Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is Your Spouse a Secret Spender?

/24-7/ -- The success of a marriage may not be directly affected by a couple's financial situation, but according to recent polling, it is a factor. According to PayPal, which holds an annual survey in Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, nearly a third of all the couples surveyed (and 43 percent of all American couples), state that the recent worldwide recession has led to an increase in arguments.

Of all couples surveyed in the United States and Mexico, 14 percent admit to ending a relationship because of money, and in the United States, nearly a quarter of all couples (23 percent) have hidden purchases from their partner. It is a combination of these factors, made even more stressful by the increased financial instability since the PayPal survey last year, that may cause couples to look for signs that partners are being less than truthful about spending. Geoff Williams, the co-author of "Living Well With Bad Credit", writing at WalletPop, outlined 10 signs your spouse may be hiding spending from you.

- Unexplained items around the house. Do new items suddenly appear around the home with no explanation? It could be that your spouse made a purchase, but is hoping you don't notice, or, if you do, that you accept the flimsy explanation about their origin.
- Spouse is secretive about money. A spouse who demands to keep finances separate, even as little as a joint checking account, could be a sign that your spouse's finances are not in as good condition as they should be.
- Spouse receives a "dock" in pay. If your spouse comes home from work claiming to have received a dock in pay, but you've never seen the paycheck that shows it, the possibility exists that there was no dock in pay, and your spouse is simply keeping the "lost" money.
- Spouse is eager to get the mail. Has your spouse suddenly become extra interested when the mailman delivers the mail? It could be because an extra credit card bill is in there, extra purchases are being shipped to your address, or that your credit card bill contains extra charges you aren't supposed to see.
- Spouse applies for credit card in your name. One sign you and your spouse need immediate financial help is when your spouse applies for a new credit card in your name. Definitely a red flag that someone's finances are completely out of order.
- Receiving collection calls from unknown creditors. Calls from collection agencies aren't uncommon, but what happens when you answer a call regarding a credit card or debt you know nothing about? Time to see what purchases have been made without your knowing.
- Spouse starts paying less on monthly credit card bills. A spouse who suddenly starts paying the minimum could mean your finances aren't as healthy as you thought. Sometimes this is because the extra money is going to new purchases, or to pay off purchases you know nothing about.
- Grocery bill grows unexpectedly. With today's supermarkets becoming more like shopping malls, the grocery bill that unexpectedly balloons could be from non-essential impulse purchases made in the checkout line.
- Spouse is "extra" nice. Always the stereotypical response to having done something "bad." In some cases your spouse put a ding in the car, but other times you might be being buttered up to break bad news about extra debt.
- Spouse handles all the bills. Couples should really share in everything, and so when your spouse offers or demands to take care of the bills without your help, it could be a sign that the bills are out of control, and the spouse doesn't want you to know.

Of course, any of these signs could have nothing to do with poor finances or secret spending. But add up too many of them, too close together, and there could be a problem. So, while money troubles might not be the prime factor in divorces, distrust certainly is, and so everything ties together. Extra spending, secrets and distrust are a bad mix, so cutting off this pattern of behavior before it gets too common is the key to keeping your marriage intact and your finances in good shape.

Article provided by Jeffrey W. Goldblatt Law Office
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