Do you share everything with your spouse, even when it comes to money?
If you or your spouse has kept some financial secrets over the years, you’re not alone. A 2011 study found that about 31% of people kept some sort of financial secret from their spouse at one time or another. However, just because you can keep money secret from your spouse, that doesn’t mean you should. In many cases, failing to disclose key facts about money with your spouse can do irreparable harm to your relationship. Let’s look at five reasons why you should never hide money matters from a spouse.
1. It Erodes Trust
“If you lied to me about money, what else are you lying about?” Failing to disclose what you’re doing with money – whether it’s clandestine spending habits, a secret credit card, or a hidden bank account – can damage trust between marriage partners. If you have a tight household budget where nearly every dollar is accounted for each month, keeping secrets from your spouse can especially seem like a betrayal of a partner’s good faith. Before you decide to hide money from your spouse, a key question to ask yourself is this:
What will your partner think of you after finding out you were less than honest about your finances?
2. It Wastes Time and Effort
Secrets can be a lot of work, especially when it comes to money. If you’re hiding credit cards and bank accounts from your spouse, you’re working twice as hard as you otherwise would. You have to manage two budgets and handle double the number of bills each month. You have to intercept the mail each day to ensure that a statement from one of your secret accounts doesn’t inadvertently end up in your spouse’s hands, too. Wouldn’t you rather spend all that time and effort doing something else? The best idea is to level with your spouse about your money issues instead of hiding them.
3. It Lets Marriage Problems Continue Unaddressed
One reason that people often hide money from their spouse is because they have goals they believe their spouses don’t share. A person may start a bank account to prepare to go back to school, or hide a credit card to go out occasionally with friends that a spouse doesn’t care for. While your spouse may never find out about these minor financial transgressions, they also allow people to continue in a relationship that may have major underlying problems. Hidden money may help you delay a serious discussion or argument that you need to have with your spouse, until it’s too late to do any good.
4. It Hides Serious Issues You Have with Money
Hiding money issues from a spouse may be keeping your very best advocate from getting you the help you need. Are those secret accounts credit cards that are maxed out? Are you ashamed of those hidden debt payments that are eating up your monthly salary? If so, you may need assistance to help you get out of debt, or help with managing your money more effectively. If you come clean about your financial issues, your spouse and you may be able to work together to resolve them. Perhaps you need to see a credit counselor to help you deal with outstanding debt. Maybe your spouse and you just need to set a good monthly budget to help you use your finances more effectively. Whatever help you may need, if you continue to hide money issues from your spouse, you’re probably never going to get it.
5. It Can Hurt Your Spouse
Those serious money issues that you’re hiding can end up doing serious damage to your spouse’s finances; they can even imperil future job prospects for your partner as well. In most cases, how you manage money or fail to do so will affect your spouse. For example, if you’re carrying a high amount of debt, or having trouble making credit card payments on hidden cards, it can harm your spouse’s credit rating as well. A poor credit rating may make it difficult for your spouse to make an important purchase; if your spouse has a security clearance, or works for the government, it could potentially impact his or her employment as well. Rather than hiding your money problems from your spouse, you should share them. This will give your spouse fair warning to address any potential impact these problems may have on his or her credit or career.
Hiding money issues from your spouse can damage your relationship and put your future together in peril. It can also allow major problems in your marriage to go unaddressed until it’s too late to do anything about them. So, think twice before you decide to start hiding money matters from your partner. It’s better to be transparent and let your spouse know the good and the bad when it comes to money. If you’re both open and honest with one another, you can tackle your financial problems together and strengthen your relationship in the process.