My wife and I both used to squirrel away money in hidden little savings accounts. I put $50 a month in a rainy day ING Orange Account that it took me years to tell her about. According to Money Magazine over half of all couples do not know their net worth and in some instances even the family’s total yearly income. Lets face it…we keep secrets from each other. There are a lot of road blocks that come into play when you combine two bank accounts, two households, two routines, etc. when a couple gets married. A third of the people studied admitted to having lied to their spouse about money, and over 80% of all married adults hide purchases from their partners.
I didn’t really think that it was too big of a deal to keep certain bank accounts to myself, but then it dawned on me that it was probably a bad idea and not the best thing for my marriage. Because I pay all of the bills and keep track of all our investments in the household, my wife really had no idea what our true financial situation was. She had an idea of course but not the complete picture. She had no idea if we were financially healthy or living paycheck to paycheck. It is also important for members of the military to keep their spouses in the household’s financial loop because we are frequently deployed or in the field training. Your spouse needs to know where all the bank accounts are and have access to them in case of an emergency while you are gone.
Now, things are different in our home. Now, I give my wife a detailed net worth statement every few months to show her exactly where are family stands financially. I honestly list every single asset and liability (debt) that we have as a family. I tell her about every little rainy day savings account that I’ve socked away and about every last credit card balance. Your spouse also needs to know what are all of your accounts and where to statements are.
Full disclosure and the transparency have made our marriage so much stronger. You can check out this great net worth Microsoft Excel spreadsheet on the personal finance blog, Own The Dollar. The spreadsheet can help you track your net worth, every asset and debt you have in your household, and the percentage an asset like your home contributes to your total net worth. Knowing exactly where you are financially and sharing that information with your loved one will help you stay focused on where you are and where you want to go.