Trust is a key ingredient in healthy relationships. Most people would agree that dating someone else is breaking trust and jeopardizing the existence of the marital relationship.
Breaking the bonds of financial trust can be equally damaging to a relationship. If couples want to stay married and value that relationship, they will do all they can to be transparent, forthcoming, and create a mutually supportive approach to money. Otherwise they risk losing the love, respect, and trust that holds their relationship together.
For example, if one person has withdrawn the full amount of the home equity loan without their spouse knowing — that’s breaking trust. Or opening one or more charge cards and running up debt that can’t be repaid, all unbeknownst to their spouse —- its breaking trust.
The money might have gone for gambling or to make what was thought to be a solid investment. The hidden use of the money might mitigate the ensuing anger, but it’s very likely the broken trust will cause long term damage often ending in divorce. It’s as hard to bring back financial trust as it is to bring back emotional trust, and they are intertwined.
It’s a good idea for couples to have an annual review of separate and joint credit reports. If one person doesn’t want to get a credit report, it could be a signal that there are deeper issues and maybe cause for concern.
Marital Mediation offers a neutral forum to talk about the condition of money in the marriage and to find ways to have agreement and keep trust in the relationship.
Cinda Jones, CFP, CDFA
San Diego – Del Mar – Carlsbad