When you embark on your wedded journey, make sure you have all of the hard discussions no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Discussing finances, ensuring your name is on a home you purchase together, a business you start together, banking accounts, etc… is a sign of trust rather than distrust. If you can have difficult conversations without responses like “don’t you trust me?”, or “I’m better with money, just trust me”, than your chance of a successful marriage is increased. One partner controlling the purse strings is often a sign of financial abuse.
Your Accountant should be on Speed Dial
Sometimes those little hairs on the back of my neck would tingle and I would insist on accompanying my spouse to our accountants. The conversation would be directed by my ex and our accountant. My fears would stop screaming “something’s not right” and just silently nag. I’d ask about being listed on the business as an owner and would be assured yes and don’t worry this is a 50/50 state. Let me assure you that even though the law may state that, the one with the money has the power. Your accountant works for you – verse yourself with what questions to ask, get a second opinion, understand your finances. Do not play Russian Roulette with your life. Blame and ignorance do not pay the bills and debt collectors do not care.
Your thriving business is now near bankruptcy
Our small business of 25 years had provided us with a wonderful lifestyle. We had a nice little nest egg, the ability to pay for our children’s college education, parcel of a small financial gift to them upon graduation. We achieved the American Dream and then the nightmare began. Suddenly, divorce was imminent and our thriving business was on the verge of bankruptcy. Everything we had worked so hard for was gone or so it seemed. If you suspect financial hanky-panky, hire a financial advisor who specializes in forensic accounting right away. Once the money is gone, chances are it is not coming back but you need to preserve what remains. If I had just had the hard talks about money, taken a more educated and active role when it came to our finances I wouldn’t have played Russian Roulette. College tuition would have been paid, and we both would have split the nest egg, 50/50.
What is Financial Abuse?
Before you marry, make sure you have the difficult discussion with your partner. If you fear yourself shying away from a topic to avoid an argument or fight, consider it a warning sign.
Check things out for yourself. You are smart and just as capable. It’s easy to let someone else do it but this is your life. Fiduciary trust does not mean you play Russian Roulette and gamble your money and life away.
Be active when it comes to your finances. If your tax return is complicated, then learn how to understand it. Take it to your own trusted advisor.
A solid partnership is built on trust, not blind trust, but trust that you can have open honest discussions. All topics should be open for discussions.
Ignorance is not an excuse and does not pay your bills.
Take control of your finances or your finances will take control of you.