Brody, a marriage and family therapist who specializes in second marriages and prenupitial agreements, says that a secret spender's characteristics include:
- An inability or unwillingness to follow rules
- A habit of cheating repeatedly and extensively in the past on taxes and other financial forms
- Being boastful about ripping people off
- Evasive, as in, you ask him or her a direct question, and the answer is always or often vague
- Borderline personality disorder
- Makes rules for others but not for him or herself
- Very strong sense of entitlement and is self righteous
- History of bad financial judgment and investing
- History of secretiveness and especially hoarding
- Has a spouse who is a control freak
- May be considering leaving the relationship
The bottom line is, if your household budget's bottom line is floundering and you seem to never be able to get ahead financially, and if you have a spouse who has several of these characteristics, it may be that you have someone in the house sabotaging your efforts to pay off that debt and get financially ahead.
If nothing else, as Brody told me, "Someone who scores high on this profile needs careful monitoring with credit agencies."
Geoff Williams is a frequent contributor to WalletPop and is the co-author of the new book "Living Well with Bad Credit."