09 May Capital Infidelity Is the New Capital Offense: Four Tips for a More Honest Financial Relationship
Have you ever hidden a purchase from a loved one? Or tried to cover up an exorbitantly high utility bill? Maybe you’ve kept an unexpected financial windfall a secret, making a bunch of justifications about it being “your money” or thinking “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.”
If any of the scenarios are above are true for you, you might be guilty of capital infidelity. And while it might not seem as dangerous as extra-marital infidelity, it can have severe implications for your relationships.
According to a recent survey of Australian Relationships, 37% of women and 30% of men cite financial stress as the primary problem in their relationship. Dishonest bookkeeping and spending are critical stress-causing situations which often tend to overflow into other aspects of your life and relationship.
Since healthy relationships are built on foundations of communication and trust, they often suffer when individual spending habits start revealing themselves. Money is known to be a touchy subject, even in times of great prosperity. It’s always a good idea to get a plan in place, to avoid some of these pitfalls.
Here are four things you can do to help prevent capital infidelity:
Know Where You Stand And Set A Budget: One of the major misconceptions about financial planning in the Sunshine Coast is that it’s all about deprivation, only it’s not. It’s about understanding your finances and planning accordingly. A budget allows you to allocate funds for what is important and eliminating the waste. If you’re a major foodie, you could budget for $200 AUD a week for going out to eat. Whatever your budget includes, just create a budget and stick to it.
Have Financial Discussions with Your Partner: Money is always a hard thing to talk about, but it’s important. Too often, one person is saddled with all of the bookkeeping, which can lead to resentment, as well as blame when things go south. Set a regular meeting to discuss the books, budgets, and goals but make an agreement to stay level-headed and non-confrontational. You might be able to work it into one of the nice dinners you’ve budgeted for, to help eliminate pain and possible confrontations.
Don’t Conceal Purchases: This is the financial equivalent of coming home with lipstick on your collar. Don’t do it. You will most likely get caught, plus it gums up the wheels of communication essential not only for a healthy relationship but also for sticking to a sound financial plan.
Avoid Having to Separate Finances: Sometimes couples decide to eliminate the stress altogether by keeping their finances to themselves. While it’s good to be independent, a committed relationship is about building a life together and not about going it alone. After all, what fun would life be if your partner had a slower earning year, forcing you to go to The Bahamas alone?
Naturally, most financial planners can sit down and try to help you “hash out” your financial details. Having a personal assessment done on your financial situation, budget, and goals could help you to foster a relationship of openness and trust that will serve your relationship well through thick and thin, in sickness and health, through poorer and hopefully, in the end, richer times.