Dear Dave: After hearing you talk about financial infidelity, I have to admit that I am hiding money from my husband. I put money aside for emergencies without her knowing. He’s not great with money, but he always seems to find something to spend it on. Before I started doing it, we never managed to save a lot of money. But now I feel like I did something wrong. What should I do?
Dear Lana: I believe in saving for emergencies. I mean, I’m the guy who tells people to have three to six months of expenses saved in an emergency fund, am I? But cheating is never a good thing in a relationship, especially a marriage. You need to tell your husband about it.
I know it won’t be easy for you, so you have to make sure you tell her the right way. Playing the blame game will not help. Basically, you fooled him about it. Sure, it seems like he was immature when it came to your household finances, but you made a decision to hide things. You chose to do this instead of telling him about your concerns.
Let’s start here. Tell your husband you need to talk to him about something important and sit down together without being distracted. Explain to her what happened and say you’re sorry for not being honest about things, but you also need to be honest and tell her why you were doing this in secret. If you were afraid to disagree with him, tell him. Also tell him why and let him know that you just want you both to have a successful financial future and that you commit to never hiding anything again.
Money management in a marriage is not a “his” or “hers” thing. It’s a “we” thing. You can solve this problem, but it will take honesty, understanding, and effort to work together toward the same goals, like saving money or living on a written monthly budget.
You each have one vote, but that also means you have to stand up and vote no, Lana, if he wants to waste money on dumb stuff when you don’t have your finances in order.
Dave Ramsey is a seven-time national #1 bestselling author, personal finance expert, and host of “The Ramsey Show.”