Dubai: Financial lies can be disastrous to one's marriage, but people don't need to be transparent all the time. Psychologists and financial experts say it is okay to do some cover-ups. Here are a few pointers to help you decide which financial information you can keep and which ones should be out in the open.
Secret bank accounts
Ideally, a married person should not maintain a secret stash of money that the significant other doesn't know about, as it will likely lead to marital conflicts. However, in cases where one's partner is a bad spender, hiding some funds is the most logical thing to do.
"If you really need to keep a separate bank account, go ahead, but your partner must know about it. However, if your wife or husband is very bad at budgeting or has a serious spending problem, sometimes I would advise not to disclose all your money. Keep some funds aside because if he or she knows you have some Dh50,000 lying idle somewhere, he or she will find an excuse to spend it. Keep the money for a rainy day," advises Dr Rogayeh McCarthy of the Counselling and Development Clinic in Dubai.
There's no need to get into the nitty-gritty on this one. "I think each [spouse] should have pocket money that they are not required to account for, but it needs to be a limited and [be a] regular amount. Thus, an occasional shopping trip or visit to the autodrome can be taken from the pocket money without arguments," says Steve Gregory of Holborn Assets.
Experts tend to disagree whether it is a marital misdemeanor to hide small purchases. For McCarthy, whatever it is you have just bought, be it a Dh50 fancy accessory or Dh1,000 dress, it's better to tell your partner about it.
"Be honest because when you hide small things, it means you're capable of hiding big things as well. Then, the lying would escalate and the next thing you will know you're already living two separate lives," McCarthy explains.
However, Sarah Lord of Killik and Co says it's totally all right if you don't let your spouse know every single shopping expense.
"Small, frivolous shopping expenses that are not going to have a major impact on your overall fin-ancial standing are often forgiven," she says.
It is never a good idea to mislead a partner about one's financial status. If you owe that much money, it is better to come clean early.
"Some people tend to hide the fact that they have loans to pay or huge credit card debts to take care of and then suddenly, one partner's realises that she's not only married to him, but to his loans as well," says McCarthy.
"I'd like people to understand that when they are entering a relationship, they should put their romance behind for one night to talk about finance. Most people are ashamed to talk about money. Either he or she avoids."