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Updated on Monday, March 16, 2015
I have been married for nearly two and half years to my husband. In relation to our finances, we consider ourselves on the same page in terms of spending, saving and our financial objectives. We have a mix of joint and separate accounts as we are both self-employed and we also have joint and separate assets and credit cards.
The reality is that despite our propensity to consistently share financial information, the opportunity for my husband to commit financial infidelity exists, if I’m not paying close enough attention.
Married couples are heavily invested in the notion of trusting one another on all levels, including money. The problem typically occurs when a husband decides to take advantage of his spouse who isn’t involved, interested or aware of the details of the family finances. The results can be absolutely devastating once the lies, hidden expenses, additional debt or siphoning of income are uncovered.
To prevent yourself from becoming the next statistic of financial infidelity, you need to be concerned about what is happening with your money. Having your spouse in the role of the family CFO isn’t a bad thing, but you should insist on having at minimum, monthly meetings to review financial transactions.
Avoid being financially blindsided by being proactive about the following warning signs that may reveal if your husband has money secrets.
Transferring of Joint Assets
You notice on a joint bank statement that a large chunk of the funds were withdrawn. When you do question your husband, he answers that he opened a new “joint” account to earn more interest. You accept his response without further questioning.
Alert! Some husbands will move money from a joint account into an account solely in their name and purposely avoid telling their spouse. This is fraudulent and deceitful behavior, pure and simple. Confirm his story by asking him to provide details of the new account opening.
Cash back from Debit Purchases
You may send your husband to run errands for you at the store and he asks for cash back from the cashier. Given a spouse who doesn’t monitor the bank accounts often, it’s a clever way for a husband to slowly reduce the bank account balance and the wife is none the wiser.
Ask for and review purchase receipts to ensure that this isn’t happening to you. A similar result can occur with unmonitored credit card cash advances.
Redirecting the Mail
When bank, credit card or other financial statements that are usually mailed to your home or sent to an established e-mail address no longer arrive, it’s time to start asking questions. Contact the financial institutions to verify where the statements are being sent and request copies of the statements for review.
A wife may find out about their husband’s potential secret debt when they apply for a new credit line together. If you are refused for additional credit due to what may be contained in your husband’s credit report and if the new creditor cannot provide you the information, ensure that your husband requests his credit report and provides you with a copy.
Increase in Spending
Are you receiving clothing, jewelry and other gifts that you normally wouldn’t expect from your husband? At face value it may be an endearing gesture of love on his part but it could also mean that he is using more of the family income than he should be.
Worse yet, he may be financing the purchases via a new credit card that you have no knowledge about. The double whammy is discovering that the excess spending is being showered on someone else.
Password Changes/Data Corruption
When attempting to obtain information on your accounts, if you come across a roadblock due to a known password that was created or changed without your knowledge or consent, you have to question the reason for it.
Another way for a husband to hide his financial misdeeds is to claim that the data contained in financial spreadsheets or budgeting software has been corrupted or “lost”.
If you were to ask your husband questions pertaining to the finances and he gets defensive, accusatory or dismisses your concerns, it is more than likely that something is amiss.
Instead of withdrawing from a potential confrontation with your spouse, communicate that it is your right to be financially informed and that you are seeking the truth no matter how bad it may be.
Become a Financial Team
The above is not an exhaustive list of red-flags but it will get you thinking about how easy it is for a spouse to act inappropriately with money. The key to minimizing the possibility of financial marital secrets is to be an equal partner with your husband in managing your finances.
You may not have a deep interest in the day to day expenses yet your money and your marriage is at greater risk if you do not practice joint ownership of the family finances.