Do you know what the pillars of a healthy relationship are?
Trust and transparency.
Without these two critical pillars, your relationships will take devastating turns.
Now, you may think that being transparent with your partner means you need to share all the details of your day as they happen. Well, I would argue that is not in fact transparency! Instead, that’s more like ”reporting in” to your partner.
Rather, what you should do is, share the important matters of your life with your partner, especially the ones that may have an impact on their life and decision making. But especially including the ones about money.
And what if you don’t do so?
One of the dangerous things that can end up happening is financial infidelity. Yes, you heard that correctly!
A survey by CreditCards.com revealed that nearly 13 million people in our country have committed what is considered financial infidelity! If you are one of them, trust me when I tell you this, you are putting your relationship at risk.
Money is a sensitive topic in any relationship. So, it’s important and completely natural to be on guard. But it’s also why you need to avoid making room for financial infidelity to grow its roots!
In a relationship, you have to be able to count on each other. But that might seem like it’s impossible when your spouse is lying or hiding important financial information from you.
Dishonesty is a double-edged sword. When you hide important financial matters from your partner, you are showing that person that you don’t trust them enough to be honest with them.
Soon enough, the deception is bound to come out. And when it eventually does, your partner is not going to trust you either. Can you blame them?
Secondly, when the deception is about money, it can actually have financial consequences of its own. Even minor deceptions, like a few secret purchases, can cause your household budget to fail.
When you are trying to get by on what seems like a really tight budget, it’s important to know exactly where every dollar is going. And there is no way of doing that when secret purchases are being made behind your back.
Larger-scale deceptions, such as having multiple secret savings accounts, can get you and your partner into deeper trouble.
Just as an example, let’s say that your partner has accumulated a large amount of debt without ever informing you. Not only is it shocking and frustrating, it’s also costly. You might end up having to pay off those debts by sacrificing your current retirement savings or cashing out your 401(k) to pay for this debt.
That’s why the best way to keep financial infidelity from harming your relationship is to put a stop to it before it even begins to start.
But how can you do that?
Communicate with your partner
The key to avoiding fights about money, and eventual financial infidelity, is by having clear communication about money.
Sit down with your partner and talk about the important, and even less-important, details of your financial lives. Some experts believe that the best time to discuss your personal finances is to do it well before getting married or even living together.
By detailing your financial lives, you and your partner can come to a conclusion about respective priorities, when it comes to money, before combining your finances.
If you’re already living together, or even if you’re not, it might be worth consideration to set up a budget together. Calculate what the total take-home pay for both you and your partner is, then work on going over expenses, focusing on the combined expenses.
From there, you will start to paint a picture of what your spending habits have been like, and can create a proper spending plan.
If you’re able to stick to your combined budget, it will reduce your chances of overspending, but also keeps you both aware of how money is being spent.
It also means you can start saving for your financial goals every month.
Remember, you and your partner are a team. It’s important that you continue to work together, support each other, and plan to achieve respective financial goals!
Work on your financial skills
Did you have a financial literacy course in high school?
If yes, you might be one of the lucky ones!
Most Americans are not taught financial literacy in high school, regardless of the fact that having a basic knowledge of financial skills is necessary for pretty much everything we do on a daily basis, and especially when it comes to long term planning.
This is the exact reason why financial literacy is important, and continuing to improve your literacy around managing money should always be a priority.
You can attend workshops, read personal finance blogs, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, and even watch or listen to TED Talks.
There are plenty of options available that will help you stay on top of your financial literacy.
By doing so, you feel much better about managing your personal finances, and you’re also less likely to become the victim of financial infidelity.
Share financial responsibilities
Start sharing the responsibilities for taking care of your joint finances. By sharing the responsibilities, both you and your partner will be more aware of how much money you have, where it’s coming from, and how it’s currently being spent. And more importantly, responsibility helps develop trust and respect.
For example, let’s say that you and your partner have accumulated some debts that you need to pay off. Together, you can eliminate outstanding debts by exploring your options of available debt repayment plans. This will only work well if trust, respect, and responsibilities have been established.
The bottom line, above everything, is to talk openly with your partner about your money. This includes your financial goals, your budget, and how you plan to divide your income and expenses.
By doing this, both you and your partner will feel more comfortable talking about your financial lives, but also gain more trust and respect for one another.
Starting your financial future today
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