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Are these 5 Money Lies Threatening Your Marriage?

by Miranda Marquit

For years, we’ve heard about how money is a factor in many divorces. A lot of the press revolves around the issue of fighting about money, or being stressed because of debt.

However, it’s not always just about the fighting. Sometimes, the money lies we tell in a marriage can be more of a threat. These lies represent what many term “financial infidelity,” and they can lead to difficulty in the marriage — and even lead to divorce — once the lies become public.

Are you telling money lies to your partner? Here are 5 money lies that could be threatening your marriage:

1. Secret Accounts

secret financial accounts

Are you keeping financial secrets?

While there are those that recommend that you keep your own money, in an account just for you, just in case something unpleasant happens to your marriage despite your best efforts, the line is often drawn at secret accounts. I have a savings account and an investment account that are entirely in my name. However, these aren’t secret accounts; my husband knows about them. He even had a chance to make the joint accounts, but he passed.

A secret account is something that can cause a great deal of marital stress when your partner finds out. Most of us don’t like to feel as though our spouses don’t trust us.

2. More Debt than You Say

When my husband and I got married, I had credit card debt. It was embarrassing to admit prior to our tying the knot, but I told him about all of it. Don’t hide your debt from your significant other if you are getting serious. Your partner should know — especially since that debt might eventually affect him or her as well. Don’t hide your debt, and don’t pretent to have less debt than you do.

3. Hiding a Job Loss

I knew a guy who lost his job — and didn’t tell his wife about it. He was afraid to stress her out. Plus, he figured that she would want to help out by getting some kind of work, and he was committed to being a “provider” and didn’t want her working. So he kept it a secret. He left the house every day and applied for jobs. He worked on his resume, checked with workforce services, and collected unemployment.

And drew down the emergency fund.

After a few months of having no job, he had to admit he’d lost his job months ago — and hadn’t told her. She was understandably upset. Not only had the lie implied that she couldn’t handle the situation with him, as his partner, but it also meant a decimating of their financial situation, when she might have been able to help by cutting costs and maybe getting a part-time job.

4. Secret Spending

Just as secret accounts can weigh on your marriage, but secret spending can be an issue, too. I’m not talking about the occasional book purchase. I’m talking about compulsive spending, or big ticket spending. My husband and I don’t sweat a lot of the small purchases we each like to make through the month. Sometimes it results in a “when did you get that scarf?” type question, but it’s not like we actively hide purchases from each other (unless they’re gifts).

Before you make a major purchase, make sure that you discuss it with your partner. And if you have a shopping addiction or other issue, discuss it and try to work with your spouse to overcome the problem.

5. Not Sharing the Good News

Did you get a raise? Did you have some lottery winnings? Did one of your relatives leave you something valuable? If you get good news, you should share that extra income with your spouse. Keeping anything, even the extra income, from your spouse can be a recipe for disaster when he or she finds out. And it can cause you problems in court if your marriage ends in divorce. Divorce courts look down on those who hide assets from their spouses, and that can go against you when your spouse divorces you over a money lie you told.


Published or updated July 1, 2013.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com

Please don’t do any of these above! One of the most expensive things in life is getting divorced. Especially if you have kids!

Be 100% truthful in your marriage and cultivate it like a plant. You’ll be happier and come out way ahead financially that most folks that end up getting divorced.

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2 Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde)

Great post and all so important to avoid!

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3 GamingYourFinances

It’s unfortunate that these things can happen but I’ve noticed it with friends who have significant others that aren’t quite on the same financial page.

I’m so lucky to have a wife who has a very similar financial outlook. We’re both now working towards paying off our mortgage early. We actually are both very energized by this challenge!!!

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4 Gee

My ex-wife had secret credit card accounts which eventually caused a rift between us that just grew. Don’t do it as it just results in a lack of trust between you.

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