Money plays a vital role in all relationships. When it comes to finances, secret-keeping, impulsive spending, and poor money management habits often spell trouble for unsuspecting couples.
For those who aren’t exactly sure of what financial infidelity means, it simply refers to “cheating financially”. Here are a few necessary steps you and your partner can take to avoid financial infidelity in your relationship.
#1: Communicate openly and honestly
“Operate in complete transparency and communicate as frequently as possible,” advised Douglas Boneparth, a certified financial planner and president of Bone Fide Wealth in New York City.
While it’s not necessary to bring up finance topics on the first date, it’s important not to shy away from money conversations. This is especially so when your relationship starts moving towards a long-term commitment.
Sidestepping these sometimes-uncomfortable talks will have a snowball effect that can lead to expensive consequences.
Though it can be difficult initiating the first discussion surrounding finances, take heart that you’re working towards a healthier relationship. These conversations will eventually become routine.
#2: Be transparent about incomes
Whether you have a stable salary or your income is dependent on commissions, bonuses, or unpredictable clients, share it upfront. You owe it to your significant other to be transparent about what you bring to the table or can offer in the future.
Being candid about pay will allow you and your partner to budget accordingly. This might mean cutting back on frivolous spending or forgoing impulsive purchases, but your relationship will benefit from financial security.
#3: Settle for joint or separate accounts
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your bank accounts. Are there plans to merge accounts or split your incomes down the middle? Be sure to make a point of discussing your plans and intentions with your significant other.
If you decide to keep everything separate (which is okay), it might be a good idea to keep one account joined for paying shared expenses. This way, you can be sure your budget is being put to good use, and both are paying their fair share.
#4: Play a part in financial responsibilities
When both members take part in the household budgeting, the secrets and deception that lead to financial infidelity are less likely to happen.
For example, one of you can take care of the bill payments while the other keeps track of retirement savings. Just be certain that each of you is involved in the process and the loop of your financial status.
Splitting the responsibilities also help prevent placing all the burden on one party, who might feel like the “bad guy” if they have to say no to that staycation or lifestyle purchase in the future.
#5: Never hide your spendings
If one partner is a spendthrift and the other is a saver, it can lead to rifts in your relationship. Be honest with your partner about the desire for big purchases and discuss whether you can afford it.
Likewise, avoid expensive shopping trips without your significant other’s knowledge or agreement. While a little retail therapy may seem like harmless fun, the credit card bills can add up fast, and the deception will often drive a breakdown of trust in the relationship.
According to a financial therapist in North Carolina, there are many reasons why financial infidelity happens. It could be due to a financial trauma in the past, a conflicted relationship with money, or insecurity.
Whatever the reason might be, be mindful that small things add up. A lie told today will lead to more lies and secrets going forward. Don’t let money issues be a deal-breaker in your relationship. It’s not worth the heartbreak.