smart spending

Signs your spouse may be ripping you off

The high cost of a midlife crisis
7 of 7

The sneak: Arthur, a married attorney in his 60s, emptied his 401(k) to pay for a condo, clothes, travel and entertainment for a woman 40 years his junior. Since he traveled for work, his wife, Faith, knew nothing of the affair or the damage it was doing to their nest egg. Both women eventually dumped him.

The reason: It's easy to write off Arthur's story as a classic midlife crisis. But it also points to the dangers of blithely ignoring your finances.

"The really big spousal thefts now have to do with 401(k) money, and until you get to tax time, you might not even know about it," says Hayden.

The fix: "Check your investments once a month, together," Hayden says. "Where are our investments? Where are our savings? Do our accounts balance? What are our debts? Not too much harm can happen in a month."

To stay on the same page, hold short weekly meetings with an agenda. "If one party starts avoiding that," she says, "either they're afraid of a fight or someone is hiding something, that's my theory."




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