Cheaters Never Win

A study finds financial infidelity is fairly common

Talking with your partner about money isn’t the easiest subject. While it might take some gumption and time to have difficult financial discussions, it’s always better late than never. Especially if you avoid talking money and you’re one of the surprising large number of people keeping secret accounts. That’s a double-whammy that will doom almost any relationship. Yet a new study found financial infidelity is actually fairly common.

According to a report from, while a majority (55 percent) of married adults said financial infidelity is as bad as cheating on a partner, 20 percent admitted to having a secret savings/checking account or credit card. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report found that young people were the worst offenders. Twenty-eight percent of millennials— defined as 18-37-year-olds — said they are currently hiding a financial account from their spouse or live-in partner. Young married people are also twice as likely to commit financial infidelity as older married adults (28 percent versus 15 percent).

Hiding financial accounts and information from a partner isn’t that shocking when you consider many people find money mismanagement a deal-breaker. As Marketwatch reports, one study from found that 77 percent of adult Americans consider credit-card debt “an unattractive trait.” The same report found that if a potential partner has roughly $11,000 in debt, that’s a “red flag” and reason enough to leave the relationship.

The key to navigating poor money situations in a relationship is similar to the way you solve any problem: You have to talk about it. Despite what you might think, honesty is always the best policy. Don’t let a small issue balloon into a bigger one that’s hard to retreat from. Talk through things first. It’s the best way to keep your relationship strong.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea