Spitzer & the $$ lessons it teaches for all spouses

loralee_2007March 15, 2008

Hi all,

I have never posted to this section of the forum, but I am continually shocked when I hear news of spouses who don't monitor their financial status, including bank accounts.


- If your spouse has a separate banking account, ask yourself why?

- Will your spouse share the statement, and if not, seriously question why not!

Not all spouses share banking accounts, either for tax reasons etc., so simply having a separate account does not mean anything negative, but ensure you know what is going on in that account and "where" you're money is going.

As a personal story, DH used to handle our finances. And a year after our line of credit financed renovations we were not much closer to paying it off (about $2000). I took over, and put us on a budget, and we had our line of credit paid off in 22 months($35000).

My point is, after reviewing DH's repayment methods - of which I only had access since we have FULL disclosure of our accounts - I was not satisfied on the repayment rate and then came up with my own repayment schedule, complete with "allowance", and it worked for us.

But I sincerely entreaty every married couple to ensure they know what is going on in ALL their accounts, whether joint or individual.

I also have knowledge of my FIL funnelling funds from the joint account approx a year before his divorce from MIL so he could shack up with the secretary (unfortunate true story). MIL did not monitor the bank account and only found "after the fact".

Please protect yourselves and keep a vested interest in ALL accounts. My heading title is an extreme example of what happens when you don't.


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I agree that being mindful of family finances is a very, very wise thing. You did indicate the Spitzer's are an extreme example, and they are, but I suppose there is still an object lesson somewhere in that sad affair. But people with access to the kind of money they do, Silda would no more have thought twice about a 5 or 10k expediture by Eliot than Eliot would have thought about that kind of expenditure by Silda. Three martini power lunches followed by cigars at the Club with a bunch of cronies are expensive, as are designer clothes, mud soaks and pampering at the Day Spa. It's all pocket change to them - however, it does raise red flags with the IRS and assorted forensic accountants.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 10:37PM
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Interesting thing is that apparently, mr. Spitzer was known to be very frugal, owing only a couple pairs of dress shoes and suits, and he drove a mini van, so I wonder how she did not notice how her supposedly frugal husband squandered away 80K over the years.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 11:24PM
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Comparing the finances of a typical couple who are wage earners to the finances of the very wealthy is really comparing apples to oranges. IRS and forensic accountants only get involved if he is trying to deduct the girlfriend under "property improvements" or there is a divorce.
As Governor, Spitzer would have had to put certain investments into a blind trust so that he would not be personally managing the money. Considering that his wife went to an ivy league lawschool (not cheap)her family may have money and she may have independent money of her own. When wealthy wives inherit money they often keep it separate because it is separate property, that way they can leave it to their own children. If they die the last thing they want is for the husband to inherit it all.
Its true you need to keep an eye on what's going on in your family investments but I never worry about wealthy wives. They can afford forensic accountants.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:37PM
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To me this whole thing about Spitzer is the proverbial much ado about nothing. Put it in simple terms: The guy went to a hooker a few times a year. Big deal. They can certainly afford it, they're not spending the infant's formula money on cigarettes and lottery tickets and as said, she gets her relaxation in other ways. She probably knew all about it anyway.

This idea he had these massive amounts put aside to support a concubine is laughable. And seeing the reports of him being involved in a prostitution ring were made solely to imply he was a pimp. He wasn't.

Each couples financial situation is different and to try to pidgeonhole all into the same one doesn't work for me. I know people where one handles everything; some where they do it together totally, others that have financial managers and some that are a combination. Seldom have I seen that each spouse doesn't have some money "of their own" so to speak to use in their own way, whether it's to buy stuff for themself, gifts for the spouse or whatever.

There is an interesting question here though. If I knew someone was funneling money away from their spouse, I'd be hardpressed to not say something unless I really disliked the spouse tremendously. What would you do?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:02AM
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She probably wouldn't have known specifically about it because their money is likely handled by (other) accountants, etc. and they would have their own (if separate) running chequing accts., charge cards, etc. rather than sitting down together monthly to go over household expenses the way we do. Their ongoing expenses (his, anyhow) are far different from ours, and keeping track of them is probably not something they do - just respond to the accountants if problems are brought to their attention.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 5:57AM
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My only point was (and everyone else's, too) - people each with acquired/accumulated wealth like the Spitzers aren't sitting around the kitchen table accounting for each others' nickels and dimes.

As for cynic's question - knowledge of one of a couple funneling money. Have to think about how committed I was to go the distance with any fallout. Isn't marge727 a lawyer - when would one party's "misappropriation" of funds from joint accounts, etc. cross the line beyond greed, vindictiveness, selfish spendng or whatnot to something possibly criminal?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 1:41PM
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