Sunday, March 13, 2016
Why Your Spouse Hides Money?
In a previous post I mentioned I’ve had a few requests over the years from employees who wanted to hide money (commissions, bonuses and pay increases) from their soon to be ex-spouse during a divorce. Divorce, though, is not the only situation where I’ve received requests from employees wishing to hide money.
When the company where I work was in the process of transitioning payroll processing to an outside provider our owners decided to make direct deposit mandatory. Check distribution had become a nightmare for our in-house payroll staff. One week an employee would want their check mailed to their work location, the next to their home, sometimes they changed their request more than once for the same paycheck. If a payroll clerk made a mistake or didn’t get the latest message she was verbally abused and complaints were made to the owners.
Not everyone was in favor of direct deposit:
When the mandatory direct deposit announcement was made, several employees at one of our locations threatened to contact the department of labor. They felt their rights were being violated. These employees were paid via commission and were using a portion of their check, unbeknownst to their spouse, to fund their weekly poker game. Since commissions fluctuated, their spouse didn’t miss what she wasn’t aware of. Mandatory direct deposit is not legal in all states, but is in the state of Wisconsin, so our owners went with their mandatory direct deposit plan. Pay-stubs were mailed to the employee’s home.
After the transition to direct deposit, complaints stopped and conflict over paycheck whereabouts subsided. That is until we announced we were issuing separate bonus checks this year. The same group of employees from above requested these checks be mailed to their work location rather than their home. They didn’t want their spouse to know they had earned a bonus. They actually made the comment, “If we screw this up heads will roll.”
The above employees were all male, but I also know a wife who hid money. When my male co-worker’s spouse changed jobs a few years ago she failed to tell him she had neglected to roll over her 401(k) distribution money into another qualified plan. He discovered this upon receiving an unusual 1099 the following year. When he asked where the money had gone, she confided she used it to pay down credit card debt. Debt that currently had a balance of over $20,000. This debt also came as a surprise. Her credit card statements had been mailed to her sister’s house. What had the credit cards been used for? Nothing in particular; clothes, shoes, purses, and expensive beauty products.
This marriage survived, but just barely. My co-worker took over the management of their finances, he cut up her credit cards, she took a side job cleaning offices to help pay down her debt, he opened a checking account in his name and gives her a monthly allowance. He has tried to teach her about money, but thinks she’s not listening. She spends her entire allowance each month without saving a single penny. He confided he has a hard time trusting her and occasionally checks her vehicle’s trunk for hidden purchases.
I suggested perhaps he is not the best person to teach her about money:
I am sure it is hard for him to not let his anger surface during these money lessons making it easy for her to shut him out. I’ve heard good things about NFCC and Dave Ramsey’s classes which are commonly held at local churches. I recommended they attend a class or financial counseling session together. He vehemently disagreed. She needs financial training not him and refuses to go with her.
I had a conversation with her recently when she stopped by our office, she tells me they don’t have cable or internet at home and she finds this burdensome. She was also on her way to buy some Aveda shampoo because it made her hair smell so nice.
They need help setting joint goals:
He wants to move to a bigger home, to save for their son’s education and to save for their retirement. I’d be surprised if she doesn’t want these things too. A counselor could help them prepare a budget they both could live with. She also needs to learn how to spend less than she earns and the importance of an emergency fund.
Why do spouses hide money?
A spouse may feel since they are the one who earned the money they get to determine how it is spent, their goals aren’t in alignment, they are covering up a bad habit or they are competitive with each other.
Why do you think spouses hide money?
*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and DIY Jahn*