Secret spending can be tough on any partnership. In most cases, when a partner is spending it affects the other person. You don’t want to get a surprise bill in the mail and have no idea where it came from. You also don’t want to find out that your partner has been taking out loans or applying for credit cards without your knowledge.
Couples should make finances something that is open between the two individuals. This is especially true before becoming an exclusive couple. Both parties should disclose their debt, minimum payment and outstanding loans. It fosters communication and leaves no room for surprises along the way.
Finding out that your partner is in debt can be tough, especially if it has been hidden from you. While you want to rush and confront the situation, take a little time to cool off and get yourself together. You want the conversation to end up with some type of resolution, not just a fight.
It’s always a good idea to bring along whatever it was that tipped you off to their debt. Whether you intercepted the credit card bill or received a phone call from a creditor, bring that information with you as you talk to your partner. During this conversation make sure that everything is out in the open. You don’t want to find out about one debt this week only to be surprised with another debt a month down the road. Make sure that you have also disclosed all debt as well.
You do have the option to just let the situation be without any type of confrontation. You and your partner can have completely different finances and attempt to handle things on your own. However, for most people, this is difficult when it comes to the house payment or the car payment. If you both look at all of the money (and debt) as belonging to both of you, it makes it easier.
Once you have the conversation and both partners talk about their debt, it is time to come up with a plan. It starts by making sure that you and your partner can take on the debt that you have. Total up the minimum payments and find out how much you are spending each month on these debts.
Take the time to add up all of the debt that you owe. Find out just how much you and your partner owe to banks, lenders and credit card companies. Once again, make sure that nothing else is hidden. Come up with a detailed plan. There is a reason that one partner would keep their debt hidden from the other person. This issue needs to be addressed.
Is there a lack of income? Is one person acting irresponsibly? This needs to be discussed to make sure that everyone in the relationship is on the same page. Start paying off the debt. When you pool all of your income together and all of your debt together you can find out just how you will be able to pay off the money you owe. It might be that you make larger payments to one card while paying the minimum to others. It may involve increasing the monthly payment to all forms of debt.
When you have a resolution, you and your partner will begin to feel better and redevelop trust. Make sure that you both agree to keep the other partner in the loop when it comes to financial decisions.