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5 Signs Your Spouse Is a Financial Tiger Woods

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As a nation, we're not as creditworthy as we used to be. Citing data from market researcher Synovate, The Wall Street Journal reports that banks have sent out just 1.4 billion credit card offers this year. That's down from over 6 billion in 2005.

Part of this has to do with Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS  ) , and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) reducing their exposure to credit card junkies.

That's understandable. For even though some consumers have become quite frugal, those who still use their credit cards may be piling it on. According to's November U.S. Consumer Credit Score Climate Report, among those who have credit cards, the average balance increased 4% from October and has risen 14% since June.

What if you're married to this person? You may be living with a financial Tiger Woods. Here are five telltale signs:

5. He responds to every credit card offer, no matter how lousy it is.

4. He promises he'll turn his massive credit card tab into "good" debt by tapping home equity, only to run up those cards again once the slate is (temporarily) clean.

3. Only after the collection agencies start calling does he confess that he made mistakes and betrayed your trust.

2. But, oddly, he also insists that the matter be resolved privately. As in: without telling you anything.

And the number one sign your spouse might be a financial Tiger Woods (drum roll, please) ... each day brings a call from a new creditor claiming to be owed money.

If any of these signs sound familiar, it may be time for an intervention. This article may help. Only when your spouse begins to think of every dollar as an investment will he reconsider mortgaging your future together.

Discover Financial is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy won last year's long drive competition at the annual disclosure policy golf tournament.

Read/Post Comments (9) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2009, at 3:35 PM, prginww wrote:

    Why is the male spouse the only "bad" investor in this story?

    "He responds"

    "He promises"

    "does he confess'

    "he also insists"

    Are there no Tigresses in the world?

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2009, at 3:57 PM, prginww wrote:

    Hello pondee619,

    >>Are there no Tigresses in the world?

    Of course there are. In this case, "he" follows with the male protagonist (i.e., Tiger). This isn't in any way a statement about which gender is more or less fiscally responsible.

    Thanks for your comment and Foolish best,

    Tim (TMFMileHigh and @milehighfool on Twitter)

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2009, at 4:16 PM, prginww wrote:

    This is a good article to help identify a big problem in communication about spending in a marriage. I grew up being told all credit cards and credit were evil except your house debt. After having children we agreed that a credit card was necessary for trips and emergencies. We became more and more relaxed using it until one year - twenty years ago, when we were still paying off Christmas in July. We lovingly sent parents on a cruise, etc.. Now I don't have a credit card, just a debit card.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2009, at 5:28 AM, prginww wrote:

    What a decade for Tiger Woods!

    He began the decade at the age of 22, a kind of prodigy or genius, an untouchable golf god, born to this mortal world to show us how to play the game. He almost ended the decade in the same vein at the age of 32, becoming the top PGA earner of 2009, then… Well, Woods crashed and so did his entire reputation. He will now be remembered as a tainted genius, a flawed character, not a golf wonderkid. Sports bloggers listed at online sports index, are debating whether Tiger Woods should be remembered as the greatest sportsman of the decade or not. I say, he blew it.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2009, at 8:13 AM, prginww wrote:

    Dear TMFMileHigh:


    "A protagonist the main character...around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to share the most empathy"

    "The principal opponent of the protagonist is a character known as the antagonist, who represents or creates obstacles that the protagonist(s) must overcome."

    Isn't Tiger the antagonist? I'll grant you that his prior fame may make him a better known character, maybe even the main character, but aren't we to feel more empathy for Elin?

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2009, at 8:43 AM, prginww wrote:

    Another way would be that she smash my back window with a sack of pennies in stead of a seven iron.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2009, at 10:04 AM, prginww wrote:

    Hmm.. I thought you were going to say that "he cheats on his taxes". ;-)

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2009, at 12:27 AM, prginww wrote:

    Enough of Tiger already.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2009, at 1:00 AM, prginww wrote:

    Please, never enough of Tiger and his hilariously pathetic text messages. Now he's hiding from the public? Just adds to the bizarre story.

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