Lovers lie about finances. According to a recent CNN Money report, 80 percent of married people hide purchases from their partners — not that it’s all that hard to do.
An American Express poll found 91 percent of those surveyed avoid money talk with their significant other. No wonder, then, about half of U.S. marriages end in divorce, and money issues often rank among the leading factors.
Here are five tips to get started talking about finances with your mate:
Assess your ‘Money DNA’
Everyone has Money DNA, a fundamental perspective on money and finances. Some people are prodigious savers. Others are big spenders. Put two people with different Money DNA together, and things can get explosive. The trick is understanding the Money DNA of you and your partner, setting goals and mapping a strategy that can satisfy the perspectives of both.
Get full disclosure
Marriages really are mergers. Two businesses wouldn’t merge without first having a full look at the books. Neither should couples. Before saying ‘I do,’ both people should offer full disclosure of their finances as part of a joint financial planning process. And the disclosure shouldn’t end there. Each spouse should agree to routinely review credit card accounts, bank statements and credit reports – and have their own logins for accounts — to ensure all information stays out in the open.
Have a money date
At least once a month, set aside an hour without the kids to meet about family finances. This ensures an ongoing, open dialogue about money at a time when both people can free themselves from outside distractions.
Divide and conquer
It’s typical in a relationship for one person to take on the role of chief financial officer, managing accounts and paying bills. This arrangement can lead to unnecessary stress, tension and, at times, confusion. Split the duties. One person can act as bill payer, the other as money tracker. This removes the burden from one person and provides a check-and-balance on the family finances.
Hire an advisor
A neutral third-party is sometimes the best option to diffuse or avoid tensions over money. A financial advisor can work with couples to establish financial goals, pay bills, monitor accounts and help notice any unusual spending patterns, should they arise.
For more ideas and tips, visit www.360financialliteracy.org