Financial Infidelity Increases During Recession

November 1, 2011
Financial Infidelity

One in every four married people in the United States would not tell their spouse if they were having financial problems, found a poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

The survey's goal was to give an idea of how married couples deal with financial difficulties in a period of bad economy and recession. According to study respondents, the reason for some of them to keep a secret was that they did not want to upset and worry their second half, while others were afraid that their relationship might suffer.

It was revealed that about twenty five per cent of Americans would not just tell their partner about money problems, with 9 per cent worrying it would upset their partner. Eight per cent of the respondents said that their spouse had no idea that there had been any financial problems and that they planned to keep it a secret. Seven per cent said they were very much concerned that financial difficulties would put an end to their marriage.

Seventy six per cent of the respondents said that they would share the bad news with their spouse, explaining that two heads are always better than one when it comes to solving money issues. Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the NFCC, who was surprised by the findings, said that a reluctance to share financial information in a matrimonial unit could not result in anything good, and is probably a sign that there is another underlying problem in the family itself.

For those individuals who hesitate to talk with their spouse about financial issues or just do not know how to do it, NFCC offers few suggestions:

  • Do not start talking about problems in the middle of an argument or a fight. Instead, choose some time to talk about it in a much calmer situation.

  • Try to make a serious conversation sound like a casual one, remembering the fact that another party might have his/her own opinions and concerns.

  • Do not hide any details about your current financial situation, it is always better to be honest with your spouse. Remember, that continuing the same lifestyle that you led before the problems started is simply not realistic.

  • Be prepared to adjust to a new lifestyle. If you need to cut on a few things or look for a second job, do it without whining or complaining. It could be that your situation is temporary, and everything will be back to normal pretty soon.

  • Do not hide your income, and also, do not lie about how much your debt is. Experts call it financial infidelity. Instead, they suggest that you bring and show your partner all your financial documents, including a credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, etc.

  • Acknowledge the fact that one of you may be a saver and the other one a spender, and understand that there are benefits to both mindsets. Agree to learn from each other's tendencies.

  • Think about making a joint budget with your spouse that will include some sort of savings account, and if you do create a joint budget, decide who is going to be responsible for paying certain bills.

Tags: Marriage

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