CreditCards.com surveyed 843 adults who are in relationships about how they manage money with their partners. The results were quite interesting: six percent of the participants have a secret bank account or credit card their partner does not know about. In comparison to the entire American population, NBC reports 7.2 million American commit this type of financial infidelity.
Although the terminology sounds over the top, Jezebel notes when one partner hides their extra financial assessments it makes them appear shady. The survey also concluded that one in five persons spent $500 or more on purchases their partners did not know about. Although an image of a woman sneaking into her house with bags of shoes or clothes may emerge in your mind, it is actually men who spend twice as much and fail to inform their partners of their purchases.
Paula Levy, a marriage and family therapist who is also a public accountant says that financial infidelity is common in most relationships. The reason this occurs is because both partners want to avoid conflict in their relationship and get the material things they desire. Levy also notes, although the phrase “financial infidelity” is intense, partners do not need to share every detail of their financial spending, which helps them feel independent from their partner.
The survey also noted two-thirds of married couples maintain joint accounts whereas others maintain the separate accounts they had prior to marriage. Whatever the financial setup, Levy does claim if a person lies to their partner about their financial habits, there will be a lack of trust in the relationship. The survey went onto highlight the most interesting financial claims made by couples in the survey:
“Younger people are more likely than older people to say they’ve had hidden accounts or large, secret purchases. A full one-quarter (25 percent) of respondents aged 18-29 say they have made purchases of $500 or more without telling their partners, compared with just 15 percent of those aged 65 and up. Seven percent of those aged 18-49 said they had secret accounts, compared with 4 percent aged 65-plus.
Is big spending acceptable? Many survey participants say they’re tolerant of their partner spending money without telling them. Thirty-one percent of men and 18 percent of women say they would have no problem with their partner spending $500 or more without letting them know.
At the other end of the spectrum, 31 percent of respondents said they think their partners should be able to spend only $100 or less without telling them.”
In order to avoid distrusting your partner’s financial spending habits, lawyer Dane Scalise and his wife created a list to avoid the drama:
1. Consider financial infidelity as serious as any other type, as data show the consequences can be equally grave.
2. Be aware of and honest about your financial health. Address problems early and seek help so they do not escalate.
3. Regularly discuss the household finances. Make financial decisions as a team and agree on an amount that each can spend “no questions asked” (as long as it fits into the monthly spending plan).
4. Create checks and balances by taking joint responsibility or taking turns paying the household bills.
5. Agree that all account access will be shared, even if the account is individual (bank, credit, investment and so on).