Financial Infidelity: Do You Keep Money Secrets from Your Spouse?

Financial infidelity means keeping a money secret from your spouse. With a divorce rate today of about 50 percent, any form of infidelity could easily lead to a relationship breakdown. And while a little white lie about money may seem like no big deal, but financial infidelity is as serious as any relationship secret. Let’s take a look at how money and relationships intersect and what you can do to make your relationship as open, honest, and fair as possible with a focus on long-term relationship success.

Is financial infidelity a big problem?

Before we dive into how to solve money troubles with a significant other, it is important to understand the problem. If you fight with your significant other about money, you are not alone. A study last year found that 48 percent of American couples argue about finances. That is huge! Nearly half of all couples argue about money.

study from SunTrust found that money is the leading cause of relationship stress. The survey found that 1 in 5 Americans has made a purchase of $500 or more secretly without telling their spouse. Six percent of respondents go as far as to keep a secret bank account! If you don’t trust your spouse so much that you need to secretly keep money without their knowledge, you probably have bigger relationship and trust issues than just money, but money is clearly the big symptom of the discord.

How to avoid money fights in a relationship

There are a few specific personality traits and money disagreements that tend to percolate to the top. According to Elite Daily, here are the four biggest causes of money friction in a relationship:

  1. Spending versus saving – If you have a saver mentality and are dating or married to a spender, you know how frustrating it can be when your SO (significant other) splurges on even the smallest purchases. From a daily lunch at the local burrito or sandwich shop to a big dollar purchase online or at the store, watching money fly out the window can push you to the edge! If this is an issue in your relationship, consider the other’s perspective and try to calmly explain yours. Finding middle ground and creating fun money budgets for each half of the couple can help smooth things out.
  2. Expectations that one partner pays more – The battle over who pays goes far beyond the first date. Even long-time couples often have different views on who should be bringing what to the table. In many cases, the male is expected to pay for the majority of costs, even if both partners have similar earnings. There is no right or wrong way to approach this. Open communication and setting clear expectations can help avoid this little argument turning into a blowout.
  3. One partner earns a lot more – If you earn a lot more than your partner, or they earn a lot more than you, stress and double standards are probably not far behind. It is easy for the lower earner to expect the higher earner to pay more. But when income in a relationship is not distributed equally or distributed as earned, it can lead to resentment.
  4. Wants versus needs – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. One partner’s need is another partner’s frivolous purchase. What one of you thinks is a need versus a want may differ. It is okay to have different values, as long as they don’t bust the budget. This is where a fun money budget comes into play. If you have a certain amount to spend guilt-free, you don’t have to fight over it.

Set shared goals but allow for individual freedom

In real life, things don’t always look like a movie. After the honeymoon period wears off, real-life goals, stresses, and obligations remain. Never go into a relationship expecting your partner to change. If you don’t like their money habits, it may be better to cut things off from the start. (Credit score dating anyone?)

When you do get into a serious relationship, you have many money questions ahead. As you tackle them one by one, remember that it isn’t reasonable to expect your SO to never spend money. Even if you are the primary income earner with a stay-at-home spouse, you have to expect that they will want to treat themselves every once in a while. And that’s just fine!

To find the right balance between family savings, shared fun money, and individual fun money, work together to create a good budget you can stick with over time. Tweak as necessary until you have it right and both of you are on board with the plan.

Work together for a financial infidelity free lifestyle

Just as you wouldn’t want to find out your significant other had a secret relationship on the side, it can be devastating to land on the wrong end of financial infidelity. If you are keeping financial secrets, it’s time to change that and move to an open and honest relationship with clear, trusted communication about money. If you suspect your spouse is cheating with money, consider confronting them for an honest discussion. Long-term financial success requires an effort on both sides, and with honesty and a team driven focus on your money goals, you can get on track for a long and happy financial future together.


This article originally appeared on Due.com

 

6 Reasons an Online Bank Account is Better Than Traditional Banking

After a hectic day, the last thing you want to do is stand in line trying to get your banking done.

Yet, with the rise of online banking, waiting in line doesn’t have to be an issue anymore. Now you can do your banking without even leaving home. Online banking is not only more convenient but gives you the ability to save money, time, and even the planet.

Keep reading to learn more about why online banking is better than traditional banking.

Online Banks Have Lower Fees

Brick and mortar banks have enormous operational expenses that online banks simply don’t have. For example, they need specialized buildings to secure your money, state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and a large staff. They’re in the business to make money, not just store yours. That means fees go up when the bank’s expenses go up. With online banking, fees are kept to a minimum because the bank’s expenses are kept in check.

It’s Easier to Access Your Online Bank

Traditional banking hours aren’t always convenient. For some of us, getting to the bank before closing means leaving work early. It can also mean fighting traffic in the middle of the day, taking time off work, and waiting in long lines. If you do your banking online, there is no traffic and no banking hours. Yes, you may end up on hold waiting to talk to a customer service representative, but at least you can get stuff done while you wait.

Easy Deposits via an App

Most banks will let you make your deposits through one of their many ATMs. But what if you’re not near one of these cash machines? With online banking, making a deposit is as easy as snapping a picture and uploading it to an app. No added stops and no worries about leaving your deposit in an ATM all night (and hoping it’s picked up in the morning). But, if you really want to go to an ATM, most online bank accounts now offer access to a broad ATM network. Chime, for example, allows its members to use more than 30,000 ATM locations nationwide – for free.

Saving Money Can be Automatic

With online banking, saving has never been more simple. For example, you can set up automatic transfers to move money from a checking account into your savings. You can even start small by having Chime round up each transaction made with your Chime debit card. The rounded up amount will be automatically deposited into your savings account. If you want to take your savings efforts further, you can automatically move 10 percent of your paycheck into your savings account each time you get paid. This way your savings is funded with very little effort.

Experience Exceptional Customer Service

Because there are no buildings to staff and maintain, digital banks can often dedicate more resources to their customer service department. When you have questions or concerns, you just have to call. With customers all over the US (or perhaps even the world), the customer service departments at online banks are usually available outside regular business hours. Plus, if you don’t want to pick up the phone, most online banks offer chat features online or via an app.

Do Your Banking Online Because it’s Right for You

Online banking is a great tool. But remember, before you make the switch to an online bank, look at your own banking habits and determine if it is the right move.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself when determining if online banking is the best fit you:

  • Do you like going into a branch and talking with your banker or the tellers? If so, you may want to stick with a brick-and-mortar bank.
  • Is it a pain in the neck to get to the bank? If so, an online bank may be your best bet.
  • Do you have complex interactions that are easier done in person? If yes, you may be better off with your current physical bank branch.

As you can see, it’s up to you to decide what type of banking is best. Just keep in mind that if you’re looking for convenience and lower costs, you may want to keep your bank in your pocket.

 

How to Budget for Love

I don’t care what hardcore romantics say. You can put a price on love. In fact, with more single people than ever in the U.S., singles are throwing down some serious dough in search of a soulmate — or just a suitable partner.

Let’s look at some numbers, shall we? For starters, dating services alone make up a $3 billion dollar industry. And according to a Match.com survey, the average single person in the U.S. spent $1,596 on dating in 2016.

As it may take you months —  or even years —  to find love, you may want to sock away some funds for dating. Take a look at 4 cost centers to factor into your “love” budget:

1. Dating Site Subscriptions

While there is no shortage of free dating apps — Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish for starters — you might consider signing up for a paid dating site. Those who pay for a dating service tend to be more serious about finding a partner, after all. Prices vary depending on the dating service and subscription you choose. Popular dating site eHarmony, for example, charges $39.95 a month for a three-month subscription. But, if you opt for a six-month subscription, it’s $29.95 a month, which works out to $180 for half a year.

If you have more cash than time to find love, you can link up with one of those elite matchmaking services, such as Kelleher International. These services, which oftentimes include coaching too, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 (yes, count those zeros) a year.

2. Dates

Whether you grab drinks at a bar, partake in fancy dinners, or buy tickets to see one of your favorite bands, dates add up quickly. Unsurprisingly, according to the Match.com survey, men spent $1,855 a year on average, compared to $1,423 spent by women on dating. This includes everything from dating subscriptions, new outfits, entrance fees to clubs, and beautifying oneself.

While you can go splitsies, there will still be times when you’ll want to treat your date. And let’s not forget those expensive “let’s kiss and makeup” reconciliation steak dinners out (they do happen).

3. Weekend Getaways

When you’re dating, don’t forget about those impromptu weekend trips. While it depends on what you and your partners want to do, it’s safe to budget $1,000 a year or more on trips with your boo — based on my personal experiences. And, if you are in a long-distance relationship, you’ll need to factor in travel expenses to spend quality time with your significant other.

When I was dating more actively, my partners and I would go on trips at least several times a year. This easily added up to at least a thousand bucks a year in travel, which included long weekend getaways up the California Coast, friends’ weddings, or a short summer stay in other parts of the country. 

4. Special Occasions

According to the National Retail Federation, a person can spend about $136.47 on Valentine’s Day. So, it’s not surprising that you might want to budget for getaways and gifts for occasions like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.

Depending on your relationship dynamic, spending money on special occasions can be negotiable. One of my exes and I actually moved our anniversary celebration date so that it wouldn’t bump against a month that was super crowded with birthdays or major money-burning holidays like Christmas. This way we could allocate ample time and money to celebrate our anniversary.

Save for Love to Alleviate Stress

If you’re actively dating or plan to start the process soon, you can start to save up for these expenses by adding a bit of padding to your discretionary spending each month, or, better yet, start earmarking money into a dating fund. The search for romance is rarely easy, and expenses can quickly balloon. However, setting aside some funds for dating will alleviate some of the stress that comes with romantic courtship.

 

Why Aren’t Millennials Negotiating for Higher Salaries?

Speaking on behalf of the millennial generation, it seems like we’re always defending two things — our reputation of being “lazy and entitled” and the financial and economic opportunities afforded to us in a post-Great Recession world.

At the same time, many of us have experienced the burden of student loan debthigh living costs and wages that aren’t keeping up. In some ways, it feels like the cards are stacked against us. So, with that said, we should be angling to earn as much money as we can and we should be paid what we’re worth. Yet, unfortunately, only 37 percent of millennials have ever asked for a raise, according to PayScale.

True story: I didn’t ask for a raise

I am not proud to admit this but when I was an employee working in the non-profit sector I never asked for a raise. Not once. Not ever.

Why? I felt “lucky” to have a job. I didn’t want to seem too “demanding” or “greedy”. When you have bills to pay and student loan payments that are more than your rent, a steady salary is something you want to keep. You don’t want to rock the boat.

Throughout the years, I’ve lost out on thousands of dollars by not negotiating. In fact, I only started negotiating when I left the non-profit world for self-employment. It was only then that I realized I had to ask for more if I wanted to actually make a living.

Why millennials aren’t negotiating

While I’m not proud of my story, it’s not just me. Millennials are less likely to negotiate compared to their older counterparts.

According to PayScale, some top reasons millennials don’t negotiate include:

  • They are uncomfortable negotiating salary
  • They don’t want to be viewed as pushy

To a lesser extent, some millennials are actually afraid of losing their job if they ask for more money. All of these reasons make sense given the economy and environment we’ve been thrown into. Even so, millennials need to realize that many employers actually expect you to negotiate.  Not only that, but your employer may perceive you as more confident if you negotiate, according to a study by NerdWallet.

To that end, it’s important to know that when you receive a job offer, the employer has already chosen you out of a pool of other candidates. It’s very unlikely they would rescind the offer if you negotiate.

Plus, if you’re already killing it at your job — and you have the data and research to back it up — it only makes sense that you negotiate because you’re an asset to your employer. You can typically negotiate 10 to 20 percent more than you are offered or currently making. What do you have to lose? Read on to find out.

Losing a million dollars?

What if I told you that you could potentially lose out on a cool million dollars by not negotiating? You’d probably think, “Yeah right.” Unfortunately, that’s the truth according to Business Insider and Salary.com.

How can this be? Not negotiating doesn’t just affect you now, but it affects your lifetime earnings.

States Business Insider: “It works like this: Say two people are given a job offer of $45,000, which is close to the average for a new college graduate. One negotiates an initial $5,000 bump and a 4% raise every three years, but the other accepts the offer without negotiating and sees only the standard 1% pay increase each year. After a 45-year career, the difference in their lifetime earnings is a whopping $1,037,773.”

As you can see, the math is sobering and we can’t afford to not negotiate.

Tips for negotiating

Now that you know you need to negotiate, how do you get over the fear and get started?

To begin with, remember this: Anything that is worthwhile is rarely easy. You have to move through the discomfort first. With this in mind, understand that many employers may perceive you as confident for speaking up! The key is to do your research so that you know how much you can command given your expertise, location and skills. Some good resources to use are PayScale.com, Glassdoor.com, or Salary.com.

Before you actually approach your boss, practice with a friend who can give you feedback. Write down everything you bring to the table and rehearse your narrative until you remove any hint of doubt in your voice. Keep in mind that the worst thing your employer can say is “no”. And, just because they say “no” initially, doesn’t mean the negotiating is over. Consider negotiating for something else that’s important to you, like more vacation time, working from home or career development classes.

The point is: You can’t afford to leave money on the table. You’ve worked hard for this. You deserve it. So go out, negotiate, and get it!

 

How Your Parents Affect Your Relationship with Money

Like it or not, you have a particular relationship with money. This relationship was formed while you were growing up – in part by values instilled in you by your parents. By the time you reached adulthood, you had a concrete set of ideas about money that weren’t quite your own.

In order to make your relationship with money, well, your own, it’s key to take a closer look at how your parents continue to affect your financial decisions. From there, you’ll be in a better place to make changes, create new habits, and take money matters into your own hands.

What’s Your Family Money Story?

Your Family Money Story shapes the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors you bring to your financial life, says Financial Therapist Amanda Clayman.

To further explain, Clayman breaks down the Family Money Story as events, messages, feelings, and meaning. These make up your experiences surrounding money, as well as the beliefs and feelings surrounding what your parents said (or didn’t say) about money. These experiences can create patterns or a set of beliefs that affect your relationship with money in one of two ways:

  • You repeat it
  • Or you reject it

“If you found your parents’ frugal view that “There’s never enough money,” to be restrictive, you might take the opposite, “Money is meant to be enjoyed,” point of view,” she explains.

Millennial Money Report

Common money issues

There’s no doubt your parents can affect your relationship with money. The good news? You’re not alone. Here are some common situations that might ring true for you:

Situation #1: Money was tight growing up

When you were growing up, was money tight? If so, you might have been told “no” many times when asking for something new or perhaps you were frequently reminded that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” If this sounds like your childhood, you may now have frugal habits that can help you rock your savings goals.

On the other hand, you could be dealing with a scarcity mindset when it comes to money. A scarcity mindset around money is characterized by the feeling that there’s never enough. You might be fearful of money — and the lack thereof, causing undue emotional stress.

Situation #2: You got everything you wanted

As a child, maybe your parents doted on you and bought you anything you wanted. While having the latest and greatest toys and technology was awesome while you were a kid, this can lead to unrealistic expectations now that you’re an adult. For example, although your parents afforded you with a certain lifestyle (or relied on credit), you might not have the tools or the money knowledge to maintain a similar lifestyle on your own.

Situation #3: Your parents had a natural distrust of money

Were your parents naturally distrustful about money? Did you hear things like “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” or “Never trust the stock market”? Did your parents hide their cash under the mattress instead of depositing it into a bank account because they thought this was safer? All of these situations can seep into your consciousness and make you distrustful of money and financial institutions, too.

How technology can transform your relationship with money

Now that you have a better idea of why you feel the way you do about money, it’s important to note: You are not your parents. It’s a new era and things are different now than when your parents were coming of age. Growing up with technology certainly changes the way you live your life. It also changes the way you think about and manage your money.

Although millennials get a bad rap for being entitled and tech-obsessed, you can turn this on its head as technology can help you create good financial habits.

For example, mobile banking apps give you access to your money 24/7. That’s not a luxury your parents had growing up. You can effortlessly check your balance or review your spending. Better yet, managing your money doesn’t have to be a chore. For example, you can automate your savings and put your spare change to work to build your rainy day fund. In fact, if you’re a Chime member, the bank account will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit this amount into your savings account. In other words, your small change can make a big impact on your savings.

As you can see, even if you picked up some good and bad habits from the ‘rents, you have far more access to information than they did. Now is the time to take charge of your relationship to money and be in the driver’s seat of your own financial journey.