Sunday, January 27, 2008

Financial Infidelity?

Last weekend's Seattle Times (1/20/08) ran an article about money secrets and intimate relationships. In a nutshell, money secrets are bad. They can erode the trust that forms the foundation of any marriage (or marriage-like relationship). The author cites studies that say 40% of all divorces are due to money issues. This is a form of infidelity.

[Money counselor Ruth] Hayden sees many forms of financial infidelity in her practice, most of it harmless — at least at first. She says women, in particular, are often advised to keep a secret stash of cash on hand "just in case."

"There's a Yiddish word, 'knipl,' for little pots of money that have been used over the years by women," she says. "That's why when you clear out the house of an old woman, you go through all the pockets of all the coats and look through all the important books like the Bible, because there are little pots of money everywhere. Somehow, there is the illusion of safety if I can tuck away a $20 here and a $50 there."

Funny that my mother, decades ago, advised me to make sure I always had a bank account in my name only, just in case. (No, not squirreling away bills in books and coat hems.)

As a self-defense instructor, I have to tell my clients that they need control over financial matters in their lives. Probably the MOST liberating change of the last century was women becoming legally able to own property and keep their own earnings. Abusive spouses very often work hard to gain control over all financial resources. So, until you're sure that the live-in boyfriend or husband is not an abuser, keep that separate account.

To read the article, click here.

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