One of the best Relationship situations you will never face is the discovery of financial infidelity. In a US news poll conducted in January 2021, 38% of respondents say they have either committed financial infidelity or have fallen victim to it in the past year.
This is not surprising as many people have suffered financially due to the effect of COVID-19. Of those who experience financial infidelity, nearly two-thirds say they faced financial stress due to a lost job or low income in the previous year.
Committed to most common types of financial infidelity
The survey asked those who worked in financial hank-panky what kind of acts they performed. Respondents state that they committed financial infidelity in the following ways:
- About 28% made covert purchases.
- About 20% of loans or accounts were hidden.
- About 19% withdraw money from savings.
- About 18% borrowed money without mutual consent.
- Over 16% lied about their income.
When asked if they can explain their actions, here is what the criminals reveal:
- About 29% say this was to avoid an argument.
- More than 21% wanted to feel more in control of their finances.
- Close to 20% say they were embarrassed by their money handling skills.
- About 17% did this to help someone else.
- More than 13% say they did not want to share only bad news.
How Financial Infidelity Is Often Revealed
Now, let’s jump to the other side and see how the victims came to know about the coping behavior. Of the victims of financial infidelity, only 18% say they found out about it when their partner accepted it.
The vast majority of respondents state that they found that financial infidelity occurred in the following ways:
- Over 25% viewed bank account balances were closed.
- About 17% discovered hidden debts or accounts.
- Over 14% got a big purchase.
- About 17% found that their partner lied about income.
- About 13% followed privacy with electronic devices.
When the victims were asked if they knew why their significant other did so, more than 27% said they believed their partner wanted to feel more in control, followed by about 22% Said that it was an embarrassment to possibly harm his money.
How to reduce the possibility of financial infidelity
Unfortunately, one in five couples say their solution was to be different. I agree that, sometimes, things are just not meant to be. But until you are sure that this relationship is a lost cause, take steps to rebuild your financial life.
Whether you are an innocent victim or a financially wandering person, here are four tips to encourage a trustworthy financial relationship:
Must include Face to face (no texting!) Heartfelt conversation. No matter who did what, if you are going to move forward, both of you need to understand why this happened.
In the survey, more than 38% of those who practiced deception said that having more money would reduce the temptation. Trust me when I say that a root problem is unlikely. In fact, more money can cause more problems.
If you are having trouble communicating, you may have to try couples counseling for the main problem. If you are sure that the problem is more about the lack of financial skills, then Credit counseling could help. Some couples may actually need both to get them on track financially.
In the survey, only 15% of people who described themselves as victims said they were participating in counseling. But if you want it to work, then do it. For more information, contact National Council for Credit Counseling.
You need a blueprint to spend, and that’s why Budget is important. Think of it this way: Following a budget and tracking your expenses is your financial foundation. If you do not have a budget and track expenses, this can lead to debt. Also, it makes financial infidelity easier to pull away.
In your budget, however, give each other some freedom with money. Depending on your cash flow, you can decide that there is a set amount every month for each person to spend as they wish.
I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but on weekend mornings, talk about money while enjoying pancakes or bagels. Create a low-stress environment that is conducive to open discussion.
And this is a good time to work on common financial goals. This is when you each say how your collective funds are spent. Be respectful, and listen truly. It is okay to disagree, but if you do, work on a compromise so that you can achieve the goals for which you agree.
There is nothing like a shared goal – be it a beach vacation or the creation of an emergency fund – to bring couples together. But it is the weekly money date that will remind both of you that you are indeed together.