In a recent Harris Interactive online poll of 2,019 adults, 31 percent of American couples with combined finances admitted lying to their spouses about money.1
Not surprisingly, another third of these adults admitted that they had been deceived. Both sexes lied to their partners about money in equal numbers.
The top three deceptions involved hiding:
- Cash — 58 percent
- Minor purchases — 54 percent
- Bills — 30 percent
- Hiding major purchases — 16 percent
- Keeping a secret bank account — 15 percent
- Lying about earnings — 11 percent
- Lying about debt — 11 percent
When the lies were discovered, it led to:
- Divorce —16 percent
- Separation — 11 percent
- An argument — 67 percent
- Decreased trust — 42 percent
What can you do to help protect yourself?
Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent a partner from financially deceiving you, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood it will happen — or at least help you catch a deception early on, before it grows into an even bigger problem.
First, before you say “I do” or combine finances with your partner, discuss your values and expectations about spending, saving and managing money. Identify any areas of disagreement and work to resolve them by deciding how you’ll approach future financial situations together.
Second, take time to regularly go over finances with your partner. This includes reviewing your tax documents together, which can help ensure you both know how much the other is earning, as well as how much is being contributed to employer-sponsored savings vehicles, such as a 401(k). It also includes regularly checking your credit card statements and making sure that the purchases match up with your receipts.
Third, schedule meetings with your financial, tax and legal professionals at times you can go together. This enables both of you to be well informed about — and equally involved in making — decisions about how to approach your:
- Financial goals
- Other legal documents
It also enables you to strengthen your joint relationships with these professionals.
1 The online poll, commissioned by ForbesWoman and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) was conducted from December 17 to 21, 2010.
Renée A. Hanson, CFP®, CEP®, CDFA™, CFS, is a private wealth advisor with Hanson, Ayala & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Her passion is in helping women achieve their dreams and financial goals, regardless of life’s many obstacles. Renée is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of AZ, CA, CO, GA, IA, IL, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI. Please visit: www.reneehanson.com to learn more.
Ameriprise Financial does not provide tax or legal advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney.
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