I’m financially unfaithful to my partner

The irony was that Jackson worked at a financial institution and was even an interim CEO at one point; she knew how to budget and run an organization. But she wasn’t carrying that knowledge into her own life. After leaving her job—with the intent of starting her own business—Jackson was unemployed for a year and burned through $50,000 of her 401(k) savings. “It was pretty much a $50,000 vacation for a year,” she says. “After I blew that money, I tried to get back into the workforce, but it was a time when jobs were down. So I couldn’t even get a job in my industry.” Jackson was forced to move back home with her family when she found herself out of money. “That was very humbling, to say the least,” she says. “Having to ask for money for gas to go on an interview is extremely humbling when you almost made six figures less than two years prior.”

That was the turning point for Jackson, when she was forced to learn the value of saving and investing. Now, she’s in a relationship with someone she calls an investor—but she hasn’t fallen into her old habits of lying about money. “He wants me to invest everything, but that’s going to take away my spending power,” she says. “I told him, you’re going to have to talk to me and tell me how I can spend some of my money on investing to increase my spending power in the future. And once I started teaching him how to speak in my language and then I started learning how to speak in his investor language, we could have a great dialogue.”

Jackson steers clear of certain places and sites now, she says. “I’m not going to go to the bar every day, even though I may be tempted to,” she says. When she does go out with friends or coworkers, she often carries cash so she can only spend a finite amount of money. Every day, she puts on different hats—that of a spender, investor, and giver—to manage her money responsibly. “I’m a financial fornicator,” she says. “I’m addicted to spending money. Spending and being a spender is not bad, but I was addicted to overspending; I got a significant high off of spending a significant amount of money. So every day, I’m tempted to spend money.”

I didn’t tell my boyfriend about all my savings—or my $15,000 raise 

Unlike Jackson, Jennifer* was dishonest with her ex-boyfriend not because she was spending too much money—but because she was not spending enough, according to her partner. For six years, Jennifer has received financial assistance from her parents, usually about $600 or so a month. Jennifer held onto most of the money that came from her parents—whether it was a gift for her college graduation or monthly financial support. “So I have all that money saved and never told my boyfriend about it,” she says. 

Jennifer describes him as a “very, very, very big spender” and says that as a saver, she already felt significant pressure to loosen her purse strings. She worried that divulging her financial standing would only make the problem worse. “It’s always been a pain point in our relationship,” she says. “I’m very thrifty. But I consider myself a person who spends money in a smart way. I will treat myself here and there, but I’m very good at saving money.” Since her ex was already trying to exercise control over her spending habits, Jennifer found it easier to lie about her money. Then, she could fend off his complaints by saying she couldn’t afford to spend more freely. 

Jennifer used the same logic when she got a sizable promotion: She went from making about $45,000 to more than $60,000 and chose not to tell her ex about her raise. “I just didn’t want to talk about it anymore,” she says. “I didn’t want him to push me to spend money that I didn’t want to spend. I also saw him spending money in a way that I would have never supported–I judged him for that a lot, and I thought it was stupid of him. I was actually saving more money every month even though I was making significantly less than him.”

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