CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - You may not be familiar with the term "financial infidelity," but according to a survey commissioned by CreditCards.com, 13 million Americans have a hidden credit card or bank account that their spouse doesn't know about.
Financial experts say keeping financial secrets from a spouse or partner can be a big problem, one that's not uncommon. However, being on the same page when it comes to your family's finances can make all the difference.
"We had a lot of student loan debt, a lot of credit card debt, car loans, and our mortgage," husband and father-of-three Brian Kaminskas said.
Kaminskas and his wife's financial story begins like many people's stories.
"We were roughly in that $75,000 range of debt," Kaminskas said.
With a pile of debt and three kids, Kaminskas said he was more disconnected from not only his finances but his family.
"This kind of stuff touches everything," Kaminskas said.
While they never fell into financial infidelity, he said, he wasn't surprised that 13 million Americans do.
"And we keep digging the same hole because we are not having a conversation. We are not discussing the expenses, we are not discussing the issues, we are not getting to the root of the problem," Kaminskas said.
Financial Advisor John Wolpers with Ameriprise Financial in Cape Girardeau said overspending, tucked away in a secret kept from your spouse is a recipe for disaster.
"He got the credit card in his own name and spent the way he'd always spent and all the sudden it came crashing down as it always will, when you spend more than you bring in," Wolpers said.
Wolpers said financial infidelity puts so much pressure on a marriage that it's a main reason for divorce.
"The stress, I can't stress enough," Wolpers said.
Though dealing with it isn't easy, it starts with communication.
"Openness. Talking about their financial situation and understanding their limitations," Wolpers said.
Once everything's out in the open, he suggested start digging yourselves out of debt and staying out.
"Borrow for a house, borrow for maybe a car, don't borrow for anything else," Wolpers said.
It's a freedom Kaminskas said his family has experienced for themselves.
"Currently my wife and I are debt free except for our home," Kaminskas said.
Kaminskas said they got rid of all that debt in less than five years through a program called Financial Peace University, which he now leads at Mt. Auburn Christian Church in Cape Girardeau.
Here are a few financial tips for any family:
- Make a budget - don’t spend more than you make
- Borrow as little money as possible - only get loans on a house or maybe a car
- Use cash – you’ll feel the hit a lot more than swiping a card
- Get out of debt – it’ll create a freedom in how you spend your money
- If you can’t pay your credit card every month, don’t have one
- If you’re married, always be open with your spouse