Your Significant Other Might Be Keeping This Money Secret from You
Have you ever been faced with a scenario where you told your delivery guy to hide a parcel from your partner? If not, well, there’s a teeny-tiny chance your partner is likely to. Splurging, it appears, is one of the dirty little secrets kept between lovers.
A recent survey was conducted which focused on the spending habits of Americans. Their findings? One out of four respondents has secretly hidden a purchase from their significant other. The sole reason behind their secret purchase? Their partner might get mad.
The research delved deeper and parsed the results down to gender. Among the respondents, the majority were females which comprised about 57%. Out of the percentage who made a secret purchase, more than half of them were buried in credit card debt. The study also found out that they had splurged on something in the past two years that impacted their ability to become financially secure, including their ability to pay bills.
The Safe Word
So, what drives this behavior? It all boils down to people’s ability to talk—or rather, not talk—about money. Money is often a topic that is taboo for many perhaps because, sometimes, their self-worth is associated with how much money they make.
Another compelling reason why couples are not as open when it comes to money matters results from fear of disapproval that may come from their partner. Imagine telling your partner that you blew your vacation funds all to get the latest pair of running shoes, or that you’ve invested a huge chunk of your shared savings in Bitcoin. In all likelihood, you’ll be met with confusion—or at worst, their fiery wrath.
Now, how do you avoid this financial scandal? The key is in communication.
Live, Laugh, Love… and Then Talk About Money
A tried and tested way for couples to build a healthier relationship with money is by having open and honest conversations about shared financial goals to curb secret spending among partners.
Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial Talks Money, shares that sitting down and taking the time to have tough financial conversations between couples is a good start. Whenever there are arguments related to money, they can always look back to their financial goals as the benchmark for justified spending.
Brittany Davis, a financial planner at Brunch and Budget, also weighs in on the subject. These conversations, she says, don’t always have to be about the numbers. She proposes a novel yet intuitive way to go about it: talk about money in the context of emotions. For example, the statement, “I feel guilty about spending too much on clothes from my online shopping spree,” is a great way to open these kinds of conversations.
Sticking to the Budget
It’s common practice between couples to set a budget for dates and vacations—but the tricky part is sticking to that budget. Then, there is the concept of “fun money,” coined by Scott Henderson, a financial counselor. Fun money, as he describes it, is a budget allotted to each person which they can spend in any manner they want—no questions asked. It’s is a shared understanding between couples, so there shouldn’t be any guilt that comes with it.
Transparency and trust are also solid foundations that make a marriage last, and this extends to the financial aspect. Fortunately, the profusion of apps has made it easier for couples. One such financial app is Qube Money, a budgeting app that lets couples set up a joint account with real-time transaction notifications. This way, each partner is completely aware of what is going on with their money.
Of course, not all couples can agree on this. If you are not into the thought of sharing money, a traditional option is to keep your finances separate. You both commit to covering an agreed-upon portion of household bills, expenses, and savings, and the rest of your money is yours to spend as you please. It’s good practice, though, to not keep your money a secret from your partner.