By Nancy Hetrick
Marriage is challenging in many different ways but if dishonesty is in the mix, it can be disastrous. Trust must be the foundation of any good relationship and erosion of trust will destroy a marriage at record speed. When we talk about infidelity, most people’s thoughts immediately turn to the cheating spouse who’s taken a lover. But there’s another, more subtle and potentially even more devastating, infidelity that is often overlooked. Financial Infidelity can show up in a wide variety of ways and can range from minor offenses like that credit card he doesn’t know about to far more serious deceptions like filtering money to family members over many years to siphon off a personal nest egg from marital assets.
How do you know if it might be happening to you? Here are 5 signs that you should watch for.
#5 – You haven’t seen bank statements or financial documents in years. NEVER let one spouse handle all the finances without meeting monthly to go over your balance sheet and goals. This is the perfect opportunity to get yourselves on the same financial team! If you’ve never done this, start now! If you ask and the “keeper of the finances” gets nervous, procrastinates, or doesn’t want to meet with you, major red flag!
#4 – Unexplained Mood Changes. Is your spouse becoming easily agitated? Do they pop off with anger or impatience that are out of proportion to the event? When financial turmoil hits, it causes STRESS! And that stress WILL reveal itself! If you read part 1 of this series you might recall the situation I described where the husband had whittled away 2 million in savings over 10 years. When I spoke to the wife, she described an increasingly angry man who was very defensive about any perceived shortfalls in his behavior. He started constantly explaining himself about everything as though he were convincing himself that he was a “good guy”. He also became more and more withdrawn and when she would ask about ANYTHING financial, would bite her head off with things like, “Stop nagging me! I’ve got it under control! What are you worried about?”
#3 – A Lifestyle That Doesn’t Match Earnings. Is your spouse a highly paid professional but you haven’t had a decent vacation in years? Does he/she have a Mercedes job but drives a Honda and insists you do the same? Are you on an “allowance”? Do you have to ask permission for any purchases? All of these are indicators of financial infidelity and shouldn’t be tolerated in a mutually respectful marriage.
#2 – Car Insurance Rates Go Up. If you get a letter from your insurance company notifying you that your auto insurance rates are going up due to a change in your rating, this could be a LOUD indicator that the other spouse not only has credit cards you don’t know about, but isn’t making the payments on time either.
#1 – Mail Stops Being Delivered. If you notice that a Southwest Visa credit card statement comes every month and always has and then it stops, beware. Ask about it, of course, but a very common method of financial deception is to have bills sent to the office or a relative’s so they aren’t discovered.
These things are no fun to deal with and I’ve seen this type of behavior ruin one marriage after another. When it comes to money, honesty is always the best policy – especially between spouses. Have a conversation with your mate TODAY and be sure you’re both on the same page.
|Nancy Hetrick, ADFA™, MAFF™, AWMA® , Smarter Divorce Solutions, LLC|