missed payments from your loved one.
According to a study commissioned by Forbes and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), one in three Americans or 31% of those who have combined their finances admit to lying to their spouses about money. And the worst part? These dishonesties have then caused significant damage to the relationships. For instance, 16% of the respondents said that the money lie led to divorce and 11% admitted that it led to separation.
Don’t let things get so far. Avoid telling money lies that end up hurting both your finances and your marriage. Here are some common examples of financial lies from which you should refrain.
A Bad Credit History
Lying about your credit history is never a wise idea. Just think about this – what if you and your partner want to buy a home together at some point? When applying for a home loan, both spouse’s financial history is carefully analyzed by the potential lender. It doesn’t matter if you’re significant other has a pristine credit score if you have a bad one. The bank will calculate the risk based on the lower of the two credit scores, so regardless you’ll qualify for worse interest rates.
The same applies for any kind of loan you’ll want to secure in the future, so it’s likely your significant other will find out about your debt eventually. It is better to be open from the beginning and work together to find a way to improve your credit score in order to reduce the debt you’ve accumulated before getting married.
“This? It was only $20,” or “oh, it was actually on sale.” Do you recognize these statements? It’s easy to round down the price of an impulse purchase you’re guilty of in order to make it seem easier to swallow. However, if you and your significant other were to decide to live on a budget for a while, your reckless purchases would easily throw you off track.
Lying about a purchase to make it sound like a great deal can have a negative impact on your finances. Therefore, talk to your significant other before buying something or divide your budget so that each of you has a certain amount of money you can spend for yourselves, no questions asked.
Keeping a Secret Bank Account
Married people sometimes like to have secret bank accounts to cover them in the event of divorce or allow them to pursue expensive hobbies their partners do not know about. Keeping an account hidden is not a wise idea. Your spouse can find out about it accidentally, for instance, if they open a letter from the bank. They’ll likely feel betrayed and cheated, and for good reason.
On the other hand, sharing money is only wise as long you can do it without constantly bickering about the way you spend it. For instance, if your spouse is making significantly more than you are and you excessively spend from those funds, resentment can easily rear its ugly head over time. Make sure you’re both comfortable with sharing your earnings. If not, it may be best to consider using separate bank accounts.
Not Paying Bills on Time
Not paying a bill on time damages your credit score, and lying about it damages your relationship with your partner. If you overspend on your credit card one month or end up with a high cell phone bill you aren’t able to pay, you might be tempted to hide the bill from your partner to avoid their judgment or disappointment. Don’t. You’ll either have to live with the guilt or get busted eventually.
The same goes if you forget to pay the cable or electrical bill. Own up to your mistakes and admit them to your spouse – together you’ll surely find a way to get things back on track.
Talking about money can be awkward and unpleasant, true, but you have to be able to speak openly to your spouse about the subject if you want your relationship to grow stronger. Admit when you make mistakes and work together to figure things out. On the same note, if you suspect your significant other is lying about money, don’t delay dealing with the issue. The more you wait, the harder it will be.