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Don’t Be a Cheater, Financial or Otherwise

It was recently reported that financial cheating between couples is on the rise in the US. Here are the bidnessmen’s two cents on this issue

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Ah to be young or not-so-young and to be in love. What could be a better feeling than that? Absolutely nothing, right? While some would agree, others would argue that the Beatles were grossly incorrect when they said, or rather sang: “All you need is love”.

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Lately, the age old saying that money can buy everything but it can’t buy happiness or love has been put to the test as reports have come out saying that one in three couples in US is guilty of infidelity of another kind.

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No, we don’t mean cheating in the typical sense, we mean cheating of the number’s kind i.e. financial infidelity. The following are the findings of a survey conducted in 2012:

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Apparently love simply is not enough. There is another saying as well: Money can’t buy happiness. Maybe, but all we know is that it is easier to cry while sitting inside a BMW.

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If you are depressed after reading the results of this survey, then we have some more findings that will surely shatter your belief in loyalty and honesty and love. Actually we are shocked that your belief is still intact after reading this far.

A National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) study conducted by Harris Interactive reported that about 33% of couples with combined finances have committed financial infidelity sometime during their relationship. The infidelity or financial cheating can be anything from hiding a purchase or a spending habit that could have had a potentially devastating effect on the relationship.

It was even more shocking when the report said that 76% of these financial or monetary infidelities had had a severely negative impact on the couple in question.

Patricia Seaman, senior director at NEFE had this to say about the findings: “People commit financial infidelity because although they are sharing everything with their partner or spouse they believe that certain parts of their financial situation still should remain private.”

Hiding finances and financial blunders is becoming an increasingly common factor in the rising divorce rate since more and more couples are being found guilty of hiding a gambling habit or other addiction that has severe financial implications, according to Jimmy Lee, financial adviser at a Las Vegas-based Wealth Consulting Group.

By the time most couples realize the potential dangers of these infidelities, it is usually too late to salvage the relationship.

When asked for some tips, the bidnessmen said that couples should talk more openly about any spending habit or addiction that any of them might have. This way the person who is hiding something gets the chance to come clean. Essentially, this means that both parties should bring out details about every credit card, every loan and any other financial information which they might have kept secret.

Then, when the problem is identified, the couple should try to resolve it as a team and not play the blame game. You got in as a couple and you will get out of it as a couple.

Of course, there are cases where you may simply want to play the blame game - you didn’t steal the money to give it back did you? And what better way to justify it than by saying that you had no choice and were driven to this point?

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If the situation is so messed up that it is practically unsalvageable it is perhaps smart to just call it quits, and make a clean break. We know this sounds mean and a little insensitive, but a toxic relationship actually ends up hurting both parties and helps no one.

Most importantly - for those couples that do decide to stick it out - to ensure that nothing of this sort ever happens again in the future, the cause or motivation for the financial infidelity needs to be identified and addressed. This is much easier said than done of course. After all, this needs brutal honesty on both sides, and if that was so easy, they wouldn’t have been in this mess in the first place.

The truth shall set you free!

If you are really serious, you could even opt for some professional counselling if it involves some sort of addiction or a problem. After all, the relationship is already damaged goods right? So what more harm can you do by wasting some cash on marriage counsellors.

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