Is your partner honest about money? Do you suspect financial infidelity in your relationship?
As "The Money Couple," and creators of "The 5 Money Personalities," we categorize “financial infidelity” as the slew of troubling, money-related behaviors: lying, secretly hoarding, controlling, concealing risk, secret accounts, or any money-related conduct that involves one spouse being less than honest with the other.
Much like sexual infidelity, financial infidelity can start small. It may begin with some flirtatious comments or private “business” lunches and often snowballs into a larger problem. The same is true for financial infidelity.
Although there is one disturbing difference when it comes to financial infidelity, every couple has financial infidelity in their relationship. And yes, even with a trademarked name like "The Money Couple," we even admit we have committed it. While there are plenty of painful stories of blatant financial infidelity, it isn’t always intentional.
We all view money in a different way; that’s what we call your "Money Personality." In fact, we worked with a statistical scientist to identify the 5 main money personalities. We also found -- just to make life interesting -- that every one of us has a primary and a secondary money personality, and each one has what we call an "opposite dynamic."
It sounds tricky, but you can easily find out what combination of Flyer, Risk Taker, Spender, Saver or Security Seeker money personality fits you best by taking the free profile on our website. (We recommend that you then withhold chocolate from your partner until they to do the same!)
Because each person views and uses money differently, people often cover up any money behaviors they think their partner may disapprove of, or they hide their dishonest behavior in response to their fears of how the other uses money.
For example, someone with a "Spender" money personality often commits financial infidelity because she fears her "Saver" partner will tell her “no.” She gets a certain thrill when she spends money – for herself or others. The next thing you know, she even opens a secret, personal, credit card or borrows from friends so she can spend what she wants, no questions asked.
A person with what we call a "Risk Taker" personality may commit financial infidelity when he invests in “the next big thing” without any discussion with his partner. He doesn’t see any harm, because he plans to share the big payoff eventually, and then everybody will be happy!
People are often surprised to learn that a Saver can commit financial infidelity, but it’s possible. Their desire to protect themselves from a Spender might lead them to have a secret stash of cash – or shall we say a pile of lies?
Financial infidelity is not about the amount of money; it’s about the secrecy. (How about that for news?!) Hiding things from your partner harms your relationship because it is a breach of trust, and that hurts, no matter how much, or how little, money is involved.
A Security Seeker /Saver spouse may commit financial infidelity because they’re scared their Risk Taker/ Flyer spouse is going to blow it all. They pat themselves on the back as they squirrel away their money and tell their spouse there’s no money available when Apple’s stock price drops. They feel justified and helpful, but really their behavior is dishonest.
You love your partner, and you’re stronger together than apart. Your Money Personality differences can actually provide balance in your relationship and be a huge help to your bottom line. The Saver needs the Spender. The Spender needs the Saver .
With 70% of all divorced couples in America citing money as the number one behing their split, financial infidelity can’t be ignored. Eliminate that possibility from your relationship by being honest, developing a new love and money language, and recommitting to the dreams you once had as a couple.
We think you’ll find our new book, "The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language," essential to improving your money relationship. Our website can also be a huge help, and is frequently updated with tons of tools for eradicating financial infidelity and practical help for seeing eye-to-eye on day-to-day money issues.
Make it happen!
Scott and Bethany Palmer, the Money Couple, are the authors of The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language (Thomas Nelson, 2013). Follow them on Twitter @themoneycouple, and get your free money personality profile here.