If you have a joint bank account, credit card or joint finances with your partner, have you ever thought to ask yourself how well you know what your partner's spending habits are, and whether you would be able to account for all of your bills, debts and withdrawals?
If you, like to 51% of people in the UK, suspect that your partner has been keeping their finances or their income a secret from you then you might be worried that your partner is committing financial infidelity against you. And you want to consider finding out how you should protect, you, your family and your finances from any unexpected turmoil, then you may want to carry on reading.
In this article, we’ll explain to you what financial infidelity is, how to spot the signs, how to confirm if your partner is committing financial infidelity, what the implications of financial infidelity are, why people commit financial infidelity and lastly how to protect yourself.
What is Financial Infidelity?
Financial Infidelity, if you haven’t already guessed, is when couples who have combined finances lie to each other about their money, income or the state of their current or previous finances. A partner can commit cheat financially on their partner if they fail to tell their partner about:
- Any large purchases that they have made
- Any secret credit cards or bank accounts
- Any accumulating debts on joint accounts that the other partner doesn’t know about
- Their actual income amounts
Implications of Financial Infidelity
Now, while it does sound quite unpleasant to think of your partner keeping money or their financial woes to themselves instead of discussing them with you, you may be asking so what? What’s the harm if my partner doesn’t want to discuss their finances or their income with me? I mean, after all, many couples have separate finances and separate accounts anyway, so what does it matter if you don’t know everything about your partner's money handling and spending habits?
However, now while that is true, there are still some serious financial implications that could affect you, your family and your finances if your partner decides to commit financial infidelity by using any of your joint accounts and here are just a few ways in which it could affect you:
Debts could spiral out of control
The unfortunate truth is, is that if you aren’t aware of any debts that your partner is racking up on any of your accounts, then unfortunately, unless your partner can pay off the debts, then the deficits will spiral out of control potentially without your knowledge, affecting both you and your partner’s credit records.
This can lead to severe implications, meaning that you could be unable to pay your household bills or your mortgage repayments, potentially leading to repossessions or having your amenities switched off.
As well as this, unpaid debts will be left on your credit file for up to 7 years, and could potentially lead to things such as a County Court Judgement or filing for Bankruptcy, which has the potential to stay on your account for longer if you do not take the appropriate steps to deal with your financial problems.
Your partner could not be contributing enough to your household
If your partner is spending more money than both of you are earning, or if your partner is not being completely honest about how much income they’re making, then they may not be contributing enough as a whole to the running of your household.
Now we’re not saying that your partner needs to contribute all of their income into the running of your home and to the support of any dependents you both may have. Instead, they should help you to contribute fairly, and if all of your income is being used to run your home and you’re still having trouble getting by, then it’s not fair for your partner to not contribute their share to cover the costs of the bills.
Your partner could be spending all of the money in your accounts
The majority of us trust our partners with our lives, which is why we trust them with our finances. Therefore, with a shared credit or bank account, you may feel no need have access to or to keep checking your balance or statements, unless you find yourself having any troubles repaying your bills or you wish to see how much you’ve saved up.
If you’ve been failing to check your finances and leave it to your partner to take care of, then you could be completely unaware of their spending and withdrawal habits, which could leave you in a dire financial position later on if they’re making substantial purchases without your knowledge or benefit which you aren’t aware of.
Financial signs of financial infidelity
If you are worried that your partner may be keeping your shared finances a secret from you and want to ensure that you are protected from any nasty surprises in the future, try to look out for the following tell-tale signs of financial infidelity:
- Your partner doesn’t have physical copies of their bank statements or credit accounts.
- They’re cagey about their mail and about getting the mail before you do.
- There’s been excessive spending or unexplained withdrawals from your joint account.
- They’re touchy and defensive when you try to talk about money matters.
- They don’t allow you access to any statements or account details to any of your joint accounts.
- You suspect your partner might have an expensive habit or hobby.
- You suspect your partner might be having an affair.
How to find out if your partner is keeping things from you
If your partner is showing signs of being cagey about your finances, then you will want to know about any debts, finances or income a secret from you. The best way to find out for certain is to do your own investigative work, as your partner is likely to dismiss claims and refuse to talk about it.
Therefore, instead of asking them and it escalating into an argument, conduct your own investigation by contacting any banks or companies whom you hold an account with to get a statement. What you want to ensure is that:
- Your outcomings are in line with your outgoings.
- There has been no large purchases or withdrawals.
- You should also request a copy of your credit report to ensure the following:
- There are no unpaid bills or debts.
- There have been no new opened accounts.
Reasons for committing financial infidelity
There are many reasons that a partner may lie about their finances, and although you may assume the worst if your partner is keeping their money a secret from you, here are the most common reasons people lie to their partners about finances:
- An affair or making preparations to leave
- Guilt or embarrassment
- Different wants and goals to you
- Poor money management skills
How to Prevent Financial Infidelity
If you want to protect yourself from any financial problems in the future then here is how to protect yourself:
Be open about your finances
The same way you expect both you and your partner to be honest about your feelings in a relationship is the same way you should both be about your finances. If you’ve been in debt in the past, or if you’ve got a savings account for your retirement then be honest about it. That doesn’t mean that your partner is entitled to repay your debts or entitled to a share of your savings, it just stands you both in good stead to understand each other’s money spending and saving habits, ensuring everything can be spoken about honestly and without any guilt or shame.
Go over both of your finances before you agree to a joint account
If you’ve bought a home or have started a family together, then there will be a time when you should talk about whether or not you want to conjoin your finances and accounts together. Although this is wonderful and can mark a new shift in your relationship, you should both take a look at each other’s credit reports before you agree to anything. If your partner has been honest with you, then this shouldn’t be a problem, as you’ll probably already be aware of anything that’s on there, but if they refuse, this is a red flag.
By being open about your finances, you and your partner can help and support each other to not only pay your bills and run your household but to flourish financially too. If you have any doubts about your joint accounts, then take heed and make sure your aware of everything you and your partner are spending and saving money on.
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