Fi­nan­cial in­fi­delity can kill even the most solid re­la­tion­ships. Ex­pert tips on how to safe­guard both, your fi­nances and love.

India Today - - CASH IN - By GUN­JEET SRA

Hid­ing money and spend­ing habits from your spouse can land your re­la­tion­ship in trou­ble as fi­nan­cial in­fi­delity is one of the big­gest prob­lems in mar­riages to­day. Most times it’s un­in­ten­tional and starts with a harm­less lie in or­der to avoid con­fronta­tion. Imag­ine this— you’re walk­ing down the street and a fancy cou­ture dress catches your at­ten­tion. Be­fore you know it, you are the proud owner of some­thing ridicu­lous and su­per ex­pen­sive. You come home pleased and ex­cited to show off your new buy to your bet­ter half, but no sooner do you step in that you re­alise that the glee­ful en­thu­si­asm of your girl­friends might not rub off on him. You pro­ceed slyly to the cup­board to de­stroy ev­i­dence and hide your se­cret credit card, all the while be­ing men­tally pleased with your­self for be­ing so clever about avoid­ing an ar­gu­ment. You hop onto the sofa, be­gin couch surf­ing and for­get all about it un­til the bill ar­rives and you woe­fully re­alise that you have bit­ten off far more than you can chew. You strug­gle to pay off your debt, bor­row money from friends and are even­tu­ally ousted by your part­ner who is hurt and feels cheated be­cause you have been fi­nan­cially un­faith­ful. This month, ex­perts talk about the best way to foolproof your fi­nan­cial as­sets with­out com­pro­mis­ing on your love life.

Asses Your­selves

You think find­ing a part­ner, fall­ing in love and then set­tling down for your hap­pily- ever- af­ter was hard? Put money in the mix for some added drama. Love and money just don’t work to­gether. Just be­cause you love some­one does not mean you will love their spend­ing habits too. “It’s very im­por­tant that you sit with your part­ner and asses your spend­ing habits,” says Mukesh Jha, di­rec­tor, Gupta and Jha Fi­nan­cial

Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices, adding that ev­ery­one has a dif­fer­ent way of han­dling money. “Find out your part­ner’s way of deal­ing with money and com­pare it to yours,” says Jha. If you are an im­pul­sive or emo­tional shop­per and your part­ner has a more prac­ti­cal take on shop­ping, that means both of you have con­trast­ing styles of spend­ing money. Get to know each oth­ers’ money habits be­fore you join fi­nances as a cou­ple,” ad­vises Nikhil Arya of One- step Fi­nan­cial So­lu­tions.

Make Rules

The first thing to do af­ter you have un­der­stood each oth­ers’ fi­nan­cial habits is to have some grounds to fol­low. “Con­sider cre­at­ing sep­a­rate ac­counts so each of you have con­trol over a rea­son­able amount of dis­cre­tionary cash,” says Arya. He also adds that it is ad­vis­able to dis­cuss the amount of dis­pos­able in­come each one of you is sup­posed to have. “Lay out a frame­work for your­selves to work within. Han­dling joint fi­nances is a busi­ness part­ner­ship, so treat it like one,” he says.

Mu­tual Trust

If you have al­ready de­cided upon com­mon goals as a cou­ple, then learn to trust each other with money. It’s not healthy to grill your part­ner con­stantly about their spend­ing habits. “Con­stant queries about each penny spent can cause a feel­ing of re­sent­ment in your spouse, mak­ing them more sus­cep­ti­ble to hid­ing ex­penses in or­der to avoid a con­fronta­tion,” warns Arya. If your part­ner cheats on you fi­nan­cially, weigh the sit­u­a­tion ra­tio­nally and talk to them about it. “Make your part­ner un­der­stand that they will have to make fi­nan­cial sac­ri­fices to get your bud­get on track and be hon­est about your ex­pec­ta­tions for the fu­ture,” says Jha, adding that fi­nan­cial in­fi­delity oc­curs when a part­ner feels de­prived. “En­sure that the money you al­lo­cate each other ev­ery month is equal,” he says.

Have Com­mon Goals

Whether it is buy­ing a house or sav­ing for a va­ca­tion, dis­cuss the things that are most im­por­tant to the both of you and de­fine your roles ac­cord­ingly, says Arya. Hav­ing a com­mon as­pi­ra­tion or a goal will not only bring you closer but will de­crease the chances of cheating on money, says Jha.

Com­mu­ni­cate Reg­u­larly

Have a fi­nan­cial plan­ner and in­clude him/ her in your monthly fi­nan­cial meet­ings. “Hav­ing a trusted pro­fes­sional as part of the con­ver­sa­tion can make it eas­ier,” says Jha. That way you and your part­ner can not only as­sess if you are on track fi­nan­cially, but can also sort out any dis­agree­ments in a pro­fes­sional, un­emo­tional man­ner. The more open you are about your fi­nances to be­gin with, the eas­ier it will be to keep the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open. From list­ing down the num­ber of bank ac­counts in your name, to the na­ture of per­sonal sav­ings, to all the fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions you have ever made, in­clud­ing tax pay­ments, needs to be dis­cussed with both, your part­ner and fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor in or­der to plan bet­ter.

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