FINANCIAL INFIDELITY: WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH MONEY?
The Financial Infidelity survey, commissioned by Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) and Credit Canada in time for Valentine’s Day (February 14), reveals more than one third (36%) of Canadians are victims of financial infidelity.
The Leger poll asked Canadians the following question: “What is the worst form of financial infidelity you have been a victim of from a former or current partner?”
Here are some of the standout findings:
34 percent of those in a relationship keep financial secrets from their current romantic partner.
36 percent of those in a relationship have lied about a financial matter to a partner.
Younger adults who are not married, aged 18-54, tend to be victims of financial unfaithfulness.
Women and men are equally likely to become victims of financial infidelity (men: 35% vs. women: 37%), keep financial secrets from their partner (men: 35% vs. women: 34%) and lie about a financial matter (36% both).
Talking about money can be difficult for an individual, but when in a relationship, whatever issues each of them has is exacerbated. For example, 50 percent of Canadians are $200 away from not being able to pay their bills and we owe $1.71 for each dollar we bring in. That means we owe a lot more than we’d like to think about and that can lead to a great deal of stress and strain on a relationship.
Often individuals going into a relationship do not discuss money matters. It doesn’t seem romantic. As such there may be a lot you don’t know about your partner. You may not know how they handle money, their values around money, or their thoughts on credit and debt. This leaves room for miscommunication and at worst dishonesty and possibly financial abuse of their partner.
Sample 6 Step Conversation:
Use the following questions and to-dos to get financially naked with your spouse and ensure you are on the same page:
What are our goals?
Write a needs and wants list
Where are we now?
How are we going to get there?
Are there any changes?
Develop an action plan
Also, asking open-ended questions like: What are your financial goals in the next five or 10 years? If one wants to get another degree and travel the world while one partner wants to settle down and buy a home, there’s going to be a major disconnect.
Or, ask, what does money mean to you? If one says “Freedom” and the other “Security” – you can guess which one is likely the spender and which is the saver – and can guess at the friction that will cause in the future.
Here are some tips to combat Financial Infidelity
Regular cash withdrawals
Unaccounted purchases and expenditures that cannot be explained
Partner lies about purchases and expenditures, to you and/or to others
A change in behaviour, either in spending habits or attitudes towards you and money, in order to deflect attention away from themselves
Spending more, on themselves and/or others
A change in mail, such as regular statements or promotions from credit cards you don’t normally use, or investment firms you have never dealt with