By Kelli B. Grant
Married? There’s roughly a one in three chance your spouse or partner has been deceptive about money, the Journal reports.
But an illicit offshore account may be the least of married people’s worries. Spouses keep a number of money secrets that could be far more damaging (see “10 Things Your Spouse Won’t Say”), among them, “I married you for money.” Then there’s the matter of where that siphoned-off cash is going: one survey found that married consumers who cheat tend to spend more on their lover than on their spouse.
Of those who lie, 58% have hidden cash, and 15% secret bank accounts, according to the Journal. Hiding that money from a spouse has gotten harder in the age of electronic discovery, experts say, with key-logging software, smartphone web-surfing histories and GPS trackers making it easier to uncover hidden accounts and assets.
The same electronic discovery tools used to hunt down a hidden account can also be turned to tracking down marital money lies about shoe purchases and ATM withdrawals. But the fastest way to avoid money lies is to keep both partners involved in managing the household finances instead of letting it fall to one, says certified financial planner Sheryl Garrett, the founder of the Garrett Planning Network, a group of fee-only planners. “We definitely need to be in sync about what’s going on,” she says. A monthly 15-minute money meeting can help couples address past spending and upcoming needs. “Simply by having this conversation, it moves money out of dark corners and into an everyday activity,” she says.