How to spot a secret spender in a marriage

secret spenderEarlier today, WalletPop ran a story of mine called, "10 signs your spouse is secretly spending money." Well, I heard from Moshe Brody, a cyber-therapist with offices in Maryland and Jerusalem, and he was nice enough to share with me the profile of a secret spender.

Brody, a marriage and family therapist who specializes in second marriages and prenupitial agreements, says that a secret spender's characteristics include:
  • An inability or unwillingness to follow rules
  • A habit of cheating repeatedly and extensively in the past on taxes and other financial forms
  • Being boastful about ripping people off
  • Passive-aggressiveness
  • Secrecy
  • Evasive, as in, you ask him or her a direct question, and the answer is always or often vague
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Makes rules for others but not for him or herself
  • Very strong sense of entitlement and is self righteous
  • History of bad financial judgment and investing
  • History of secretiveness and especially hoarding
  • Has a spouse who is a control freak
  • May be considering leaving the relationship
This is simply a profile, so it doesn't mean that just because your spouse has a few of these characteristics, they're necessarily a secret spender. Everyone should take this profile with the proverbial grain of salt, and nobody should jump to the conclusion that if their spouse is a secret spender, then they're about to depart the relationship or that you're a control freak. But, yes, some secret spenders are plotting an escape from their relationship and/or have control freak spouses.

The bottom line is, if your household budget's bottom line is floundering and you seem to never be able to get ahead financially, and if you have a spouse who has several of these characteristics, it may be that you have someone in the house sabotaging your efforts to pay off that debt and get financially ahead.

If nothing else, as Brody told me, "Someone who scores high on this profile needs careful monitoring with credit agencies."

Geoff Williams is a frequent contributor to WalletPop and is the co-author of the new book "Living Well with Bad Credit."

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