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Signs Your Partner Is Keeping Money Secrets From You

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Relationships are great when you are finally in one where you feel comfortable. You found just the person who resonates the most with your own personality and things seem like they can’t get any better. One question people fail to consider is this: “is my chosen partner financially savvy like I am?”

How sure are you that each person’s respective income is used to the benefit of both of you? Here are a couple of signs your partner may be keeping money-related secrets from you:

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1. Secretive About Where It Goes

Have you found a stray receipt from your corner store or one for a fast food meal you were not privy to? Perhaps when you found the receipt, your partner became more hostile than the issue called for.

“When couples have difficulty with money,” says Dr. Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., “it can lead to financial infidelity – out–of–control spending, lying, and hiding finances – which can destroy the relationship. People lie about money to avoid an argument or being criticized. It’s a short-term solution, hoping that it will not come up, but when it does, you’ve added betrayal to the financial issue. Also, the spender can get more out of control if he or she feels criticized and disapproved of by the saver. Sometimes, one partner will criticize the other for one kind of spending (say eating out a lot, or buying computer components) while equally overspending in a different way (say, for clothes or household goods).”

2. They Hide Their Debt from You

Before my wife and I got married, we each had our own respective debt thanks to student loans. In that case, though, we had the benefit of knowing beforehand but other couples may not be so lucky.

“If your partner makes a commitment to you and didn’t let you know in advance about his or her money troubles, it’s a big problem,” says Dr. Tessina. “Not only the debt itself (which is a big enough problem), but also the fact that he or she’s either in denial or already hiding problems from you. These problems might be solved, but you two need both debt counseling and relationship counseling to find out if you can save your marriage.”

3. They Have a Credit Card Addiction

My mother actually became addicted to the deals that came with store-specific credit cards, eventually resulting in more debt than she was able to handle. Before the debt truly hit her, she had not considered the possibility.

“If the debt is due to overspending on credit cards, lack of willingness to earn enough money, addiction, or some other irresponsibility,” says Dr. Tessina, “you may have fallen in love with an out–of–control child who needs to grow up if your relationship is to work.”

Eventually, things went in my parents’ favor, but credit card addiction is something to watch.

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4. They Can’t Stick To a Budget

One of the best ways for anyone to manage money is by creating a budget and sticking to it.

“Another warning sign to look out for is, when discussing budget and finances, you discover that your partner does not have a clear knowledge of their own budget or is not willing to talk about it with you,” says Zoe Coetzee, in-house relationship psychologist at the dating site EliteSingles.

Until I met my wife, sticking to a budget wasn’t something I always thought about. Thanks to knowledge her mother passed on, I keep an eye on my spending.

“Supporting each other while building a budget could help you reach your financial goals, faster, and can even bring you closer together,” tells Brianna McGurran, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet.

5. They Don’t Pay Their Bills On Time

If you live in separate spaces, you might have caught a bill or two with a past due notice. Living together, however, is a different story and you might be able to help them keep up.

“If you live together and have joint expenses like rent and utility bills, consider contributing to those costs proportionally to your income,” says McGurran. “That’s a fair way to make sure one isn’t contributing unduly to expenses. Say your rent is $2,000 a month and one partner makes $40,000 while the other makes $70,000. Together, you earn $110,000, and the higher earner makes 64 percent of the total. So that person will pay 54 percent of the rent, or $1,280. The lower earner will pay $720.”

Remember communication is key. Discuss your finances with your partner to avoid the potential damage financial secrets may cause.

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