Archive for October 23, 2006
My husband and I have been open and honest about money matters ever since we bought our first house together five years ago. At the time I made about $40,000 a year. He was bringing in well over $80,000. We weren’t married at that time, so we wrote up a lengthy document detailing how much each of us would contribute to the mortgage. I think I paid around 30% while he paid the other 70%. The rest of the expenses were split 50%-50%. To ensure we stuck to the 50%-50% target as much as possible we detailed each of our household expenses in a large excel ledger. When we were married a few years later we signed up for a joint bank account and credit card, then closed down our individual accounts and deleted the ledger. I have to admit that I was worried about using a joint credit card. Although I am not a big spender, I do purchase ‘unnecessary’ items, like clothes or shoes, every once in awhile. I wasn’t certain I wanted my husband to view my discretionary purchases.
But I gave in to his request to open joint accounts after he convinced me it would help us save for lifetime goals. And over the last few years I have decided that having a joint bank account and credit card helps me spend a lot less money. Just knowing that my husband will be journaling our expenses makes me think twice before buying something I ‘want’ but don’t ‘need.’
Since my husband and I are so open about money matters I’m always interested to learn how other couples handle income and expenses. I visited with an old friend last week who told me her husband is terrible with money. Apparently he’s run up a large amount of debt simply by not opening, and thus not paying, his credit card bills. It seems that my friend and her husband have separate bank accounts and credit cards, and that one does not know what the other is spending. So when she purchased an outfit later that day she whispered, ‘let’s not tell my husband how much this costs.’
This statement got me thinking about money and lies. A survey by Redbook magazine in 2005 found that 24% of people believed truthfulness about money was more important than being faithful. 29% of surveyors admitted to lying to their partner about finances. More importantly the survey found that those who had lied or been lied to were far less happy with their relationships. In fact, almost 50% of those who were ‘not satisfied’ had lied or been lied to.
Lying about money not only leads to mistrust and possible heartbreak but it also inhibits a couple from setting life long goals. After all, if you are secretly buying dresses while your husband is buying video games, you are failing to save money for your future together. This will ultimately prevent you from fulfilling life-long dreams of early retirement, starting your own business or traveling the world.