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Financial Infidelity – Is honesty the policy?

Media Release
January 31, 2006

Financial Infidelity – Is honesty the practised policy?

There is a new form of infidelity in town, and it is not confined to seedy hotel rooms.

A new poll conducted by Internet and telephone bank Superbank, has shown that financial deceit may in fact be the leading form of infidelity.

In Superbank’s latest online poll, answered by 3071 respondents throughout January 2006, a surprisingly high 42% of women and 35% of men confessed to lying to their partners about their finances.

The figures, says James Munro, Chief Executive of Superbank, are pretty surprising if the couples “are trying to build a relationship on trust.”

According to marriage guidance counsellors, money is such an emotionally laden topic that it has become the number one cause of arguments between couples. There is no doubt that people fall into different “money” personalities. Some of us are savers, and some are spenders who quickly get into “debt denial,” while others are dreamers and avoiders, who prefer to hide bills under the bed.

While there are no hard and fast rules about managing money, the trick is to discuss your own money beliefs and attitudes early on in a relationship. Without complete financial honesty, says Mr Munro, it must be difficult for partners to create workable long-term financial plans.

One of the first decisions for a couple will involve how to run their bank accounts and what you decide will depend on personal choice as well as personal circumstances. You might want to have two separate accounts for personal use plus a joint account to pay the rent or mortgage and bills, or lump everything together and leave separate accounts behind with your single days.

Legal experts warn that when couples maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards, it’s easier to resort to financial fibs. If the couple is involved in owning joint property, the end result of such deceit can be not only emotional disaster, but also a messy legal situation.

In the interest of living happily ever after, the Superbank team recommend that couples are honest right from the start of their relationship about their financial state of health: including disclosing their salary, debt load, student loans, inheritance, savings and credit status.

Said Mr Munro: “Every couple has to find a way to financially co-exist. Whether a couple keeps every cent separate, or merges it all into one big pile, they need to find a system that works for them and, I’d say, be transparent and honest with each other.”

The Superbank team also recommend talking to an objective professional – such as an accountant or bank manager – to assist in establishing an open financial relationship, which is the first step to ensuring a couple is on a sound financial footing.

Here are some more tips from Superbank to help maintain financial harmony in a relationship:

- Have a calculator and make a list of all joint expenses. Be specific about what each of you will need to pay

- Be realistic about how often you want to go out, how much you will spend, and who will pay

- Manage your differences. If one partner is a solid saver, but the other likes to flutter on investments, let him/her keep a separate “don’t ask” investment kitty that is their own responsibility

- Own up to whether you are a saver or spender, or avoider, and put the saver in the relationship in charge of day to day bills

- When one partner is in charge of day to day finances, both partners should still discuss all major spending decisions together

Notes to Editors:

- The Superbank poll was taken among 3071 Superbank customers who responded to the online poll during January 2006

- Of the 3071 respondents, 1703 were men and 1368 were women

- Superbank is a phone and Internet bank, which is a joint venture between Foodstuffs NZ Ltd and St.George Bank Ltd. of Australia.

- Superbank is known for its banking innovations such as Supersaver, the first online high interest, flexible savings account in the New Zealand market and SuperHomeloan, the only home loan that rewards loyalty with interest free discounts.


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