Financial harmony is more about trust than money | Life

Dear Mary: My wife and I have been married for three years. She memorized my credit card information.

This is my personal account, and she is not listed as an authorized user. However, she charges without my knowledge, and it gets out of hand. About a year ago I took out a loan on my 401 (k) and paid off the balance, only to have her charge it back.

Here is my question: Since she is not the primary owner or authorized user of the account, can I dispute the charges? Or am I responsible because we are married?

By the way, we just started reading your book “Debt-Proof Your Marriage” chapter by chapter, and then we talk about it. Thanks for your help. – Anon (obviously)

Dear Anon: Challenging charges is certainly an option and a legal right you have to protect yourself from illegal activity on your account. However, you should realize that while you cannot be held responsible for these disputed charges, you will be reporting illegal activity on your account. You should assume, under the laws of your state, that your wife could be prosecuted for criminal activity. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to go.

Knowing that the two of you are reading my book gives me a lot of relief and hope. Help is on the way, so keep going. You’re about to find out that it’s not about the money at all. Its a question of confidence. Without trust – a precious commodity in any relationship – your marriage is in danger. This is a symptom of a much deeper need – the need to be fully open and honest with one another. Without it, you will never experience financial intimacy. I look forward to hearing from you once you finish the book.

That being said, there is an easy way to prevent them from using your account: call your credit card issuer (phone number on the back of the card) and report the card lost or stolen. They will immediately cancel your checking account and send you a replacement card with a new account number. If you pick up the mail, she will have no way of finding out the new number. It’s a shame that you have to, but it might be necessary to stop the bleeding until you experience a full recovery in your relationship. Just a thought.

Dear Mary: I am totally dedicated to getting out of debt, but my husband is not fully cooperating. He loves spending money on little things, but they add up for big things.

This prevents us from cutting expenses, building up our emergency fund, and paying off our debt quickly. He said he wanted to be debt free, but he won’t work with me. No suggestion? – Beccy

Dear Beccy: Looks like it’s time for a compromise negotiation meeting. Let me warn you that it would be easy for you to play the role of a harsh parent to this “stray child”, but don’t let yourself go there.

It’s not reasonable to think that either of you will never spend money again, so how about this: each of you gets $ 100 in cash per week (or an amount you determine) to spend As you wish. When he’s gone, you have to wait for the next “payday”.

All the plastic goes to a secret hiding place that you both know, and you promise each other it’s “Hands off!” »Unless you are both present and in full agreement.

If you step back a bit and start living what you believe instead of talking about it so much, you might get his attention more effectively and learn that you can trust him.

Marie invites you to go to Every, where this column is archived with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments to, “Ask Marie.” Tips can be sent to This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Every, a blog on frugal living and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living”.

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