There are a lot of different things that can throw your retirement plans off track. We often worry about downturns in the stock market, job loss, health emergencies, and other disasters that could cost us our financial well-being. But another danger may be lurking right in your own home, and may even be affecting you already.
Sometimes spouses cheat – financially, that is. In fact, a recent study by CreditCards.com found that one in five Americans has made a major purchase of 500 dollars or more without consulting or informing their spouse. And about 7.2 million Americans keep money in secret bank accounts, or have extra credit cards without their spouse's knowledge.
At first glance this type of behavior may seem like a simple “white lie”. What they don't know can't hurt them, right? If you're doing it, maybe you just think you're avoiding a fight, or that you worked hard for your money and deserve to splurge when you feel like it.
The problem is, aside from potentially angering your spouse, this type behavior can make it very difficult for you to stay on a reasonable budget. If you both aren't aware of how much money is coming into the household and how much is going out, you could end up in a real financial mess sooner or later. Not to mention, hiding money or avoiding communication about money matter can lead to late bill payments and harm to your credit score.
Hiding money or spending habits from your spouse is also a sign that your financial values are not aligned. As you save and prepare for a future together, you really need to be on the same page so that you can most effectively work toward your goals.
It's an uncomfortable conversation for some couples, but it's one that you must have. Talk honestly and openly about finances, and keep the lines of communication open. Talk about your goals first, to make sure you agree on issues like retirement and budget, and then discuss how you can reach those goals together. You may both have to compromise in order to reach a middle ground, but keep in mind that a comfortable retirement depends on your willingness to work toward this goal together.
14116 – 2015/2/13
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