What is Financial Infidelity? A Third of Americans Know

Posted by Viviana Vazquez in Personal FinanceJanuary 31, 2022(Last Updated July 27, 2022)3 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Almost a third of Americans have admitted to committing financial cheating in their relationships, according to a survey by CreditCards.com.
  • Many Americans believe that keeping financial secrets is just as bad as physical cheating.
  • Having a hidden savings account or having secret debt would be considered lying about money, a sign of financial infidelity.
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

The pillars of having a fulfilling and long-lasting relationship are built on trust, respect, and honesty. One important part of a relationship is having financial goals and talking about money openly. Though many choose to have separate accounts and finances, many others decide to unite their financial situation.


What is Financial Infidelity?


Financial infidelity happens when a person lies to their partner or significant other about their financial situation. This infidelity includes hiding bank accounts, credit card debt, or large financial decisions. Lying to your partner about finances may hurt your relationship in the long run. 


Although, at times, it is easy to exaggerate certain things such as your yearly income, lying about your compensation may impact your relationship negatively down the line.


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In order to prevent financial infidelity in your relationship, it is important to discuss finances openly and early on. If your partner avoids the topic, it may be a red flag.


Americans and Financial Infidelity


A recent poll by CreditCards.com and YouGov Plc found that 32% of coupled Americans have financially cheated. Out of this group, 15% admitted to spending more than the amount their partners would agree to; 9% admitted to having secret debt; 8% admitted to holding a secret credit card, and 8% admitted to holding a secret checking account or savings account.


Millennials and younger adults were the groups committing the most financial infidelity. While 61% of GenZers and 48% of millennials have kept financial secrets, only 28% of Gen Xers and 19% of baby boomers have financially cheated.


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Another key finding was that nearly half of participants (42%) said financial and physical cheating is equivalent. Only 11% agreed that financial infidelity is worse, while 47% of respondents said physical infidelity is worse.


The most common reason Americans cheat financially was that the issue never came up, or they never felt the need to share. On the other hand, 30% of people stated they desired to control their own finances. However, a quarter of people were too embarrassed about the way they managed their money, and almost 15% did not trust their partners with money. Other reasons for financially cheating were preparing in case the relationship ends poorly or secretly using the money for an addiction.


How to Talk Money in a Relationship


A healthy relationship is one where you can discuss finances openly with your significant other. Financial secrets will hurt your relationship in many ways. Before taking significant steps in your relationship, take time to talk about any of your financial issues and your individual financial goals. You will build a healthy financial foundation by taking these steps in your relationship.


Image Credit: Shutterstock.com


If you are unsure about how to start the conversation, begin by sharing what things or experiences you spend money on. Another way to initiate a money conversation is to share your money goals and how financial planning will help you achieve them. Starting the conversation and sharing your experiences will help your partner feel more comfortable when discussing financial matters.


Recommended Read: Four Money Topics to Discuss Before Moving in With Your Partner


As you take the bigger steps in your relationship, discuss shared goals with your partner. If you are unsure about how to handle the finances in your relationship, reach out to a certified financial advisor for help. By making sure your spending habits are aligned with your partner’s, you will be able to have a successful financial relationship. 


Having a strong financial foundation, as well as an open line of communication in regards to money, your financial future together will be successful. If you are both financially prepared and honest, any large financial decisions, such as purchasing a home or saving for a wedding, will be easier to make.


Have you ever experienced financial infidelity with your partner? Share your experience with us below.


Main Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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