Secret credit card use bad for marriages?
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Credit card use as guilty secret
Last week, MSNBC’s TODAY show ran a package about married people who keep credit card use (and credit card debt) secret from their spouses. Jean Chatzky, who is a regular personal finance contributor on TODAY Money, observed: “Sex isn’t the last taboo, money is. We feel a lot of shame and embarrassment about things we want that we think our mate wouldn’t value or worse would blame us for buying.”
Of course, most of the purchases are in themselves harmless indulgences and minor extravagances. However, Gail Saltz who’s a relationship expert and another regular contributor to the show, is concerned that lying about money can bring about the sort of breakdown in trust that can ruin a marriage. She commented: “Financial infidelity can be as bad as sexual infidelity in terms of the hurt and destruction it causes.”
But not all illicit spending is innocent. The survey found that four percent of husbands and one percent of wives claimed that they secretly pay subscriptions to online dating websites using their credit cards.
Sounds like a case of “Sex and the Citi”
Winning the high-stakes (credit) card game
Also last week, Reuters interviewed a number of people who have raised credit card use into an art form. Some of these might come across as borderline obsessive, but they are people who have decided to find out all there is to know about credit cards, and then use that knowledge to save and/or make as much money from their cards as they can.
That can be a time-consuming business. Some spend hours minutely comparing credit card offers in search of the smallest advantage. They then spend many more hours filling in credit card applications, closing old accounts, transferring balances, rotating their spending on different cards in order to maximize their interest-free periods, planning purchases to coincide with rewards promotions, and so on.
It’s possible that you don’t want to spend quite as large a part of your life squeezing every last cent out of your plastic. But you probably wouldn’t mind piggybacking on all their effort by sneaking a peek in their wallets. Well, among the products that Reuters named were:
- Blue Cash® from American Express®
- Chase Freedom® Visa–$100 Bonus Cash Back
- Discover® More® Card–$100 Cashback Bonus®
- Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card
Presumably, only the most insensitive would use a Fidelity card for their online dating services.
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