#106 Colleen McNamee - Mediation expert talks about Financial Infidelity with Dino

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Studies are showing that some seven million Americans have a secret bank account or credit card account that their spouses know nothing about -- and most of those doing the hiding are men, according to the study…..

Financial expert Kimberly Foss says “financial infidelity is more common than people think, and if anything, it’s on the rise.” Here today to answer some of our listener questions on this surprising and intriguing topic is our TLP, Colleen McNamee of MCNAMEE MEDIATIONS.

1) It’s surprising to think that this could even happen! I mean, don’t couples pay attention to their account information and spending habits?

- Many spouses keep separate bank accounts and have 1 joint checking or savings that they operate out of

- Typical household, one spouse is in charge of the finances

- Shadier side: Spouses who have side businesses the other spouse doesn’t know about

2) Real case example: Married 27 years. Joint accounts until children were grown and out of house. Always had financial arguments throughout marriage so they separated their accounts after children were moved out. No more financial disagreements

– it was great! Years later the couple grew apart and decided they wanted to divorce. It was amicable, or so they thought……the divocre process much messier and more complicated than it ever should have been. Severely fractured their relationship forever

3) How do spouses even catch onto to this double financial life?

- Studies show that more than 90% of couple don’t discover financial infidelity in their relationship until there is a) a death in the family, or) divorce

4) What are the red flags that spouses should be looking for to prevent this problem from spiraling out of control and destroying their marriage? Red flags to look for are missing or misdirected financial statements and of course, the obvious one is if there’s missing cash in the accounts. *Trust your instincts

5) Shocking little factoids: Results from a national survey find 1 in 5 married couples have spent over $500 per year without their partners knowledge;

- Secret spending and hiding money is 50% more common among men, BUT times have changed and women are more independent with their finances now than ever before, so secret spending and hiding money is definitely on the rise.

- One source quoted "Younger women are a little bit more independent and think differently these days. They think more, in my opinion, of themselves as a separate entity."

6) Colleen, what is your expert advice to couples who think there might be some financial infidelity going on in their marriage?

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