Has your spouse become increasingly secretive? Are you noticing a sudden change in behavior that you just can’t seem to figure out? If this is the case, your love could be hiding a big secret from you: financial infidelity. This is a situation where one or both people in a relationship are hiding financial secrets.
A new study conducted by YouGov on behalf of life insurance agency Haven Life found that 70% of married respondents would rethink their relationship if they ever discovered their spouse had a secret debt of more than $5,000. The results showed that men were more likely to be hiding a dirty little financial secret. This is because they tend to make large impulse purchases.
“I’d like to think the majority of these situations aren’t purposely deceitful or secretive. Money is not only a stressful topic for couples, but it’s also a very intimate one. Individually, people have differing ways of dealing with money, and once you have a partner, you have to transition to handling it as a combined unit. That’s not easy — especially if you have significant debts or spending habits you don’t want people to judge you on,” Yaron Ben-Zvi, CEO and founder of Haven Life told The Cheat Sheet.
Key survey findings:
- Approximately 1 in 5 Americans are hiding debt from their partners and 1 in 6 admit to having a financial secret.
- Roughly 21% percent of Americans are hiding either a secret savings stash or checking account.
- About 34% of female respondents said their top financial secret was hidden personal purchases.
- Secret credit cards are also top on the list of financial lies. A survey by CreditCards.com found that more than 7 million Americans (4.4 million men and 2.8 million women) are covering up credit card and bank accounts.
Here are four signs your significant other is cheating on you — financially, that is.
1. Secrecy about money
If your spouse often changes the subject when the topic turns to money, this may be a sign. Make a point to have an open and honest discussion about finances, and aim to meet about household expenses at least quarterly. This will help you both get used to being accountable. You have a choice to make. You can either talk about money now, or talk about it later in divorce court when you’re deciding how to divide up your assets.
“Part of a healthy relationship with your significant other is having open, transparent conversations with him or her about money. Understandably, many people want to avoid potentially difficult or tense conversations. However, it can be a huge relief to have this discussion and put all your cards on the table about salaries, debts, savings and credit scores,” said Ben-Zvi.
2. Fuller closets
If you start noticing unopened packages and clothing with tags still attached, it’s time to start asking questions. Hidden shopping bags stuffed in the back of the closet is usually a dead giveaway.
“Financial infidelity occurs whenever you keep a secret about money. Whether it’s how you spend it, or how you save it, or how it makes you feel when you or your partner use it in any particular way. The dangerous thing about financial infidelity is not the secret itself, but the act of conscious deception or omission in a relationship. Over time, any deception destroys intimacy, and without intimacy couples cannot have true and lasting love,” said Bonnie Eaker Weil in Financial Infidelity: Seven Steps to Conquering the #1 Relationship Wrecker.
3. Unfamiliar bank statements
Are you starting to notice receipts and bank statements for purchases you don’t recognize? There may be a new shoe collection or tech gadget hidden somewhere in the house. If you continue to find receipts for purchases that you never see, something is up.
“I have seen families destroyed because one partner took the money out of the family bank account and lost it in the casino. Your partner’s bad financial habits can ruin your life…a partner with terrible spending habits can ruin a family’s financial security, a partner with a substance abuse or other costly addiction could deplete a family’s assets…[and] a partner who decides to separate from you may end up dragging you and your money through a long legal battle,” said Dr. Boyce Watkins in Financial Lovemaking 101: Merging Assets with Your Partner in Ways That Feel Good.”
4. Unusually low bank account balances
A sudden change, such as frequent withdrawals and very low bank account balances, could indicate trouble. Before you know it, your spouse may start asking to borrow money.
“Left unmanaged and without proper and timely help, money issues will eventually chip away at the foundation of trust and intimacy in our relationships. Without trust, intimacy cannot survive, and without intimacy, love withers and dies. The good news is that if couples recognize and manage their money dynamics early in their relationship — or better yet, before they live together or marry — they can learn how to work through and heal their differences,” said Deborah Price in The Heart of Money: A Couple’s Guide to Creating True Financial Intimacy.