We talk about avoiding financial infidelity all the time, but how well do we actually share financial information?
The indication is that most of us aren’t very good at it.
According to a survey reported by CNBC, close to 40% of baby boomers have spent more than $500 without letting their significant others know. On top of that, the survey estimates that there might be as many as 12 million Americans hiding accounts and credit cards from their partners. That’s right. 12 million people!
It’s Fairly Easy to Hide Money from a Significant Other
You might think that it would be hard to hide money from a significant other, but the reality is that hiding an account is actually pretty easy to do.
After all, your credit is separate from your partner’s even if you are married, and it’s not that hard for a partner to open a credit card without you knowing. It’s even possible for him or her to open a bank account in his or her own name without you ever knowing about it.
If you both have your own money, and you have separate individual accounts, it’s obviously pretty easy to keep money hidden if you want. But even if you share accounts, if you don’t talk about money often, or one of you doesn’t check the accounts very often, it’s possible to keep some money hidden without too much trouble.
Try to be on the Same Page
Even though it’s relatively easy to hide money from a significant other, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. If you aren’t honest with each other about money, there is a very real chance that you could wind up in financial trouble.
Making big purchases without being the same page, especially if you have combined finances, can quickly lead to overdrawing your account and cause other problems.
Even if you have separate finances it’s a good idea to discuss the situation and work to be on the same page. After all, you might want to get a joint account at some point. You may even want to get a car loan or a mortgage together. If one of you has bad credit, but the other doesn’t know, that can derail your plans.
It’s a good idea to talk about your money situation, and work toward a set of shared goals.
You Don’t Have to Share Everything
You don’t have to share everything to be successful with money as a couple, though.
Separate finances can work just fine too. However, you still need to be honest with each other about the way you handle money. It’s also important to let your partner know how much debt you have so that you can plan some of your joint expenses together.
The key to making things work in any relationship is communication. You need to make sure you understand each other when it comes to money. And if you have joint finances, it’s especially important not to keep things from each other.
No, you don’t have to tell your partner everything if you keep your finances separate, or semi-separate. You should, however, try to manage money in a way that won’t put your joint financial situation at risk down the road.
David’s Note: I know this sounds obvious, but too many of us find it hard to commit to honestly and open communication. How well does your significant other know about your financial situation? That’s the test of how well you’ve done to keep your partner in the loop.