Money (or a lack of money) is one of the biggest stressors for couples.
According to a 2017 study, 21 per cent of couples said financial troubles led to their divorce. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, Credit Canada asked Canadians to dish on their horrific true financial infidelity stories and it got pretty juicy.
“My ex and I had a joint bank account for bills and the mortgage. Shortly before we split for good, he withdrew $1,000 for one huge party weekend,” one respondent recalled. “I only discovered it when the bank called and said we didn’t have enough money to cover the mortgage. It was horrible and took a few months to get caught up.”
The survey also revealed, unsurprisingly, that 34 per cent of people in relationships kept financial secrets from their significant other. And, 36 per cent have lied to their partner about finances.
But it’s not just married couples who lie about money. The survey found unmarried adults between 18 and 54 were the most common victims of financial unfaithfulness.
“Talking about money can be difficult for an individual, but when in a relationship, issues are exacerbated,” said author, personal finance educator and FPSC’s Consumer Advocate, Kelley Keehn. “For example, 50 per cent of Canadians are $200 away from not being able to pay their bills. That can lead to a great deal of stress and strain on a relationship.”
Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada, wants Canadian couples to get financially naked with each other. “Often, partners do not discuss money matters. It doesn’t seem romantic,” she says.
But if couples don’t talk about finances it can create all sorts of issues including financial abuse.
To combat this, Campbell says communication is key. She suggests having regular discussions about money, assets and debts. Campbell also recommends keeping a budget, maintaining separate accounts, holding individual credit cards and talking to a credit counsellor.
If you suspect your partner is being financially unfaithful, try to have an open and honest conversation with them. Do not pass judgement or blame. Once you get financially naked with your partner you can then discuss financial goals and how you plan to accomplish them.