Managing finances together is one of the biggest responsibilities that come with marriage. As uncomfortable as it is, discussing money, being open about financial goals, and saving up together are as important in a marriage as sharing chores, buying a home, and raising a family.
You might think keeping financial secrets from your spouse is no big deal, but beware, it has a name now. It’s called financial infidelity.
Yes, infidelity isn’t just sexual in nature anymore (despite that season 2 CSI Miami episode about that business that entraps men into seeing if they are sexually/physically loyal to their wife). If you hide your credit card debt from your wife or start moving your own money to a different account surreptitiously, you are committing financial infidelity and it is bad as cheating on your partner.
Now if you are married to someone like Lisa Bloom, Lois Lerner, or Lisa Page then perhaps this is warranted since anyone who makes those types of mistakes and has that type of character should not be trusted.
Accountants can help you find out if something is amiss, but there are things you can do on your own and save from that type of expense. Here are 6 warning signs that your partner is committing financial infidelity.
If you usually know of your partner’s spending habits, credit card statements, and bank account details, then the opening of new accounts all of a sudden without your knowledge is a cause for concern.
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This is typically done to move small amounts of money from the existing accounts to the new account. If you notice money is being moved away surreptitiously from the existing accounts, check if any new account has been opened. If yes, you should question your spouse.
Changes in spending habits
When you know your partner’s salary and how much money both of you jointly brings in each month, you will also be aware of exactly how much is expected from your spouse.
Changes in deposits and withdrawals should draw your attention, especially if you know nothing about it. If your spouse is honest about finances, you will usually know the reason behind the changes in the spending patterns. If you don’t know, you have every right to seek an explanation before things escalate.
You don’t want your hard earned money going down the drain on some online poker site, for instance!
Although gambling is hard to detect, it isn’t entirely impossible. Those who gamble, do not take losses well (just watch the subpar movie Wild Card to know all about that or The Sopranos – Tony Soprano’s old high school friend, David Scatino, ruined himself as an adult when it came to gambling). To make up for losses, they keep returning to the casino in hopes of winning.
If you suspect your spouse is gambling, you can ask the casino for records to be sure of the amount that’s being spent gambling. When you notice that your spouse makes frequent withdrawals from a casino ATM, but neither wins nor loses anything, you can seek an explanation for what happened to that money.
Purchasing art and other valuable items
It is easy to track the money there is in a bank account, but not many people would notice art, antiques, and other valuables items that a person possesses.
Sudden purchases of expensive items like paintings, watches, or jewelry is an indication that the person is trying to hide assets. These items are immensely valuable, don’t have titles, and can be easily sold off. Besides, they don’t raise suspicion, and can be used to evade taxes too.
You can watch the average action movie The Accountant to see how fine art can be used as currency!
As one half of a couple, you are supposed to know what your spouse spends their money on. If you know their credit card statements, you will notice when they start shopping excessively. If your spouse has credit cards you are not aware of, it will require some extra effort to find out what is happening.
You have the right to know the reason behind the sudden excessive shopping. Reviewing each other’s credit scores once a year is a good way to make sure you aren’t hiding anything from each other.
Handing documents to sign
When you sign a document jointly with your spouse, it holds a lot of value. Without your signature, there are plenty of things your spouse cannot accomplish. That’s the reason why you should be suspicious when your spouse gives you something to sign without explaining what it is. Never sign something without knowing what’s in it. If your spouse refuses to offer an explanation, you should not sign it.
The only way to make sure your spouse is not hiding anything about their finances is to make a point to talk about it often. Money is the last thing people want to discuss, but the more couples talk about it, the less likely someone will be dishonest. The last thing you would want for your marriage is a divorce resulting from financial infidelity.
Ideally you should know someone’s money habits and philosophy before you are married. But even then financial honesty for the years after marriage are vital.