“Investments that I made in a rush, cost me a fortune. I bought shares of a company that shut shop three months later. I don’t have the heart to tell my wife about it.” - A doctor by profession, who was trying out new things in life.
“My husband doesn’t know that I quit my job last month. I hated my boss. I don’t know how much longer I can pretend to receive salary every month, using up my savings.” - A wife, who was tired of workplace harassment
“I bought new speakers from Bose on full MRP. I told my wife it was on an e-commerce sale. She would never approve of such indulgent behavior, but I love music.” - A guilty husband with high disposable income
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation - wherein, you did not intend to lie about your money, but you felt like you had no option but to do so?
From hiding facts about having your personal Emergency Fund saved up somewhere, to burning away your joint savings at a casino, all these facts are signs of what experts are now calling “financial infidelity”.
Why should this concern you?
It is a concerning matter for couples who share expenses and incomes because your relationship can be affected by dishonesty (you might think it’s a harmless white lie), and more importantly, your long-term goals can get derailed.
Here are some ways you can prevent yourself from firstly lying about your money mistakes, and if you already are in a pickle, this is how to come clean about it.
1. Come clean: It will be hard to explain to your spouse, why you did, what you did. But when it comes to confessing, it’s always better late than never.
2. Set limits: Limit your spends to your disposable income only. Do not touch your savings or Emergency Funds for any extravaganza - that would be a critical financial mistake.
3. Adjust power dynamics at home: A study by Stanley et. al. (2002) found that finance has a role in relationships because of their link with issues of power, decision-making, and control. If you are the sole breadwinner of the family, there is a high chance that you tend to keep things from your better half, simply because you feel that money issues do not concern (or interest) them.
So whether you are a single or dual income household, money matters must always be openly discussed, especially if your future depends on it.
For instance, your wife (non-breadwinner) may want an Ivy League education for your child, whereas you might want to educate your child in India. Money requirements for these goals are very different and have to be saved up for accordingly. Even if you do not include her in the making money part, she does have a say in how you save or invest for your common dreams and goals. Sometimes, your better half is making wrong decisions because they don’t know the whole picture.
Be transparent, and honest. Don’t lose your relationship on account of dishonesty regarding money matters.
[Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Whitton, S. W. (2002), Communication, Conflict, and Commitment: Insights on the Foundations of Relationship Success from a National Survey. Family Process, 41, 659–675. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2002.00659.x]