What do you truly value in your life? It has been said that with one look at a person’s calendar and checkbook register, you would learn what a person truly values.
That’s certainly true, but I believe there is an even better way to learn what you value most. Have someone ask your spouse and children what you truly value. If you are not married, have someone ask your closest friends.
I’m having this asked of my bride and children. I wonder if the answers will align with what I say I value.
As a financial teacher, I am seeing an issue that is extremely alarming: Financial Infidelity
According to Investopedia, financial fidelity is defined as “when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. For example, one partner may hide significant debts in a separate account while the other partner is unaware. Another common example is when one partner makes large discretionary expenditures without discussing the matter with their partner.”
It happens more than you think …
It all starts out so innocently. “I will use this credit card just this once to pay the bills, but I won’t tell my spouse because she is so stressed anyway.” Fast forward two years, and there is a hidden credit card with a $20,000 balance. Or a $480,000 balance. I’ve seen both. And the spouse did not know about either.
I’ve heard people explain how their financial infidelity occurred. Common reasons are:
- I pay the bills, and I just could not say no to my spouse – even though we did not have enough money.
- I wanted to protect my spouse – they were under so much stress from their work anyway.
- My spouse won’t ever allow any fun or any of my hobbies into the budget, so this was the only way I could make that happen.
- I earned the money so I deserved to spend it how I wanted to.
- My spouse is HORRIBLE with money, so I had to keep the savings account secret or else it would have been spent!
If you are making huge financial decisions without telling your spouse, it needs to be addressed. It will not get better on its own. The credit card will not be paid off before it’s discovered.
One thing I know is this: spouses who have experienced financial infidelity describe feelings very similar to marital infidelity. Hurt. Confusion. Anger. Frustration. Sadness. Betrayal.
Make it right.
As I always do, I began the morning by reading thirty or so websites (it is how I make sure I am LEARNING something every single day). I ran across THIS ARTICLE from CNNMoney. You should read it – especially if you have deadbeat parents/siblings/children.
Here are some of the statements made by writer Blake Ellis that stand out to me:
- When a parent uses their own child, the risk of prosecution is lower because of the family ties. Talk about ultimate manipulation!
- If a parent has a child’s social security number, they can do almost anything — no matter how young the child is — because a credit check does not reveal a person’s age. Unbelievable.
- Because of the availability of personal information to close family members, more than half of identity theft cases are typically committed by parents. Another potential result from being a poor manager of money – robbing from one’s own children.
Let’s be clear here – it is THEFT. Parents are ROBBING THEIR CHILDREN because they are mismanaging their own finances. Don’t believe it can ever happen to you? You would be surprised what people will do when they become financially desperate.
Have you known someone who has experienced this? What was it like?
My bride is amazing. She helps me make outstanding financial decisions.
Here are some key ways that she helps me when making financial decisions:
- She asks questions
- She seeks to understand my point of view
- She listens
- She has the ability to see through situations in a way I can't
- She demands to see the numbers and challenges every assumption
- She looks beyond the numbers and sees how the decisions affects non-financial aspects of our life
- She balances my risk-taking behavior with her risk-averse nature
- She is willing to discuss everything – and we are on the same team with shared interests – this means that we are working together to address financial challenges and fund our dreams
- She always has my back
I call my bride my "chief business counsel". If you ever hear me say, "I need to consult with my business counsel", I am really referring to my bride – not a legal team.
Without my bride, I would still be broke and would have been the key subject matter of the book, "How To Be B-R-O-K-E".
Do you involve your spouse in your financial decisions?