Our nation’s scandals are more and more focused around money – it’s loss, gain, and corruption. Take the recent news of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s alleged attempt to sell Barack Obama’s former senate seat. Or the accusations against Bernard Madoff who is accused of squandering billions of investor’s money. As the New York Times points out:
“The most salacious news stories pivot on money, not mistresses, prostitutes or toe taps in an airport men’s room. It’s the 10th anniversary of Monicagate and the impeachment of President Clinton, and even the Fox News Channel cannot summon the energy to dwell on Linda Tripp … It seems like ages since anyone cared about John Edwards’s extramarital folderol. Madonna’s divorce settlement is a footnote. Eliot Spitzer is so pre-Fannie Mae.”
Financial Infidelities And How To Talk About Them
The focus on infidelities and sex has seemingly been taken out of the public eye in exchange for a focus on money. And that’s increasingly the case for couples across the nation as well. Financial Infidelity (spending money behind your partner’s back as a way to justify any one of a number of behaviors) isn’t too much of a threat any more because couples don’t HAVE the money they once did for discretionary spending.
Now is the time to re-connect with your partner, specifically about your finances. If you can’t discuss the issues that money brings up, that’s not a great reflection on your marriage. Use these topics to get you talking and to deflect the normal angst that comes with the pressure of money and budgets.
“We overspent while we were ____ (fill in the blank – could be “on a vacation,” “away for a weekend,” or even, “out to dinner”) and now that a financial crisis has hit we need to get back on track.”
*One or both of you may not take budgeting seriously and maybe it wasn’t highly important in the past. but now that money is tighter, it has become a priority. Whatever the case, you need to evaluate how you deal with money, leisure activities and “spur of the moment” purchases.
“Who reviews the credit card/bank statements each month”
*The person who isn’t doing the reviewing may feel as though their purchases are being “checked up” on. as a couple you need to work hard toward sharing the “power” of the checkbook. One person shouldn’t feel like they’re less-informed or less-involved in the process.
“We can’t afford to ______ but our friends/family can and that makes it difficult.” (Again, fill in the blank.)
*There may be a lot you can’t afford to do this year that you’ve done in the past and you need to know how to deal with these situations. In some situations it’s hard to talk about money with friends and family especially if you feel they’re in a better place financial, or if you have a habit of doing something together. Never-the-less, you need to lay out expectations for big ticket items and expenses at the on-set. Together, decide what you can afford and if necessary inform the other party, and present it as a unified decision. You may be surprised at how many people are relieved!