7 Money Lies That Can Ruin Your Marriage and Your Finances Skip to main content

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7 Money Lies That Can Ruin Your Marriage and Your Finances


Marriage and secrets

Money lies can wreck your life

Image Source: Flickr User Suus Wansick

You've heard that half of all marriages end in divorce, but that's just not true. In fact, only about one-third of marriages now end in divorce. Part of the cause of the decline in divorce rates is that people are choosing not to marry or choosing to wait to get married. Not marrying doesn't mean you won't split up, it just means you can avoid divorce court. And waiting to wed often means you can work out your issues prior to saying I do. But for those that take the vows, there is still a risk of divorce - and money issues are one of the top three causes of divorce.

Many call dishonesty about money “financial infidelity” and it's a big deal. No one likes to be lied to but, when it comes to money, the dishonesty can be nearly as devastating as sexual infidelity. Today we'll take a look at seven money lies that can ruin your marriage, push you to divorce and ruin your finances.

#1 Lies about windfalls

A windfall is an unexpected cash infusion and can be from a lottery win, inheritance or a surprise bonus at work. No matter the size or where it comes from, many people are tempted to keep it from their spouse for some reason. Maybe they want to treat themselves to something spendy, stash it in a secret bank account or spend it on someone else. First, if you and your spouse file taxes together, they'll notice the uptick in your income. Second, they will feel betrayed knowing you didn't want to share.

#2 Lies about hidden cash 

Over and above a windfall of cash, many partners keep a secret savings or checking account (or even a shoebox) of cash stashed away. You may have an account like this and justify it by saying it's for emergencies or it's a rainy day fund. Or, you may have had that account since before you got married and didn't consider it part of your joint finances. But when (not if, but when) your spouse finds out, they will just see it as money you're hiding and will assume the worst (like that you're planning on leaving).

#3 Lies about lost income

This lie most often comes from the breadwinner – usually the husband. If you lost your job or had your hours or wages cut, you may not want to tell your spouse. You may be embarrassed or think you can turn the situation around quickly, and they never need to know. But this can lead to more money lies such as taking money out of your savings to make up for the lost earnings or running up credit cards. Once your spouse finds out, you'll likely be caught in several money lies, and they may feel betrayed.

#4 Lies about credit card debt

If you and your spouse were both in your mid-20s or older when you wed, you likely both had finances established – perhaps good, perhaps bad. But if one spouse has more debt than the other, particularly credit cards, they may hide it because they worry it could be a deal breaker. If you have secret plastic debt, you may be trying to pay it off without your spouse finding out, but that just leads to more money lies because you'll be using joint funds to do it. Expect an unhappy partner when they find out.

#5 Lies about salary and assets

While most money lies have more to do with debt than assets, some people keep the good financial news from their partner too. You may get a raise and decide to keep it a secret. Or perhaps you have family money, a nest egg or other assets or property that you never told your future spouse about, and they still don't know even now that you're wed. You may view money you had prior to the wedding as apart from the marital finances but your spouse won't see it that way. Any debt or asset you hide is a problem.

Lies like these tend to come to light without any warning. You may leave a bank statement lying around or receipts from your “private” credit card. Or you may get a call from a creditor your spouse doesn't know. Or, they may suspect you're hiding something and go digging for dirt - this is not good for your marriage. If you have secret financial issues (good or bad) or suspect that your spouse is, and you want your marriage to go the distance, you need to act. Sit down and have a conversation and ask that you both commit to coming clean about your finances and make a plan to move forward together as a couple to tackle your money problems (or benefits) together.

If you or your spouse are deep in debt that you've been trying to manage without letting them know, this can cause serious problems. If the debt is just in one spouse's name, an individual bankruptcy may be possible to clear up the money woes that are dragging both of you down. Contact the law offices of John T Orcutt to schedule a free consultation with a North Carolina bankruptcy expert. Call +1-919-646-2654 and be sure to ask about our zero down bankruptcy special.

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