The chance of financial infidelity over 50 is often compounded by re-marriage or being in a relationship where both parties have assets from before the current relationship. As you get older it becomes more likely that there will be quite legitimate pieces of personal finance that are separate. There may be IRA's, 401k's, inheritance, divorce settlements, interest in a family business, or debts incurred before the current relationship.
Since by definition financial infidelity occurs when a person in a couple has financial secrets that they keep from the other these separate accounts are set ups for poor financial communication, but also withholding. This includes such things as making small purchases without telling your partner all the way up to secret credit cards and taking on debt.
A recent New York Times article cited surveys estimating the prevalence anywhere from 31% to 80% depending on who and what they asked.
Though it often happens inadvertently, this does not save you from the damage it can cause.
It is generally presented as something that occurs when a couple has decided to blend their finances, and that does make the legal or financial consequences greater, but in terms of the relationship itself it isn't so much the money as it is the secret nature of the actions.
The degree to which it is involved with making one's own decisions about managing your IRA or inherited assets is quite appropriate. Choosing how much input you want from your partner in making your decisions is also your business, but if you find yourself feeling relieved that you don't have to let your partner know what you are doing about it, . . . watch out.
What is corrosive is keeping the facts
of what you are doing in this regard from your partner is that once
such compartmentalization starts it tends to infect the whole
There are lots of emotional or belief based reasons people do this. The reasons often involve issues of personal autonomy and power, and it has been reported that women are more likely to do it than men which fits.
Purposeful or accidental, these are big challenges and they are opportunities to make yourself and your relationship healthier by committing to focus on them (not the ins and outs of the money decisions).
Don't be faked out by the topic. As hot as the money topic is, it isn't what this one is really about.
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