Living with credit

Emily’s list: Snooping spouses edition

Emily Crone

Money ethics has always interested me. What some people think is normal is SO different from what others find acceptable, and sometimes you don’t realize that until it comes up in passing. Snooping spouses edition

I read a Q&A article on CNN this week that explores the legalities and ethical considerations lurking behind 14 tricky financial situations. One that really interested me asks, “Can I check up on my spouse’s credit card and bank account balances?” That one stumped me a bit (give me a break, I haven’t even been married for a year yet).

Their expert for this pickle is Anita L. Allen, a professor of ethics and law at the University of Pennsylvania. Allen’s verdict is that if you suspect your spouse is racking up debt, being irresponsible or even committing a crime, it’s fair game for you to take a look without their permission. Especially “if he maxes out a credit card on a joint account, for example, you’re as legally responsible as he is for paying off the debt,” she says.

However, if you’re just being nosy and want to snoop, you need to ask him for access. According to Allen, “Ethically, you have the right to know, but using his password to access the information without his consent is a form of identity theft.” Yikes! Good to know.

For more financial enlightenment, read on for my roundup for my favorite blog posts I found in the past week!

1. Money Under 30 discusses the benefits of negotiating on everything, from credit card interest rates to rent, and how to go about it.

2. One Money Design explains why sometimes veering from your financial goals is not necessarily a failure.

3. Enemy of Debt reveals why the simple act of creating a list can help save money, time and stress.

4. Dinks Finance questions why people choose to save money when there are so many other things they can use it for.

5. Frugal Dad lists some of the money lessons that his young son has recently learned.

6. Married (with Debt) shares in great detail how you can make a monthly debt budget.

7. After restoring her health from doing a food detox, Careful Cents praises the benefits of clearing yourself of financial toxins.

8. Bucksome Boomer shares what life is like now that she is free from debt.

9. It’s far too easy for women to spend a fortune on beauty products and services. A guest post on Blonde & Balanced offers five tips for beautifying yourself for dates while staying on a limited budget.

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, we ask that you do not disclose confidential or personal information such as your bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • I would think that both spouse’s information is fair game in a marriage. In theory you’re both honest with each other and neither of you will ever have to snoop through accounts or look at credit card statements.
    But I know from experience, couples aren’t always forthcoming. Still, I’d rather not be blindsided. You bring up a good question though. Also, thanks for including my post!