44% of adults admit their financial infidelity
Aline Maurice | Image bank | Getty Images
Valentine’s Day is a great time to tell your partner how much they mean to you and reveal a secret you may be keeping.
Chances are it has something to do with money. Almost half, or 44%, of people in a relationship admit to having committed financial infidelity against their partner, according to one new survey from CreditCards.com.
More often than not, they spend more than what they think their partner would be comfortable with, according to the report. Others have a secret account or a credit card, and about 1 in 10 people have hidden debt.
To justify these money secrets, 36% cited the need for privacy or a desire to control their own finances, 27% said the issue had never been raised and 26% said they were embarrassed by the way they handle money. In January, CreditCards.com surveyed more than 2,500 adults who are currently married, in a civil union or living with their partner.
“A lot of people take advantage of having separate accounts; it certainly works if you agree on the parameters,” said Ted Rossman, industry analyst for CreditCards.com. Problems arise “if you do it in secret,” he said.
Despite how often financial infidelity is common, 27% agree that it is worse than physical infidelity, CreditCards.com found.
In 3 out of 4 couples, a spouse said that the financial deception was negatively affected their relationship with their partner, according to a separate National Endowment for Financial Education survey.
For young couples, money issues can be particularly heavy. Indeed, a third of millennia would consider breaking up with their partner because of a financial secret, such as hidden debt or bad credit, according to one Love and Money Investigation by TD Bank.
Still, financial infidelity shouldn’t doom a relationship, experts say.
“Rule # 1 is knowing what’s important to you,” said Kate Ryan, director of financial planning at TIAA in New York City. This can include, for example, what you want for your future, where you want to live and when you want to retire, she said.
“You don’t necessarily agree, but knowing where you are is the first step, because then you can decide if things will work.”
And while these conversations may seem difficult to have, they can be very constructive, Ryan added.
“It’s actually a way for couples to think about what’s possible and what they can accomplish together.”