For Richer, For Poorer?
Do you hide a secret stash of money away, unknown to your spouse? Or understate the amount that you spent on your credit card? Well, there’s a term for that: Financial Infidelity. It’s to describe any secretive act of spending, holding money or even incurring debt, with the intent to hide it from one’s partner or spouse.
I’ve come across that term from a book sometime back but only recalled it recently when I read a small but interesting news report. The report spoke of a lucky man from Taiwan who won NT3 million in prize money, but specifically asked that the lottery company keep his win a secret from his wife! The company went on to add that this was not an isolated case. There had been seven winners, including women, who had asked to do the same. They’re just the exceptions, I thought at first. But later, on reflection, I realized that this is indeed a sad but true fact of life for quite a number of couples I know, albeit on a much smaller scale…
There was this friend who shared how she had sold some wedding jewellery and decided to keep the cash in a secret stash. Yet another was bemoaning how tough but necessary it was to under-declare to her husband the amount she spent on a particular high-ticket item. What really puzzles me sometimes is why they could confess their doings to us mere friends or acquaintances, yet found it difficult to face their significant others?
And this is happening not just among females. In Shanghai where we used to stay, it is a tradition for wives to hold the purse strings with full access to their spouses’ accounts. In some companies, some male workers would request that their bonuses be paid in cash and not through their usual bank accounts, so that their wives could not find out. One way to circumvent the family CFO!
There are many reasons for financial infidelity: an overly-stingy spouse, a spouse who nags too much or “my mother kept a stash away too”. Under certain rare instances, I suppose, the reasons could be valid. However, I am personally strongly against it. It may start small but small things do add up, leading to an erosion of trust and confidence in each other.
In the States, financial infidelity is reported to be a rising trend and the cause for 16 per cent of divorces. Luckily, there are ready experts who have written great books on how to deal with this already. If you’ve the time and the interest, do zoom in on the following books, which I have handpicked – from where else… our trusty library of course:
1) Financial Infidelity: Seven Steps to Conquering the the #1 Relationship Wrecker, by Bonnie Eaker Weil
2) Financial Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Merging Money Styles and Building a Rich Life Together, by Bambi Holzer
3) Financially Ever After: The Couples’ Guide to Managing Money, by Jeff D. Opdyke
4) Women, Men & Money: The Four Keys to Using Money to Nourish Your Relationship, Bankbook and Soul, by William Francis Devine, Jr.
Speaking from personal experience, I can say my marriage has not only enriched me spiritually, mentally but financially as well. My conclusion: marriage and money can and should mix. I am no expert on how to help couples sort out their financial issues and problems but can only share the following “quote” from which the heading for this blog entry came from:
“I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
I sincerely wish you a financially blissful marriage!
(This article first appeared in CPF IM$avvy Bloggers' Corner.)