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Financial secrets that lead to divorce, part two

In our last post, we began exploring some of the financial secrets that can lead to divorce. The last post covered secrets related to affairs and secret bank accounts. This article examines the secrets individuals keep surrounding the cost of items, the size of the paycheck and splurging because of a beautiful saleswoman.

One financial secret that can lead to divorce is lying about how much things cost or intentionally misleading your spouse about the cost of something. Because many married people have a good idea about their spouse's values around spending limits, they may be inclined to lie when they purchase something that does not fall within that realm. Although people may lie to avoid conflict, it usually just delays the inevitable fight.

The next secret is with regards to the size of the paycheck. Many people exaggerate how much they make in an effort to make themselves seem more impressive, but lying also goes the other direction. A study from the National Endowment for Financial Education/Forbes found that 10 percent of people downplay the amount they make. People hide bonuses or lie about having income from a second job. Of those who lied about money, some people said they wanted a "just-in-case" supply of money, while others said they keep the money a secret to prevent the spouses from spending it.

Like the first secret in the last post, the next secret also deals with finances that are tied to sexual attraction. Two recent studies showed the connection between men, beautiful women and spending habits. The first study showed that men take bigger financial risks after looking at sexy women, and the second study found that men behave more impulsively when they see attractive women. Although these actions are driven partially by biology and testosterone, they are also fueled largely by the desire to impress the attractive women.

It would be naïve to think marriages without problems exist, but the statistics surrounding financial infidelity are staggering. More than one-third of Americans admit to lying to their spouses about finances. Whether you are keeping secrets or wonder if your spouse is keeping secrets from you, the statistics show that most hidden finances are eventually revealed, and the results are often worked out in divorce courts.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "10 Things Your Spouse Won't Tell You," Catey Hill, 24 February 2011

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