BOSTON – Would you keep secrets about money from your partner? A new Bankrate study says about 42% of people are already doing just that.
It’s called “financial infidelity” an expert said there are ways you can overcome this challenge.
Of the adults that participated in the survey:
- 30% said they spend more than their spouse or partner would approve of
- 23% admitted to having secret debt
- 19% said the have a secret savings account
- 17% have a secret checking account
- 18% revealed they have a secret credit card
“First of all, I should mention, we’re talking about people who are married, or living with a romantic partner. So it’s not just, you know, you’ve been on a couple of dates. So why are young adults not doing that? I think some of it is that people tend to get married later,” Ted Rossman, Senior Industry Analyst with Bankrate said. “I think that does lead us to become a little more entrenched in our own ways, more likely to have two-income couples which can have advantages, but not if you’re saying, ‘Well, it’s my money. I can do whatever I want,’ You know? I think if you’re married or living with somebody. Your finances are intertwined to some extent. Some young adults also remember what happened when Mom and Dad got divorced, and they keep this separate freedom fund in case the relationship fails.”
And if you’re wondering which generation is most likely to not share financial information with their spouse, Rossman said it’s Gen Z followed by Millennials.
“I think there’s an interesting contradiction in there,” Rossman said. “Because Gen Zers are more likely to share many aspects of their lives. I mean, on social media they tell us just about everything! Young adults are [also] actually more likely to share their salary information with coworkers and friends – which I think is very interesting.”
This survey doesn’t just dig into the act, but the why behind it as well. For those who admitted to financial infidelity, here are their reasons for not being honest with their partners about money:
- 37% said privacy and/or control over their finances was their motivation
- 33% said the topic never came up and/or they never felt the need to share
- 28% said the were too embarrassed to share it with their partners
- 17% said they wanted to be prepared in the the event the relationship ends poorly
- 14% said they don’t trust their partner with money
- 11% said because they use the money for an addiction (i.e. gambling, alcohol, drugs. etc.)
“I think we need to break some of those walls down. Let’s face it, even if you agree to keep some of your money separate, if you’re living with someone—your finances are intertwined in many ways. I don’t think completely separate works and I don’t think the secrets are helpful,” Rossman said.
Conversations about finance are never easy thing to get started. Rossman suggests starting with an informal chat.
- Have a “money date” – a check-in every month or so.
- Set a timer, so these meetings don’t become long and overwhelming.
- Discuss two main things: What’s due and what you want to achieve.
“It’s better to come clean early. Most people are actually very forgiving when they find out about it. But I think the longer it goes on, the bigger an issue it is,” Rossman said.