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Are You Cheating on Your Spouse Financially?

Couple financesDo you have a secret bank account or credit card that your spouse doesn't know about? Do you lie to your partner about how much you really spend? The topic of financial infidelity, whereby spouses lie to one another about money, emerged as one of the surprising topics of discussion at a recent meeting of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission in Washington, DC. 

Commission members discussed a recent creditcards.com financial infidelity report that showed that about 20 percent of people admit to spending $500 or more without telling their significant other. According to the study, men are more likely to both spend more than $500 and have a secret account.

One way to prevent this is by setting aside some time with your partner (away from busy or stressful times) and having an open discussion about your spending and financial goals. Another solution offered was to have a joint account, but open separate accounts to make individual purchases. The key is having a trusting partner with whom you can have an honest and open dialogue about your finances.

Chaired by former AICPA Chairman of the Board of Directors Ernie Almonte, CPA, the Financial Literacy Commission is composed of CPAs who advance the profession’s leadership in a national effort to raise the financial literacy of all Americans. The AICPA’s two major initiatives in this area are 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, a national volunteer effort of CPAs to help all Americans understand their personal finances through every stage in life, and Feed The Pig, the AICPA’s public service campaign with the Ad Council that gives Americans ages 25-34 the tools and resources they need to make smart saving decisions. Commission members frequently appear in newspapers and on television and radio to promote 360 and Feed The Pig programs.    

At their meeting, members discussed perennial issues, such as ways to select the best financial adviser, goal-based investment strategies, student loan repayment plans, planning to apply for a mortgage, whether to take Social Security early, and whether money matters when selecting a spouse. With the economic recovery picking up steam, members also saw some surprising emerging topics, like savings options for the extra cash from paying less at the gas pump and an uptick in divorce rates since the increased financial stability lessened the financial disadvantages of getting a divorce. 

Other emerging topics for 2015 included the emerging scarcity of quality long-term care insurance, same-sex marriage planning and the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. With Americans’ life expectancy increasing, how to invest in your health and make your retirement dollars last also came up.

In 2015, Commission members will spearhead an effort to promote the 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program and financial education with state CPA societies, AICPA members and the general public. If you are interested in volunteering to speak about financial literacy topics, the AICPA has information and turnkey resources for you to use. From talking to elementary school students about money basics to organizing workplace brown bags on retirement planning, you can join the thousands of CPAs who share their expertise and give back to their communities. To find out more contact Dan Bond at dbond@aicpa.org.

In the wide-ranging meeting, representatives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Financial Education were in attendance and discussed a recent report that attempts to define and measure success in financial education through a proposed definition of financial well-being. The CFPB representatives also spoke about the agency’s efforts to protect the savings of retirees, especially those with diminished decisional capacity.

Many people know their partners’ debt before tying the knot and are aware of the need to create a financial plan when getting married. However, many people are now opening credit card and bank accounts without their partners’ knowledge. This topic may sound surprising but based on the Financial Literacy Commission, it looks to be more prevalent in 2015.

Daniel Bond, CAE, Senior Communications Manager- Consumer Education, American Institute of CPAs. 

Couple discussing finances via Shutterstock

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