Is It Ever Okay To Lie To Your Spouse About Money?

by Guest Author - Published February 9, 2018

laura grace tarpley wedding pic

[Hey guys! Another Friday, another great post by a fine blogger out there! Up today is nomad friend of mine, Laura Grace Tarpley, who blogs about travel hacking over at LetsGoTarpley.com and shares her experience lying/not lying to her husband ;) Perhaps you have found yourself in this situation as well over the years? Let us know how you cope with it in the comments!]

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Should I lie to my husband?

Whenever faced with this question in the past, the answer was always a clear “no.”

But what if it’s for his own good?

Do you ever have this internal crisis? When you know you shouldn’t lie to your spouse, but if it’ll benefit them in the long run you feel like it’s maybe okay?

In my case, the temptation to lie came from a simple cultural norm: setting a budget.

I started thinking about revamping my budget around the end of December as New Years was approaching. My love for NY’s could be attributed to the fact that I am straight-up addicted to making goals and bettering myself, and I love having an excuse to make resolutions.

I suffer from serious anxiety, and despite the medication I’m taking, the best way for me to reduce stress is to make daily, weekly, monthly, and annual to-do lists. The glee that comes from checking something off my to-do list is indescribable.

In 2018, I wanted to focus on the financial aspect of my life. My husband and I have moved around a lot since 2014, but we have recently settled in a town where we’ll reside for at least the next two years. Our incomes and expenses are pretty stable, so I would love for our financial lives to be stable, too.

Although I hadn’t made any firm decisions, I considered some areas to focus on before bringing up the topic to my husband. I wanted to set a goal for how much we would put into our savings account this year. I was hoping to increase our IRA contributions as well, even if only slightly.

I was excited to discuss these topics with him and plan our year, setting ourselves up for financial success! Once we agreed to take a few minutes to discuss our finances for 2018, here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “How much do you want to save for retirement each month?”

Him: “Well, we aren’t making more this year than we did last year. So we should probably just keep it the same for now.”

Me: “Okay… Do you want to set a savings goal for 2018?”

Him: “Not really. We are in good shape as far as our savings go. I think as long as we keep actively putting money into it, we’re good.”

Me: “Okay… Wow, look at that pretty tree.”

And that was it.

My husband and I are surprisingly similar in many areas of our lives. We both love eating weird food, watching Twin Peaks, traveling, and cuddling with our corgi puppy, Tuna.

But in one major area, we are vastly different. While I have anxiety problems, he most certainly does not. In fact, he has ADHD. As a result, he is very much a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of guy. Too much planning stresses him out, so he just goes with the flow. The downside of this ADHD is that he has trouble focusing on any one thing at a time, or sitting down to get something accomplished without getting distracted by something shiny.

So here we are, two people with hormonal imbalances that have the complete opposite effect on each other. And we have to live together.

In many ways, these differences help us balance each other out. But when it comes to a matter that is really important to only one of us, like my desire to set financial goals, the other one simply can’t relate. We tend to have trouble understanding one another’s needs.

For this reason, I was seriously debating lying to my husband. Well, maybe not lying, per se. Just withholding information from him.

What if I just increased my monthly automatic IRA contribution a smidgen? Would he notice? Just five dollars a month could make all the difference since we’re 25 and have plenty of time for compound interest to kick in. And it would probably eliminate a fight too, while at the same time giving us a little more money to our names.

Besides, if I die, my retirement savings are legally his anyways as he’s my beneficiary! Therefore, increasing my contribution can only help him too!

And what if I set a goal for how much extra savings I want to add into our account as well for the year? If we don’t set a goal or automate anything, we might just forget to do it at all. Then when we go to buy a house in a couple of years we’ll be kicking ourselves for not having anything extra saved. I could set up an annual goal for us within minutes, and then auto-deposit a certain amount every month.

As a freelance writer and independent contractor teaching English as a second language, my income varies monthly. My husband wouldn’t even notice any discrepancy between what I earn and what goes into our checking account.

But I know, I know… Lying is bad! Communicating poorly in a marriage is also bad, especially when it’s done deliberately. But I did it anyways…

Over the past couple months, I’ve gradually, secretly, been putting a little cash at a time into a shoebox of mine in our apartment. I call it the “Travel Shoebox.”

We’re taking a four-day trip to Maine next month, and while we’ve already paid for our plane tickets and accommodations, spending money on unnecessary items and experiences while traveling really stresses my husband out. So I wanted to surprise him with a little extra money that I’d been setting aside specifically for our trip. This way, he wouldn’t have to worry about spending any of this “fun money.”

I finally fessed up a couple of days ago, and when I told him that I’d already accumulated $130 in this shoebox he was thrilled! I told him it wasn’t much, but at least enough for us to enjoy some delicious, buttery lobster and a few drinks, if nothing else.

When he asked where this money came from, I told him I had secretly been stashing some it away and he just laughed jovially. He wasn’t upset at all. Of course he wasn’t! I hadn’t done this with the intention of lying, I had done it with the intention of surprising him.

This experience has made me consider “surprising him” again at the end of 2018. Except, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be for him. It would be for me.

I mean, it would benefit both of us financially, but it would be more for my own peace of mind. This is the power that comes with being the one who handles the finances in the family. I deal with the details and then update him occasionally with the bigger picture. As a result, I am able to kind of do whatever I want.

It’s not like I’m racking up credit card debt or gambling away our money. I’m just trying to make us more financially secure, you know?

And again – these little white lies work in his favor. If I have more in my retirement savings, it would greatly benefit him when we are both 70 years old. What’s mine is his. We share everything, including our money. If I vow to put a certain amount into our savings account, well, he would have a more stable portfolio! We could even make a larger down payment on a house in 2020.

But here’s the reason I’m hesitant.

Lying to my husband, no matter how sensible and well-meaning my intentions might be, is basically saying, “Hey. I know we both have our hormone imbalances, but my imbalance is more important than your imbalance.”

My anxiety wins out. My obsession with making resolutions, goals, and lists also wins. His fun, go-with-the-flow attitude loses. It’s basically saying that I’m more valuable than he is.

I just don’t know if I can justify it at the end of the day. It might also mean actually having to do something much more difficult than long-term savings or planning – it might mean starting a conversation about our finances that could lead to a fight!

But you know what? I went for it.

After a lot of deliberation, I was compelled to approach my husband and just lay it all out on the table. I asked if he was okay with me putting away more money into my IRA than he was, and I also asked if he minded if I set a savings goal for us in 2018.

The conversation ended like this:

Him: “Of course I don’t mind. Thank you for asking me first.”

Me: “I think I’d like to put [insert amount here] into savings in 2018.”

Him: “Okay.”

Me: “What do you think, more or less? Or do you not care?”

Him: “I don’t care.” [Goes back to playing computer games]

And that’s why I should never lie to my husband! As someone with ADHD, he can easily adjust his mindset at the drop of a hat if he so chooses. Life’s sudden changes are never a big deal to him. I on the other hand with all my anxiety, build things up into huge decisions and then nervously anticipate a fight.

But as this whole ordeal shows, talking things through can make all the difference in the world. And what might turn into a fight the longer something’s hidden, could all be avoided by just throwing it out there and respecting each other’s worth.

The above conversation probably took less than five minutes, and then just like that it was over. But more importantly, at the end of it we were finally on the same page!

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Laura Grace Tarpley is a nomad and freelance writer who runs the blog Let’s Go Tarpley!, where she shares tips about budget travel and moving abroad. In her free time, she tinkers with crossword puzzles and plays with her corgi puppy, Tuna. You can follow her on Twitter @lgtarpley.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As someone with ADHD myself, I totally relate to the husband here ;) I’m so much easier to work with going with the flow than trying to plan out my life years/months/weeks into the future, haha… So I’m glad you figured it out early in your relationship, Laura Grace! It’ll make things sooo much smoother in the future for sure… And you also can know that if we ever get sad or mad or jealous or anything, that THAT only lasts but a handful of seconds too until we move right on to the next emotion that captures our attention ;) So yay all around! (Although I am curious how people of the *same* mentality and hormones handles this type of stuff in relationships? Like, if you were BOTH $$$ lovers/ planners or both ADHD – how does that work? I feel like it’s kinda nice to be opposite for easier division of responsibilities and better balancing so you don’t get too hardcore one way or the other, but I’ve also never been in one of these relationships before, haha… Anyone care to chime in and share?)]

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Accidental FIRE February 9, 2018 at 5:28 am

Since money is probably the leading cause of divorce in marriages in America, it’s probably best to not lie about anything related to it. What might seem harmless at first could end up ballooning in to something else.

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2 Ms99to1percent February 9, 2018 at 6:50 am

Best not too lie. The other option would be to do it and tell him after. Just like the shoebox money Laura :-) Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission:-)

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3 Cubert February 9, 2018 at 6:57 am

No need to lie at all. Just confront the situation. You don’t do it now, you’re just setting yourself up for a big fat explosion later on. Good luck!!!

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4 Lily @ The Frugal Gene February 9, 2018 at 6:58 am

Hmm. Pretty sure now my husband has ADHD because that’s definitely him.

He once snuck a big mortgage payment in without telling me because he wanted the numbers to be “even.” Our interest is 3.75%. The market returned 19% last year for us. And he did it wrong so instead of a lump sum the large payment counted for smaller ones so the principal didn’t change much.

I was no happy with that even though no one should get mad at paying off the mortgage but I was angry he didn’t tell me and he didn’t do it right. This was back when he was reluctant and refusing to invest in stocks.

-_-

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5 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:02 am

“He once snuck a big mortgage payment in without telling me because he wanted the numbers to be “even.”’ – that is too funny, haha… can’t say i’ve ever heard of that one before, but I kinda like the spirit – not gonna lie ;)

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6 Eileen February 9, 2018 at 9:15 am

That must be a trait, my husband can’t stand to put a total that’s not a round number in his gas tank. Part of it is a game to stop the filling landing exactly on X.00, but he can’t stand when I fill and just stop whenever it stops. Weird.

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7 Mrs. Adventure Rich February 9, 2018 at 7:03 am

I really like your approach. I’m glad you were able to find a way to communicate your plan without going behind your husband’s back.

I find that my husband and I often have different interests when it comes to the household items (example, I love personal finance but could not care less about the appliances/electronics in our house… while my husband loves that stuff!). So, when it comes to a decision about the appliances/electronics, he is in charge of doing research and coming up with recommendations to propose. I don’t have to do the research, I just agree or ask questions about the proposed solutions. It helps us balance out and keep in communication without going behind each others’ back or anything.

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8 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:07 pm

I like that :) We do similar things too – I’m the money guy and my wife is the home girl. (Also the homegirl). She buys and does whatever’s needed to help the household run smoothly, and I’m in charge of pretty much everything else. (And anytime we get stuck, or come into big #’s/decisions we consult each other)

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9 Josie February 9, 2018 at 7:31 am

Interestingly, I have both mild ADHD and strong anxiety. I “budget” via dedicated accounts. 1 for bills that my brain considers money already spent. 1 for savings that’s paid first for goals. 1 for groceries, gas, and fun stuff. And all I have to do is make sure my cc balance stays below that accounts balance (which I facilitate by getting text messages whenever the cc balance is over 1k)

I utterly fail at budgeting that is more detailed than that. But I’ve paid myself and my bills first, so I can adjust my living to match what comes in easily by eating pantry food instead of buying groceries, staying in, working on projects I already own, etc.

I will caveat this with the fact that this was much harder for me on monthly paychecks than bi-monthly. And also, were not living on a razor thin margin, so we’re never sacrificing much to make things work.

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10 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:08 pm

Good idea w/ the texts!!

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11 Ms. Frugal Asian Finance February 9, 2018 at 7:51 am

I’ve been tempted to withhold financial info from hubby a couple of times. But I always ended up telling him everything because I was afraid he would find out @[email protected]

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12 Leo T. Ly February 9, 2018 at 7:58 am

I am a terrible liar and my wife can read me like a book. I am the financial manager in the family. If there is anything that we need, we just discuss and I will make it work and share the plan with my wife.

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13 Whymances February 9, 2018 at 8:22 am

Probably best not to lie. Even for something good. It looks like you stumbled on what will naturally both meet your needs though! As long as you’re happy setting the goals and getting his agreement without too much discussion (or his prompting financial goals), you’re good!

I find in groups (or pairs) people naturally gravitate towards certain tasks. It’s best to let that happen naturally. Where there are gaps, you need to negotiate who takes it on :)

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14 fin$avvy panda @ finsavvypanda.com February 9, 2018 at 8:29 am

It never came across my mind to lie because we are both on the same page although his spending habits are worse than mine lol. But I’m not sure if he’d lie to me about money…. he doesn’t seem to really care as much since he’s the go with the flow and “live at the moment” type of guy. Well, as long as we have a sufficient amount and not stressing over money problems, doesn’t really care so he leaves most of the finance handling to me, and we are pretty flexible to each other. So, no lying yet (at least).

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15 Sean @ Frugal Money Man February 9, 2018 at 8:38 am

I am also in charge of our (fiancée and I) finances, and I understand how difficult it can be at times to lie or potentially just hide the truth. You want to do what’s best for your family, but you are worried about what the other may think. It creates a difficult dilemma, but I think you chose right in telling the truth! Everything always turns out for the better when all the cards are on the table.

I was even open and honest with my fiancée this past week when I showed her how much $$$ we lost in this current market correction! It wasn’t to scare her, it was simply to show here how the market goes up and down, and why we’re in it for the long haul:)

Great post!

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16 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:11 pm

I have a feeling a lot of lessons were taught this week :) (And probably more to come for all those who ended up doing something drastic off it!

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17 Laura Grace Tarpley February 10, 2018 at 11:41 am

Oh, you’re braver than I am to talk to your spouse about money you lost in stocks this week! I’m still waiting to drop that bomb on my husband, haha. I don’t want to stress him out, since there’s nothing we can do about it. But you’re right, it’s still best to be honest about it.

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18 Kate February 9, 2018 at 9:08 am

Lying is never a good idea, but I think if one person is better with finances in a marriage they should take the lead. It sounds like you came to a good common ground on your goals, just as we did when we first were married. If my husband had to have any major hand in the financial goals, we’d be far behind where we are today.

The best way we handle my ambitious financial goals is through my designing and sharing spreadsheets for budgets or other matters via Google Sheets. This way, he can peek in if he ever has any questions (and usually no longer looks anymore), and I can be totally honest with the plan and incorporate any of his interests into it as well.

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19 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:14 pm

YES!!! We’ve started using google sheets too! I doubt she ever pokes in by once every few months, but I love that she at least *has access* to it much easier than having to log onto my computer or even blog? Haha… But I’ve also started adding in things to know about *overall* plans and where the bank accounts are etc/etc, so it’s turned into more of a “In case I die” sheet than a budget :)

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20 Laura Grace Tarpley February 10, 2018 at 11:46 am

Great idea about the spreadsheets!!! I might have to use that. Having something tangible makes it much easier to be open and honest, I would think.

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21 Adam February 9, 2018 at 9:19 am

I take point on finances, but I’ve had an ADHD diagnosis for the last 25 years. It actually works out; the spreadsheets and planning give me a focus for my energy and keep me on track, and I get excited about this kinda stuff in a way that my wife doesn’t. Hell, I have her retirement account passwords and periodically monitor these things, while she couldn’t care less and always just figured on retiring at 65 (…except now she’ll be retiring at 50, or whenever she wants to if her job lets her go part-time and keep us in health insurance).

When I decided I really wanted us to both max out our 401k plans, we went on a simple coffee shop date and she had a few questions about where we may have to throttle back other things. She makes five figures more than I do, so she’s responsible for savings toward vacations or home expenses; it works out equitably and smoothly.

Everything is always out in the open and on the table. Period. I’ll bump her withholding percentage up before an expected bonus or revise her asset allocation, but only after checking with her.

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22 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Nice!!! Way to bring home that bacon too, Mrs. Adam!

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23 Eileen February 9, 2018 at 9:20 am

I will be married 30 years next month. It has never occurred to me to tell my husband each time I adjust my 401k contributions up. We both know what the general balance is in our long term savings (cash and retirement) at any given time and we’re obviously not withdrawing from it, so it would never occur to me to mention that I bumped up my contribution or bumped up the contribution from my annual bonus.

I don’t want to clear every purchase I make with disposable funds with him either, so deciding to ‘spend’ that money on savings of some sort is not any different imo.

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24 Laura Grace Tarpley February 10, 2018 at 11:52 am

That’s actually a really interesting way of looking at it that I hadn’t thought about! A good perspective for the other side of the argument.

The only reason I would consider what I was going to do “lying” is that I had approached him about the matter beforehand and he said he didn’t want to change anything. So if I had changed something, it would have been intentionally going against what we agreed upon. But if I had never asked him about these financial actions and had simply taken them, I wonder how I would feel about it now. Interesting!!

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25 Courtney February 9, 2018 at 9:25 am

I think the lesson learned here is to agree on the bigger long-term goals and then figure out how much your spouse cares/wants to know. If they don’t care so much how you get there, you don’t have to feel like you’re sneaking around, but more just taking care of the details. My husband and I have a general agreement to keep our retirement contributions at 15%, so when we got a raise, I increased my 401k distribution by a percent. Just make sure you have conversations about the big goals and review every so often to see if priorities have changed.

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26 Mitchell [email protected] PouchPlan February 9, 2018 at 9:39 am

Money is either going to tie your marriage together or it is going to tear it apart. You did a great job in working through the challenges of different priorities and valuing the relationship properly. Here are a couple of hints in dealing with the non detail oriented one of the partners. 1. make the proposed changes small (which you did, and by the way you can keep making these small changes until you get huge results). 2. Let them see the benefits, not just the sacrifice(which you also did). 3. Help them to visualize what their future self is going gain by these actions ( you are going to be able to acquire your dream home, they have a challenge in seeing around the first corner.
My wife can get excited and fulfilled by saving $0.39 at the grocery store or $3.79 at the clothing store. I need a bigger picture to keep me going the right way. When I have that picture in mind, I can help support and be genuinely happy with the small, but ultimately important actions.
A great book says that where your treasure is, their you heart will be as well. If you look at money as super X-ray vision into your spouses heart, what a tremendous opportunity you have to love them in a way that their behavior has told you is important. Then the truth will set you free to love each other in deeper and even more intimate ways.
Great article & thank you for sharing such a tender and personal experience.

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27 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Beautiful comment, my man – always enjoy it when you stop by and dump a little out of that brain of yours :)

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28 [email protected] February 9, 2018 at 9:59 am

Hi fellow ESL teacher and freelancer! :) I loved reading your story, and I admit I have done similar things with my husband. He’s the one with anxiety, and looking at our finances makes him anxious, so I’m usually the one doing the planning. And I usually give more to charity than he would like… :( I also fess up, at the same time I tell him we made more money than we thought we would! So it works out in the end. I try to be upfront unless I know it’s going to make him crazy anxious. Good luck with your savings goals for 2018!! Sounds like you guys are on the right track!

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29 Laura Grace Tarpley February 10, 2018 at 11:58 am

Oooo yay, I never meet other people who have the same job(s) as I do!

I would think that it makes more sense for the non-anxiety-person to handle the finances. But for some reason, as someone with anxiety problems, I tend to put myself in situations that cause me more stress. Why do I do that?!

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30 Rocky February 9, 2018 at 10:03 am

I’m glad everything worked out! In the end it is better to pull off the band aid of having the “tough” conversation instead of seeking methods that involve dishonesty. It can be difficult to approach a situation where we fear how it will go but long term results come from these conflicts. Thanks for walking us through your experience!

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31 Joe February 9, 2018 at 10:08 am

It’s a slippery slope. I think it’s best to be honest and transparent.
Why don’t you just tell him you’ll take care of the household finance? If you’re more interested in it, it is a natural fit. That’s what I do. I give a report to my wife once in a while, but otherwise she doesn’t care too much as long as we’re doing well.

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32 FullTimeFinance February 9, 2018 at 10:26 am

I was about to say… honestly I’m the one with add in the household. But my wife doesn’t care a lick about managing our finances. I never lie to her about savings, but each year I just go in and crank auto save up another notch. I mention it to my wife and she says yeah ok. Off we go.

The only time we ever have real financial disagreements is if our spending goes high in a given month we may occasionally discuss a temporary pause. Honestly my wife doesn’t push back on these either but she does say it stresses her out a bit.

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33 Bailey February 9, 2018 at 10:52 am

Wow. This is a big values issue and why picking the right spouse is probably the most important financial decision you can make. Its so important that both spouses know exactly how much is coming in and going out even if there is a “lead” spouse who does most of the transactions. I also wish our culture (American) would teach people that everyone should be interested in money management and literally everyone can do it regardless of education. It makes me sad when one spouse says “oh he/she is really good with money I don’t know about that stuff”. Money makes people anxious so they ignore it like i did for so long and man can that bite you in the ass! I feel lucky that I married someone who has similar (not same) attitudes towards spending, saving, and managing money. Its the one piece of “love” advice I will ever give my kids. “I dont care how much you love them, are you simpatico on finances? If not RUN!”

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34 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Haha…. it definitely solves a lot of problems, yes :) My wife still stresses out about money every now and then and always acts like our net worth is $0.00 haha… I do my best to help, but I’ve come to realize she gets anxious about many things in life and $$ just falls under it. Either way, I hope she read my blog one day or the gobs of reports she has access to so it helps! :)

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35 Deanna February 9, 2018 at 10:56 am

It’s possible my husband has ADHD and I have a bit of anxiety, but I tend not to live and die by those labels because it’s not like it’s severe enough for either of us to be medicated, be seeking treatment, or otherwise have it affect our lives as anything other than a quirk of our personalities. No, we’re not on the same page financially. I have goals, he’s happy that we just have a savings. Part of his “go with the flow” attitude is also “go with whatever flow the wife is setting up” so yeah, I might increase our retirement contribution if it looks like we’re doing well financially, or I’ll decrease it if we’ve had a few major issues crop up. It’s never with the intent of lying or deceiving, though. I just do it and then tell him, and he usually responds with “okay cool.” And then we adjust. But when I hear someone start explaining their behavior with “hormonal imbalances,” unless it’s legitimately super-serious (which this did not read as one of those, maybe I’m mistaken) I start to roll my eyes – we all have our demons, and we all have to find adult ways to deal with them.

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36 Laura Grace Tarpley February 10, 2018 at 12:08 pm

We actually are both on medication and occasionally in therapy for our ADHD and anxiety, although it’s true that I didn’t get into that in this piece. So those issues can definitely have strong influences over our day-to-day lives. However, I like that you say we all have our demons. That’s true, and however severe they may be, we need to learn to handle them in a healthy manner. Especially if our decisions affect someone else, like our spouse!

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37 Paul February 9, 2018 at 11:00 am

I don’t lie about money to my spouse, but I don’t consult her unless its something that she should be aware of. My wife has a serious aversion to money and all things budgeting. She insists that I handle everything because she hates thinking about money. That being said she is not an overspender, she just hates tracking, thinking about, or being concerned even a little bit with money. In fact she shuts down or changes the subject when I try to bring it up at all. In this scenario I feel like I’m doing her a solid because even just discussing allocation of money sends her into an anxious frenzy. I really wish it were different but everyone’s got their own stuff to deal with and until she gets over it I just allocate and pay off stuff based on the principles of money that I adhere to. It is what it is…at least there is mutual trust to do what is right by our family… I don’t do anything irresponsible with it, in fact last year I surprised her by opening and maxing out her i401k + 25% company match (I am a business owner). I thought it was nice, it was like, surprise here’s ~$25K (that you cant touch for 2.5 decades).

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38 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:26 pm

Haha…. lucky lady :)

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39 JoeHx February 9, 2018 at 11:06 am

I completely understand the anxiety and temptation to withhold information. It’s like your brain says “I need to tell them” but your body says “no, never tell!” Of course, if you’re with the right person, when you finally do tell, they won’t get (excessively) upset. This will help your anxiety the next time you need to tell them and make it easier.

Thankfully, my wife is the right person, and I am the right person for my wife. The only information I’ve withheld due to anxiety is if there’s some event I want to go to, but I do eventually tell her.

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40 Suzi February 9, 2018 at 11:25 am

I absolutely applaud you for discussing it with him and getting his buy-in with your plan. Hubby and I follow Dave Ramsey’s advice–you HAVE to both be involved in the discussions, and you have to come to some sort of agreement. That being said, he also understands that one spouse will typically be “the nerd” while the other is typically “the free spirit.” Adding to that is the fact that men simply don’t understand or properly appreciate that women need a little more security than they have probably even thought about (ADHD and hormones aside… or maybe not hormones LOL!). It may be even more pronounced since you guys are so young and still in that “immortal” frame of mind.
My husband is busy working, and the finances and budgeting falls entirely to me, and we use YNAB which accounts for every penny (we love it; I need the accountability and we both have access to the information on our phones). I have been tempted to fudge things and have hidden ‘backup’ accounts and such; because he isn’t in the thick of the budget like I am, he doesn’t see how his wanting only 20 bucks is an issue–well, that’s because it has to come out of a budget category, not thin air! Similar to your relationship, my husband is less involved, but certainly appreciates when I tuck a little extra into a category so that we have enough for buttery lobster and cocktails on our next adventure. Make sure your hubby stays involved in the decisions, and the rewards will increase exponentially–and thanks for the reminder to MAKE hubby sit with me for a monthly budget meeting and annual budget review, even if he is looking at his phone half the time! ;)

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41 Samantha February 9, 2018 at 12:52 pm

I’m really on the fence with this. My friend’s husband did this for an entire year, tucked away a portion of his paycheck secretly and surprised her with a Christmas cruise. Which was so sweet, everyone thought so. But then about a year later, it came out that he was also having a well-hidden affair with a coworker for over a year. He was practiced at secrets, apparently. And that really turned me off on keeping things like this from my spouse. You can get TOO good at it. You can justify “its for the best” but then it becomes a habit. Just not a good thing to practice in any area.

When I want to do something little like this, and I know its a good idea, I’ll just run it by him casually. He’s always on board, he doesn’t notice a difference, he usually forgets anyway. But then its not such a surprise that we hit a goal a year later, he vaguely remembers, and we’re both happy.

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42 Dora February 9, 2018 at 1:36 pm

I know couples that lie to each other about their finances and it doesn’t end pretty. For people to be compatible, they really need to be on the same wavelength with their financial decisions.

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43 Gary @ Super Saving Tips February 9, 2018 at 1:40 pm

I’m glad you were able to communicate with your husband and decided not to lie. Even if he didn’t care, lying can erode a marriage, sow doubts, and cause all sorts of complications.

Both my wife and I are very interested in finances. Sometimes this has resulted in a little bickering over how much to budget in a particular category or who enters the transactions into Quicken (we prefer manual entry), but nothing serious. I would much rather deal with that than have one of us feel left out of the loop. Marriage is a team sport!

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44 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm

BUDGET FIGHTS!! YES!!! Haha…. those are the good kinds ;)

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45 Tonya February 9, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Since he wasn’t upset about the “surprise” he would probably be fine with increasing savings and retirement if she explained it to him as well as she did here. He would probably be fine with it if she stresses that it is for her “peace of mind”. I’m certain he would want her to feel secure.

I don’t lie to my husband about money but he also doesn’t care very much what I do with it. I’m the planner, goal setter, saver, and make it happener. He likes our goals but doesn’t have the follow through to make it happen so he just leaves that up to me. We set our annual goals together and then I make it make it happen with the budget.

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46 J. Money February 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Yeah, Make It Happener!! :)

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47 Mrs. Picky Pincher February 9, 2018 at 4:29 pm

I can’t fathom why people lie to their spouse about money (assuming you have combined finances; separate is different, of course).

I can’t tell you how many people I know who “sneak” purchases past their husbands. I just don’t think that’s a recipe for a healthy relationship. If it affects your partner, they have a right to know. The only time I’ve ever lied about money was when I was surprising hubs with a gift. I didn’t want him to see the charge on our account, but only for the sake of surprise.

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48 Jodie February 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Are you across Gretchen Rubin’s work on the four tendencies? You are an upholder and your husband a rebel. I loved this story, thanks for sharing!

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49 J at Their Money Goals February 9, 2018 at 8:33 pm

Excellent post, Laura Grace! I was on edge like, “Please don’t lie…Please don’t lie!” As one of the earlier commenters said, money is one of the number one causes of divorce. I’d venture a guess that dishonesty and mistrust are up there, too.

I’m so glad you found a way to talk to your husband about your plans for your finances and that it ended up not being a big deal to him. Had you kept your plans from him, the whole situation could have spiraled unnecessarily.

Now that you’re on the same page, I’m sure you guys will reach your financial goals faster. (Plus, you can save to your heart’s content guilt- and anxiety-free!) :)

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50 Laura Grace Tarpley February 10, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Thanks so much!!

Haha you make a good point … I think keeping a secret from my husband would have caused me even more anxiety than any financial issue! It would have just made things worse all around haha.

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51 Debbie February 10, 2018 at 4:39 am

Everyone’s situation is different. As I mentioned before, my husband wants NOTHING to do with our finances. He was shocked how much equity we had in our house when we sold it 15 months ago. He didn’t know I’d been paying down the mortgage each month for years. He doesn’t want to know! He hates financial details! Once again I’m paying down the mortgage on our new home ($300 extra towards principal each month) & he’s clueless. I started stashing cash in a cookie jar (thanx to J$$’s recent “Cashless Society” posting) for emergencies. I did put a note in our safety deposit box in case anything happens to me! He knows we max out our IRA’s each year but that’s enough details for him! The man is LOST when it comes to managing a checkbook. He didn’t even have one when I met him (bounced too many checks so he closed it down). Finances are like the plague to him. I’d gladly tell him anything if he wanted to know. He’s the ostrich with his head in the sand but he’ll be happy when retirement time comes! I felt the stock market drop coming & 2 weeks ago diversified into less risky investments. Glad I did it. Again, he’s clueless because he chooses to be that way.

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52 J. Money February 12, 2018 at 10:45 am

He’ll get a nice surprise one day when he dips his hands into that jar to grab a cookie :)

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53 Iva February 10, 2018 at 12:28 pm

For the first 16 years of our marriage or so, my husband and I were bicker about money. We could never get on the same page. My husband, believing he worked hard for his money, wanted to enjoy it. At the time, I was a stay at home mom, so I wanted the stability of a roof over my head and food in my belly.

Things have a funny way of changing. My husband got hurt permanently and became a stay at home dad/husband. I went back to school and earned my degree and have become a teacher. Around that time, I also found YNAB. We’ve been using it for a couple of years now and my husband is finally on board with using it (to be fair, when we first began using it, he let me take care of it all). One of the first Truths I discovered after using it for a year is that my husband and I approach money differently – and it’s not a bad thing! We balance each other out (we both tend to go extreme). Part of this solution was simply giving us each an allowance each month that we didn’t have to justify our purchases to the other.

This did a few things: 1) it gave my husband money he could spend (or save for bigger purchases), 2) it gave me “permission” to spend money without sacrificing the budget, and 3) it has us both talking about the future. I’ve opened up an additional savings account through work that will supplement my teacher retirement when the time comes. My husband is my beneficiary. I told him I was thinking about doing it. I told him when I did it. I told him why I did it. (As the primary breadwinner, I want to ensure that he and are taken care of in our retirement years. Also, if I go first, I want to ensure he’s taken care of since he has so many medical issues/expenses).

For us, YNAB has been the key that has opened the gates to talking about money. I’m glad the author came to conclusions she did. I have never lied to my husband about money, but I’ve made choices of which he had no opinion and it’s worked well for us.

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54 J. Money February 12, 2018 at 10:49 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE the “allowance” idea – I recommend that allll the time to people too, and have also done it myself when first married – it helps a lot! And is more exciting to have than paychecks coming in which is already accounted for more or less, haha…

Glad you guys are on the same path now too – YNAB has changed the lives of so many people and a big fan.

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55 ZJ Thorne February 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

I’m glad you didn’t end up lying to him. Figuring out how to work together will only deepen your relationship.

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56 Yadgyu March 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

It is always okay to lie to your spouse, especially about money. I’d rather admit an affair than admit I got a raise or a bonus. Hide the cash until death. What she doesn’t know doesn’t matter.

Always keep a dollar in your pocket.

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57 Mike H. April 19, 2018 at 11:13 am

I have a friend whose wife has a taste for the finer things in life. To the point where she cannot be trusted to know that they have some decent savings. So, as the primary breadwinner and financial mind, he hides his investment accounts.

To me, this is an odd middle ground: good for them in the long term, bad that this is even necessary.

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