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A recent survey revealed just how much of an issue financial honesty can be in a relationship. In a survey of 1,372 romantically-attached adults living in the U.S., 31 percent said finding out a partner has a secret credit card or bank account is even worse than finding out about a physical affair.
A lot of people are in for a major disappointment then – 15 million people who live with their partners said they have credit cards or bank accounts their partners don’t know about. Another 9 million have admitted to this kind of behavior in the past.
What Other Findings Did This Survey Reveal?
The financial dishonesty seemed to sting worse for the lowest earners in the poll. Those who were earning under $40,000 a year were more inclined to say financial secrecy was more painful than if their partner was having an affair.
Of those who have hidden accounts or credit cards from their significant other, those who weren’t living with their partner were more likely to keep these kinds of secrets. That may be because it’s harder to keep a secret account hidden when two people share a mailbox or online accounts where the statements would go.
The vast majority, at 85 percent of those who were polled, said they were primarily honest with their partners about their financial situation though. But less than that felt the honesty was mutual in their relationships. Only 77 percent felt like their partners were coming clean about their money situation.
Although money is known to be one of the primary reasons for relationship troubles, some couples never talk about that topic at all with their partners. In this survey, 11 percent said they never broached the subject with their partners, and women were more likely to be the ones who didn’t talk about it.
How Bad is This for Relationships?
Financial experts agree that money secrets can quickly take a toll on romantic relationships. Finding out a partner has a secret stash of cash or has racked up debt on a credit card can be enough to drive a wedge between a once-strong relationship. It can lead to feelings of betrayal, anger, resentment, and can cause trust issues.
Not to mention, it can lead to surprisingly high levels of debt which is a big problem on its own. It might be one thing to open up a new rewards card to get a sign up bonus, but accruing debt secretively can open up a world of problems.
Author: Mike Brown
In his role at LendEDU, Mike uses data, usually from surveys and publicly-available resources, to identify emerging personal finance trends and tell unique stories. Mike’s work, featured in major outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, provides consumers with a personal finance measuring stick and can help them make informed finance decisions.