Dealing with a cheater? No big deal. But lying about money? Forget about it.
“Financial infidelity” is real, and one in five people in a live-in relationship admit they lie to their partner about money — about where they keep it, where they spend it, how much they have.
When 2,000 people were surveyed about their money habits, many said they keep a private bank account or credit card without telling their partner, according to a study released by CreditCards.com. Thirty-one percent of millennials, 24 percent of people ages 38 to 53 and 17 percent of baby boomers are keeping, or have kept, an account secret form their partner.
It turns out that the main reason is because people are embarrassed by how much they are spending and what they are spending it on. They also want their own money that no one is keeping track of to use however they please.
Nearly half of the surveyed people said they’d be pissed if they found out their partner was hiding funds, and said that they considered a secret account worse than catching their partner having a physical affair.
When asked, eighty-five percent of respondents said they’re honest with their significant others when it comes to money, but most believed the honesty wasn’t mutual. Eleven percent of people in relationships said they “never” discuss money with their partners. Women were significantly more likely to say this than men.
Kansas State University’s Sonya Britt-Lutter said it’s difficult to pin down reasons why people financially cheat, but one reason is that we like to keep spending on things we used to while single, even though a partner finds it wasteful or frivolous.
“A lot of it boils down to a difference in values,” Britt-Lutter said. “If there’s something that I value that you don’t value, I’m still going to spend money on it because it’s something that I think is important. I’m just not going to tell you about it to avoid the argument.”
Money was a sticky topic for most couples — 40 percent of Americans say they wouldn’t date someone who had a bad credit score. Women were nearly three times as likely to consider a bad credit score. More than half those asked would not marry someone with significant debt.
Ruth Hayden noted that a person entering into a serious relationship may be afraid to let his new squeeze know about past money mishaps because it may change things.
“We have such incredible judgment of people and their money,” Hayden said. “If I tell you the truth, you’re going to think I’m a terrible person, and then we won’t have a relationship.”
The report advised couples to be honest about their financial issues before moving in together or getting married, since it was determined that money was in fact the cause of most arguments.
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