Financial infidelity can jeopardize your relationship. Do you have secret accounts that your spouse is not aware of? Do you withdraw funds from savings or other accounts without conferring with your partner? This is a serious breach. Ed Coambs, a Financial Therapist in Matthews, N.C., and author of The Healthy Love & Money Way says that focusing on the acts of infidelity rather than what’s at the root of them can cost couples not just their financial security, but also their future. According to Sigrid Foreberg, a reporter at MoneyWise, 3 in 10 Couples Have Dealt With Hidden Bank Accounts or Other Money Secrets.
One spouse may be educated in financial matters and the other is not or one makes significantly more money than the other and feels justified spending without divulging that information. In a January survey on financial infidelity from U.S. News & World Report, about one third of couples say they’ve faced the issue either as the partner who hid information about money decisions or as the partner who was left out.
Early on in my marriage, I discovered that my husband purchased a piece of Golf Teaching Equipment without my knowledge. Oh boy! That was a difficult day. I discovered it while we were on a vacation. We worked it out, moved on, and have not had another incident. We talk regularly about our finances - current immediate needs and goals for the future.
We use an online password Vault: LastPass. That keeps all of our usernames and passwords in one place. If something happens to either one of us, the other will be able to access our accounts.
One of the services we provide at Simple Solution Organizing LLC is setting up an emergency planner for our clients. We create a dashboard that lists all of our client’s accounts, account numbers, important contacts, and other vital information. The emergency planner can be shared with our client’s important contacts (in case anything were to happen). For example, my husband and I shared our planner with our adult daughter.
Financial Literacy is critically important. I think the basics of how money works should be taught in every middle school and retaught in high school. I attended a webinar yesterday sponsored by the American Association of Daily Money Managers, during which the speaker, a family law attorney, told us that 50% of his clients (primarily women) do not know what a 401k was. He typically represents high net-worth couples. This is incredibly sad!
Money matters a lot. It does not matter what your status in life is: stay-at-home mom or dad, the spouse of a CPA, a money management professional, a student. You need to know financial basics, how to save and invest your money, know where your money is stored, and how to access it. This is true if you are single or married. I have worked with many widows who are coping with the loss of their significant other and the stress of learning how to manage their finances during the crisis.
If this blog post has made you uncomfortable and you feel overwhelmed about this subject, please schedule an appointment. We can help.
Chief Executive Organizer / Daily Money Manager