Have you kept a new pair of shoes secret from your spouse? Or perhaps purchased a new golf club and hid it in your golf bag? You’re not alone. Financial infidelity is more common than you may think.
According to a new report from CreditCards.com, 1 in 5 Americans said they’ve spent $500 or more without telling their partner. And some have taken their subterfuge to a whole new level.
About 6 percent admitted to leading financial double lives by maintaining hidden checking or savings accounts or using secret credit cards, the report says.
The study included responses from 843 Americans living with a spouse or partner.
Matt Schulz, CreditCard.com’s senior industry analyst, told MoneyWatch that you’re playing with fire if you’re harboring financial secrets.
These secrets are a recipe for disaster. If you and your significant other aren’t honest with each other about what you’re spending, you never really know how much money you have, and that can lead to big problems.
You don’t necessarily have to share every single purchase with your partner, Paula Levy, a certified public accountant and marriage and family therapist in Connecticut, told CreditCards.com. Some independence is fine.
“In most cases, the secret is mostly to avoid conflict and to make sure they get what they want,” Levy said.
Other highlights of the financial infidelity survey include:
- Men vs. women. Men are more likely than women to keep financial secrets, such as a private credit card or bank account (8 percent vs. 5 percent), or make a big purchase without their partner’s knowledge (26 percent vs. 14 percent), the survey said.
- Old vs. young. Younger couples are more likely than their older counterparts to have hidden accounts or secret purchases.
- Independent purchases. “Thirty-one percent of men and 18 percent of women say they would have no problem with their partner spending $500 or more without letting them know,” the survey said.
My husband and I combined our checking accounts shortly after we were married. It really helped alleviate the financial frustrations we had about each other’s spending because we could both see what money was going in and out of our accounts. We also typically talk about any purchases of more than $200.
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Money is perhaps the single touchiest subject in many relationships. For some ideas about how to talk about money with your honey, watch this video: