Want to avoid financial infidelity? Here's an exercise any couple can do to commit to financial fidelity in their marriage.
1. Keep Track of Expenses.
Each spouse do this exercise: Both husband and wife, regardless of age, length of marriage, employment status etc. It is an excerise to help you get on the same page – on your finances and take proactive steps to keep an old fashion ledger of every dollar you spend for week, separately. Then do it again for a second week.
2. Identify Opportunities.
Identify three areas where you can specifically cut back on spending and identify one area where you can increase income -- even if you don’t work outside the home. Think outside your normal areas of comfort and be ready to devote and an hour or two every week to developing this. Investigate two areas of possibly getting better returns on investments now, if you have any. List your top five concerns. List your top five suggestions for addressing those concerns. 3. Share the Information.
Make a date with your spouse. On that date --outside the house -- swap sheets. Read one other's. Sit in silence, absorb but do not make negative comments. Make your own notes and give only positive feedback. In two days, have a second meeting – give one another more balanced feedback and be prepared to receive the same – going over pros and cons systematically.4. Commit to Financial Fidelity.
Commit to working on it together immediately, rallying the children if you have them, getting part-time jobs, seeking counselors, financial planners or certified public accountants for help – and updating or starting your financial plan immediately before another paycheck hits the bank and disappears. Commit to be in this together. And get help if and as you hit obstacles.Cynthia Anderson Thompson, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA ™), MBA (Harvard), is founder of Divorce Planning Solutions LLC, a fee-only financial planning firm in New York. She can be reached at email@example.com or 914-906-2919