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Shikha is scared to death. She doesn’t know what to do. She and Rahul got married last year. Rahul had his job in Bangalore, so Shikha had to leave her job and has settled down as homemaker in Bangalore. She had one credit card from the time of her working days. When Rahul was gone to office she used to go out and buy things for herself from that credit card. Since she was working before marriage, she never got the habit of asking money from Rahul. And even Rahul never bothered to check if she needs some money for anything, because most of the time they used to do shopping together and Rahul settled the bill. But now due to extensive usage of her credit card and non-payment, credit card dues have mounted up to Rs. 25,000/-. And Shikha has no idea of how to break this news to Rahul.
As per Wikipedia, Financial infidelity is the secretive act of spending money, possessing credit and credit cards, holding secret accounts or stashes of money, borrowing money, or otherwise incurring debt unknown or unwilling to one's spouse, partner, or significant other. Financial infidelity in a relationship may also include any financial decision(s) made by a partner that may effect, burden, strain or set back the financial planning of the relationship.
To embrace today’s lifestyle, couples these days prefer to have double income rather than depending upon one person’s salary, but it also brings in a lot of financial independence for both of them. And at some point, they forget the importance of sharing the financial details with each other. It all starts with the small things, telling that you have bought the dress on sale, when actually you have bought it at full cost price, hiding your purchases, not telling anything about pending credit card bill and taking a loan from friend to cover that. These all acts are small steps towards financial infidelity.
We all know that for a marriage to stay truly blissful one need to be utterly honest and faithful. But, when it comes to money most of us lose the grip. Have you ever imagined a scenario, where if you meet an untimely death, what would your spouse do if he/she has no idea from where to start with in terms of your pending dues, your investments, your bank accounts, your insurance policies, or even the loan you have given to your friends. Nobody will come out in front and tell your spouse that he/she owed you money and now that you are not there anymore he is returning it.
Most of the times we don’t share financial details with our partners is because of the simple reason – Mismatch in financial aspirations. For you, buying a home might be a priority but for your spouse, a Car is a must have before owing a House. In such cases, both the partners must discuss things and understand each other’s perspective towards money. Talking about such matters, can help couples work out the differences between themselves and chalk out a better financial plan for both of them. Couples can also set a budget for each other - One cannot spend more than x amount without consulting the other partner. This doesn’t only bring the financial security but also adds on to the stability of marriage.
From a Financial Planner’s perspective, one cannot achieve his/her financial aspirations without enrolling his partner into this journey. Goals like Retirement, Child’s education, need thorough details about family’s expenses, income, their lifestyle changes and cannot be accomplished with just one person involved in it. Financial infidelity puts family’s Financial Well-being into danger and makes it difficult to achieve the financial goals.
Charu Hastir, CFPCM is founder of www.theriteplan.com. Rite plan is an online financial planning portal created to achieve a single objective of providing easy and Do It Yourself Financial Planning to netizens. Rite Plan is wholly owned by Tikkun Olam Financial Planning Services LLP. Please visit: https://theriteplan.com/index.php?route=common/home/