Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is a day to celebrate with our loved ones. It’s a day to celebrate unity and compassion. But it may also be a time of infidelity – financial infidelity. According to a new survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education, two in five individuals have deceived their partner financially.
Why do people commit financial infidelity in their relationships? In most cases, it comes down to miscommunication and different financial goals.
According to the survey, nearly a third of those who have committed financial deception believed their finances should remain private, even from their spouse. Other reasons given for deceiving a spouse financially was that they knew their spouse would disapprove, were embarrassed or fearful about finances, or feared their spouse would disapprove.
Lack of communication, especially when it comes to finances, can often make or break a relationship. Seventy-five percent of the respondents in the survey said that financial deceptions affected their relationships by causing an argument, losing trust in the relationship, resulting in divorce or separation as a couple, creating less privacy in the relationship, or leading to separation of finances.
With financial deceptions causing rifts in so many relationships, it seems a little strange that only 54 percent have resolved to change how they and their spouse manage finances, according to the survey. But, for those among the 54 percent who would like to resolve their financial discrepancies, here are a few steps you can follow:
1. Don’t Accuse
The worst thing you can do if you think your partner is being dishonest about their finances is to jump to conclusions. Try to discover all the facts and then address the issue calmly. Give your partner a chance to explain why they did what they did. They might just have different financial goals than you do. Throwing accusations at them will put them automatically on the defensive and an argument will ensue.
2. Be Financially Open
If you want your partner to be financially open with you, you should do the same. Be honest about your finances and your financial goals. You should create an environment where they can feel comfortable explaining their finances and financial goals as well.
3. Create Financial Goals Together
Now that you’ve discussed what each of your financial goals are, it’s time to create financial goals together. Would you like to save up for a vacation? Create an emergency fund? Save for a baby? Make each goal a priority and discuss what you can do to help achieve all of the goals on your list. Make sure you and your partner are satisfied with the list and are willing to work towards achieving these goals together.
4. Offer Forgiveness
We’ve all been there. We all make mistakes. How would you like your partner to respond to your mistakes? Give your partner the benefit of the doubt and forgive their mistakes. Instead of dwelling on the past, look at what you need to do to move forward. You can create a financially secure relationship by working together from here on out. In doing so, you’ll build a stronger bond together, financially and emotionally.
5. Seek Counseling
If all else fails and financial infidelity continues to occur, you should seek marital counseling. Marital counselors can help you create a positive environment for you both to discuss your financial problems. A counselor can help you see new ways of looking at things and how to help each other feel understood financially. With a little work and understanding, you can rebuild your relationship and trust.
Make the most of your Valentine’s Day by striving to create a strong and healthy relationship with your loved one today – both emotionally and financially.