We have all most likely heard of infidelity in a marriage, but what about financial infidelity? This is when one spouse conceals major financial spending and/or debts from their spouse with whom they share finances. In a study done by creditcards.com, they found that nearly 20% of adults in live-in relationships (29 million people) have a secret account that they are keeping from their spouse. Having major financial secrets in a relationship can easily lead to other trust issues and may really cause a marriage to struggle. So what can you do to save your marriage and your finances?
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Fess up if you’re guilty
If you are the person who is committing financial infidelity, it’s time to face the music. As a person who has struggled with over-spending and debt, I know how scary it can be.
People who struggle to get their spending under control often feel immense guilt, just like a person would with real infidelity. The one thing you can’t deny is that you either have to fess up and be honest or wait for your partner to find out on their own. More than likely, they will.
When you manage to get up the courage to admit your financial infidelity, it’s important that you completely own your mistake. Pointing fingers or placing blame will only demonstrate to your partner that you aren’t truly remorseful.
If your partner has their own financial issues, that is something that can be
Be gentle when questioning
Just like someone is to blame for the financial infidelity, there is often a spouse on the other end who has been suspicious for some time.
If you find yourself in this position, it’s so important, as angry as you may be, to confront your partner with love and listening ears.
Just like with any form of infidelity, they are most likely harboring guilt and might go into defense or denial if you confront them too harshly.
Present them with evidence if you have it without being accusing.
Supporting your suspicion
The main way that most spouses find out that their partner has committed financial infidelity is by getting a credit report. You can get a FREE credit report and consultation here.
It would be best if we could confront our loved ones about their struggles, but often times it helps to have a little proof to support our cause.
Ask your partner about their financial goals. Listen.
Hopefully starting a conversation can lead to a deeper financial discussion about what the two of you truly want from life financially. Author David Bach discusses in his book, Smart Couples Finish Rich, how to first discuss your life values with one another before you begin tackling your finances.
Looking at your biggest life values can help you get a big picture for what you really want from your life and start to make it easier to get a financial plan in order.
Depending on the severity of the debt or financial struggle, you might end up requiring professional help.
Here are some of the top areas of financial struggle that all people face, especially those who have committed financial infidelity.
Multiple Credit Cards – A big struggle for most people is opening multiple credit cards, maxing them out and then finding themselves stuck with big payments and high-interest rates. The smartest move to make if you find yourself in this situation, is to look into credit card debt consolidation. This could potentially lower your interest rate and your monthly payment.
Outstanding debts – Sometimes people are carrying around debts that they don’t tell their partner about until it’s too late. This could be student loans, credit cards or personal loans etc. For something like this a standard debt consolidation option can help you simplify your monthly payments and get a game plan in place.
Make a game plan
Once you have an idea of the type of financial infidelity that has/is taking place, it can better set you up to create a game plan that works for you and your partner.
In a lot of cases, that may mean a sold debt payoff plan, joining accounts, or just setting up weekly meetings to discuss your finances in depth.
If neither of you is great at budgeting, or if you haven’t ever budgeted at all, I created a great budget bundle that was designed to be as simple as possible.
More posts on budgeting:
- How to Create a Budget with a Piece of Paper and a Smart Phone
- How to Discuss and Execute a Budget with Your Spouse
- A Beginner’s Guide to Zero Based Budgeting
Be willing to sacrifice
In most cases, financial hardship means you’ll have to sacrifice. It might mean sacrificing your time in order to make more time to talk about your finances together. Sacrifice could mean cutting back on your spending in order to pay off debt. It also means sacrificing your financial infidelity struggles in order to repair your marriage.
Tom and I actually chose to downsize our home in order to stop the financial fights that were happening due to our large mortage.
If you find yoruself struggling with a high mortgage, you could look into mortgage refinancing or, do what we did downsize in order to pay off debt.
Helpful posts on downsizing:
- 12 Signs That Downsizing is Right for You
- The Total Guide to Downsizing Your House to Get Out of Debt
Most of all, the most important thing that you can do when going through any struggle in a relationship is to keep communicating with one another.
This will take work on both your parts and may even require counselling to help you work through issues. Find a counselor near you.