Financial Infidelity: Here’s how to solve it with transparency

You’ve probably heard of couples that share a checking account yet hide credit cards and accounts from one another. Many times this leads to increased debt that the other spouse has no idea about. Here’s how Investopedia defines financial infidelity:

Financial infidelity occurs when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money.

Problems caused by Financial Infidelity

Financial infidelity can cause trust issues, erode respect, and is just dishonest.  In some cases, it can even lead to divorce.

Solution to Financial Infidelity

Financial Infidelity

Great couples keep the lines of communication open. They have common goals, especially when it comes to finances. Couples often strive to travel, retire and enjoy a long life together. Financial Infidelity prevents couples from fully knowing their financial picture and hampers the ability for them to reach that common goal.

The solution is easy: transparency.

By being transparent, a couple knows exactly how much money they have, what their credit scores are, their net worth and how they are trending towards meeting their financial goals.

How to Be Financially Transparent

Here are some tips to becoming financially transparent:

  • Full Disclosure – Meet with your spouse and come clean on any accounts that the other is not aware of.
  • Create Financial Goals – Talk openly about what you would like to accomplish. Your net worth, savings, and retirement goals are all great conversations to have.
  • Create a Budget – Create a monthly budget where you agree on spending for each budget category. We use Quicken for this, but there are many financial tools for this. Personal Capital is a free one.
  • Track Spending Weekly – Each week, evaluate your spending compared to your budget. Quicken and Personal Capital make this easy, as they automatically download transactions that you can categorize and produce a budget report that shows what you spent on each budgeted item.
  • Share your Budget Report – Each week, share your budget report with your spouse. For ease, I email ours to my spouse and then we discuss it. This has a side benefit as it allows us to reduce spending if we are beginning to get out of control on a specific category of spending.

So what does a budget report look like? Here is one I created a while back:

Budget Report

I created this with Microsoft Excel. The values come from Quicken. I could just use the Quicken report but I like the way Microsoft Excel can easily provide a green / red graph if a specific budget item is over or under budget.

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By creating a budget and sharing it with your partner weekly, all your finances become transparent. If you would like a copy of the Excel file I used to create the budget report above, post a comment below and I will send you a copy.

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

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