For those who are new to the term, financial infidelity is the act of lying about, hiding or secretly hoarding money in a relationship.
It includes all manner of devious and underhanded conduct from playing down the price of those new Jimmy Choo’s to secret squirrel accounts and crippling debt accrual that can have you still paying down your ex’s credit card bill for years after the romance has fizzled and you’ve gone your separate ways.
Research from ING Direct found that more women than men – 21% per cent compared with 17% admitted to having a secret bank account. The research further blew apart the notion that it is women who are predominantly secret spenders revealing that more than half of women with a secret account used it for personal savings, compared with only 33% of men.
Men were more inclined to use their secret funds for lifestyle purchases, and were also more often guilty of using their secret bank account to buy items their partner may not approve of.
Money issues are responsible for nearly 50% of divorces in Australia so recognising the warning signs of financial infidelity and getting the ‘money talk’ right from the outset can make all the difference to your happily ever after.
Three warning signs of financial infidelity
- Overly controlling behavior – Quite often the more serious cases of financial infidelity arise when one spouse wants to control the finances with little or no input from the other. If your partner gets defensive or patronising when you try to have a say in financial decisions, warning bells should be ringing.
- Unexplained withdrawals – If you regularly look through your joint account and find cash withdrawals or purchases you don’t recognize, there could be more to the picture. Query them with your partner, or directly with the bank.
- General avoidance of money topics – The money conversation can be a real libido killer but if your one-and-only gets cagy when you raise the topic or constantly deflects your questions, chances are there’s something to hide.
What you can do about it: His, hers and ours accounts
A shared bank account is a perfect way to balance the books and save for joint goals. His, hers and ours accounts can endure everyone contributes equally to daily basics without having to check in if you want to splash out.
His and hers accounts are a fair way to offer full autonomy and freedom as well as privacy and it can also work for married couples who value having a bit of flexibility. If you’re pooling funds then you can siphon off a fair amount of spending money to each of you. That way, no one feels guilty about going out and spending on something they want as it’s already been worked into the budget and agreed upon.
If both of you are earning full time an arrangement like this might work:
His account: everyday account into which his salary is put and from which he can spend on as many boys’ gadgets as he likes and surprises for her
Her account: everyday account that received her salary and from which she can spend on shoes and surprises for him
Our account: an account into which both contribute to equally (or proportionally according to salary) every payday for essentials like rent or mortgage, groceries, bills and entertainment.
Savings account: A high interest account (requiring two signatures to access) or term deposits where each contributes equally (or an agreed amount) every pay cycle for big-ticket items like holidays or a house deposit.
Transparency and shared goals are key ingredients for financial faithfulness but a smokin’ hot rate doesn’t hurt either!
If you’re looking to take the plunge and combined finances this Valentines Day or have been thinking about committing your own bit of infidelity, the hottest rate in town for your savings has to be MEBank’s Online Savings Account with 4.60% interest. Or you can see what else is on offer form savings accounts here.