After hearing you talk about financial infidelity, I have to admit that I hide money from my husband. I have been setting aside money for emergencies without his knowledge. He is not terrible with money, but he always seems to find something to spend it on. Before I started doing this, we never managed to save much money at all. But now I feel like I have been doing something wrong. What should I do?
I believe in saving up for emergencies. I mean, I’m the guy who tells people to have three to six months of expenses saved in an emergency fund, right? But deception is never a positive thing in a relationship—especially a marriage. You need to talk to your husband about this.
I know it won’t be easy for you, so you have to make sure you tell him in the right way. Playing the blame game won’t help. Basically, you’ve been deceiving him about this. Sure, it sounds like he has been immature when it comes to your household finances, but you made the decision to hide things. You chose to do this instead of talking to him about your concerns.
Let’s start here. Tell your husband you need to talk to him about something important, and sit down together with no distractions. Explain what’s been going on, and that you’re sorry for not being honest about things, but you also need to speak up and tell him why you were doing this secretly. If you were afraid to disagree with him, tell him that. Tell him why, too, and let him know you just want the two of you to have a successful financial future, and that you’re committed to never hiding things again.
Managing money in a marriage isn’t a “his” or “hers” thing. It’s a “we” thing. You can fix this, but it’s going to take some honesty, understanding and making an effort to work together toward the same goals — like saving or living on a written, monthly budget.
You each have a vote, but it also means you have to stand up and vote no, Lana, if he wants to blow money on silly stuff when you guys don’t have your finances in order.
Dave Ramsey, a best-selling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show, can be heard by more than 18 million listeners each week.
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