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Hiding money from your spouse can ruin your marriage and finances. Learn how you two can instead sync up with your money and goals!
It's time for another reader question! As always, you can send yours in by filling out this form!
Hiding Vacation Bonus Money at Work
This weekend I received an email from M about a situation that he noticed at work.
Here's what M shared with me:
At work today, I thought of your blog when we received our vacation paychecks which is what my company pays us for any unused vacation time.
Normally, the policy is that you use the vacation time or lose it, but this year, management wanted to reach a certain number of earned work hours and decided to pay workers for unused vacation time, thus providing an incentive working towards the earned hours goal versus taking vacation time.
So when we received our vacation checks today, some of my co-workers were like kids in the candy shop because this is money that their wives won't know about.
Wives don't exactly know how much vacation time their husband has used or accrued during the year. So when the vacation paychecks were received in hand, some of my co-workers were thinking about electronic gadgets to buy or planning to go out and have a good time.
Since your blog deals with building financial freedom together, do you think this is alright when my co-workers splurge a bit with money that their significant other won't know about?
Or do you think my co-workers should tell their significant others about their vacation checks and put it towards their financial goals?
Is This Financial Infidelity?
Quick take – secret money – whether it's a bank account, windfall, credit cards – is a form of financial infidelity.
Financial infidelity is more common than you think.
A recent survey conducted for National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) revealed that two in five Americans admitted to committing financial infidelity.
It's not only harmful financially, but it can ruin a relationship.
It’s a wide net and it can be scary both as the spouse in the dark and believe it or not, the one doing it.
Breaking trust is a huge issue that takes time to repair (if ever).
I suspect there's something deeper going on here, but we only have the information given, so here's my take on the situation based on what was shared.
Why Spouses Hide Money
Whenever there's an issue where one or both spouses are hiding money, there's usually something deeper going on beyond the finances.
A few of the most common reasons given are:
‘They'll Spend It All'
Instead of hiding the money, a more long term for both your marriage and finances is working with professional who specializes with
‘I'm Going to Just Put It Towards Our Goals'
Here's another situation where having a neytral third party can help.
You can work with a certified financial planner or financial therapist who can sit down with you two and help you craft a plan that you're both excited about.
‘It's My Money So I Should Spend It How I Want'
Every couple handles their money differently, but one trait I've seen with sucessful couples is that they work together on their goals.
Yes, some do have a mix of joint and separate accounts, but they still their money as a joint effort.
Overcoming Financial Infidelity
How can you move forward after one spouse (or both of you) has committed financial infidelity?
Tai and Talaat McNeely, the talented creators behind His and Her Money dealt with it early in their engagement and marriage.
You can listen to their story here on the podcast, but here are some of the key steps they took to rebuild that trust.
- Sought outside help
- Had regular conversations
- Talaat owned up
- Finances became transparent – maybe more so than they would have before, but regaining that trust was important to both of them
- They decided to tackle the debts together.
It was not an overnight process, but the two of them were able to tackle it together.
They're now completely debt free, including their house, and more importantly, they are closer and stronger as a marred couple.
A Better Way to Work Together with your Money and More!
We view our marriage as a team and when one wins, so does the other.
Now I do believe that there should be some fun money in the budget and when windfalls come in like bonuses, a little more should be allocated to celebrate.
It sounded like M and their co-worker put in some longer hours, so yes, that should be rewarded.
However, they need to work with their spouses and allocate that money towards the goals that matter most to them.