With valentine’s day just around the corner, a recent study shows that about 44% of Americans are guilty of infidelity. No, not the kind that happens between the sheets. According to the authority on the matter, “Cosmo,” that involves only about 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men. We are talking about the kind that happens in the wallet: financial infidelity.
What is financial infidelity? Its keeping secret bank accounts. Its having a clandestine charge card. It can be as seemingly innocuous as spending an amount of money that you know your partner would be upset about and then hiding the evidence. Often it involves having debts that one partner doesn’t know about. Its anything financially that we keep as a secret from our companion.
Who’s doing it?
Interestingly, financial infidelity seems much more common with millennials than older generations. 57% of millennials have deceived their partners, while only 45% of Gen-Xers and 37% of boomers are guilty. The reasons for this are unclear. Some have theorized it’s because millennials are coupling later in life than previous generations. This leads to a stronger ingrained sense of financial independence and unwillingness to share financial control. Others believe that millennials have a stronger sense of “mine” and are unable or unwilling to share responsibility. This may be the result of the higher prevalence of single parent households which Millennials experienced compared to previous generations. Essentially, a lack of role models for shared financial governance. Whatever the cause, financial infidelity epidemic in this group
How does this financial infidelity play out? Looking at the data, 34% admit to spending a significant amount of money that their partner didn’t know about. 17% kept a secret bank account while 12% have hidden debts. Men are slightly more likely (47%) likely than women (43%) to be hiding a financial secret. But really, both sexes are guilty.
Why do we care?
Fifty-seven percent of those polled felt that financial infidelity was as bad if not worse as sexual infidelity. Experts agree. Once exposed, hidden financial secrets can erode trust, which is the foundation of any relationship. Questions inevitably arise as to what else may be hidden. Doubts creep in. Connections crumble.
How to Prevent financial infidelity?
Clearly the first step is communication. When individuals first couple is the time to have the big talk: how are we going to manage our money. There’s no right or wrong. Next time we will look at some of the strategies real couples use to manage their finance.