Financial Infidelity in America

Financial Infidelity in America

This post originally appeared on Finder. com .  

10 tips and tricks to help spot, and avoid, financial infidelity in your relationship.

Financial cheating happens when one spouse or partner lies to another about money. It can take on many forms. One partner may spend or borrow money without the other one knowing, hide money in a separate bank account, or withhold it as a form of control.

The stings of financial numerous can be just as mentally and emotionally damaging as physical infidelity. It can take years to recover from it if you’re married as you’re legally on the hook for any debts your spouse collects.

Here’s how to spot financial infidelity–along with tips on how to avoid it. If you’d like to see the numbers behind financial infidelity in America, take a look at our stats .

How to Spot Monetary Infidelity

Technology has made it harder to spot financial infidelity. What was once phone calls and paper statements from financial institutions have now turned into emails and electronic notifications. Still, there are five signs you may be a victim of financial unfaithfulness:

1 . You notice unexplained withdrawals or expenses on your bank statements

Take a look at all your bank and credit card statements . Are there any charges or withdrawals you don’t recognize? These could be signs of overspending, addiction or even physical infidelity. “Some people take extra cash from the grocery store every time they buy groceries. Depending on your bank this may not show up on your bank statement as a cash withdrawal just as an increase in your grocery bills, ” noted Bev Banfield , CPA plus Certified Divorce Financial Analyst at Banfield Divorce Economic Advisors.

Ask your partner about these charges and pay attention to how they react. If they’re defensive, or even angry, take it as a red flag.

2 . Your partner has a lot of new stuff

Maybe your partner suddenly has a brand new wardrobe. Or you find cut off tags buried deep in the trash can. They’re flaunting new experiences or even expensive dinners and you’re not sure how they’re paying for it all.

Unless these expenses are part of your budget, it could mean that they’re racking up credit card debt you don’t know about.

3. Your partner always rushes to get the mail first

Most banks and credit card companies give you the option of having your monthly statements emailed to you. Still, they may send you a paper notice about account changes or unauthorized charges .

If your spouse insists on always checking the mail first–and even thumbs through the stack before handing it over to you–these could be tell-tale signs of financial infidelity.

4. You see statements for cards or accounts you don’t recognize

Covering up spending is one of the main forms of financial infidelity. It may start out small. A little shopping here, a little shopping there. But before you know it they’ve racked up thousands of dollars in debt . To avoid any fights, the “cheating” partner may use a secret credit card or bank account for these expenses.

5. Your partner is suffering from addiction

Some hobbies can be financially addictive–gambling, alcohol, playing the lottery. Addiction can carry feelings of shame, so your partner may be too embarrassed to confide in you about their spending. Still, be vigilant if you suspect they’re suffering from addiction.

And if you know they’ve overcome an addiction, make sure they’re not replacing it with another. Someone who overcomes an addiction to alcohol , may replace it with a gambling or a shopping addiction , for example.

Five Tips to Avoid Financial Infidelity

Whether you’ve been a victim of financial infidelity in the past or just want to avoid it, here are five tips to keep you living in holy matrimony:

1 . Don’t “divide and conquer”

It’s easy to divide in addition to conquer in a relationship and let one spouse take on certain household chores. But your finances shouldn’t be one of them. You and your spouse should handle your finances together. This is non-negotiable. Not only will this help prevent financial adultery, but it’ll ensure both partners have a tight enough grip on finances to take over if there’s an emergency.

2 . Have monetary date nights

Schedule a financial date night at least twice a month where you and your companion sit down together, review expenses and discuss any economic goals you’re working toward.

Let this date night also be a safe space to talk about any “wants” you both have. For instance, one spouse may want to buy a new wardrobe for their new job. Another may want to start up a new hobby.

3. Gain access to financial statements

Christina Previte , Esq., CEO and Co-Owner of NJ Divorce Solutions noted a case where the wife had a portion of her paycheck being directly deposited into an undisclosed account. “The spouse wouldn’t have noticed since he saw salary deposits into the joint checking account, he assumed it was her entire paycheck. However , when we carefully reviewed her paystubs, it was apparent she was diverting funds, ” said Previte.

Even if you have separate bank accounts, set the expectation that both you and your spouse can access financial statements at any time. This will hold you both accountable and give you something to review during your financial date nights.

4. Set goals together

Once you’ve gotten financially “naked” with your partner, start planning out your future together. What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years? Do you plan to have kids or perhaps buy a house? Dreaming about your future together will help keep you both in check financially.

You may not agree on every single financial goal, but talking through them will give you the opportunity to see things through each other’s perspective and even nail down which goals you want to focus on.

5. Get professional help

If you can’t talk about money without fighting, seek help from a counselor or maybe trusted financial adviser. This person can act as a neutral third party and help you untangle the financial mess you’ve been handed.

If your family already has a financial adviser, but you don’t meet with them, start sitting in on those meetings. Make it clear that from now on, you’ll both have equal reigns over your finances.

Financial Infidelity Statistics in America

Interested in how many American adults have committed or been a victim of financial infidelity? We also conducted a survey. The survey reveals how many Americans claim to be each victims and perpetrators of economic infidelity. Additionally , we looked at the reasons why some people lie to their significant others about their funds.

One in five American adults commit financial infidelity

While trust is a large part of any relationship over one in five (21. 7%) American adults admit to stepping out on their significant other in regards to finances. This equates to roughly 55. 3 million adults who’ve lied to their romantic partner about their financial situation.

While only about a fifth of adults admit to lying to their spouse about budget, closer to a quarter of grownups (60. 5 million) say that they’ve had their romantic partner try to pull a fast one on them in regards to finances.

Karma did its thing with about one-tenth of the population, with 10. 2% (26. 0 million Americans) saying they were both guilty of lying about their finances together with being lied to about their finances by their partner.

Men more likely to lie for their partners about finances

Men are significantly more likely to lie to their partners about financial situation, with roughly 26. 2% (31 million) of men admitting to having misled their significant other about money, compared to just 17. 7% (24. 2 million) of women.

The inverse is true of those who’ve been lied to (of course), with 25. 4% (34. 6 million) of women saying that a partner has lied to them about their finances, compared to only 21. 8% (35. 8 million) of males.

Gen X the most duplicitous with their finances

Whether you’ve lied to your partner may have something to do with when you’re born, with the most monetarily deceitful generation being gen X, with almost a third (32. 5%) admitting in order to lying to their partner about money. Millennials are not too far behind gen Xers, along with 30. 5% lying with their partner, followed by gen Z (18. 1%).

While millennials are the second-most likely to lay to their partner, they were the particular generation most likely to be lied to be able to about finances, with 31. 1% saying a partner had been dishonest.

Financial infidelity by gender – data

Financial cheating by generation – information

Control is the top reason for people lying about finances

Rather than some nefarious reason being the reason for not telling their spouse the truth about their finances, wanting “to be in control of my own finances” was by far the number one reason people commit economical infidelity at 61. 8%.

Sitting in second spot is a more visceral reason for being underhanded with your finances: shame, with 33. 3% saying they lied to their lover because of embarrassment. Rounding out the top three reasons is probably not a great sign of the state of the relationship overall, together with 16. 4% saying they don’t trust their partner.

Men and women lie about money for different reasons

Whilst both men and women both lied on their partner to be in control of their own finances, men were far more likely to do so with almost two-thirds (69. 9%) committing this act of financial numerous, compared to 51. 5% of girls.

As far as the next most common acts of financial infidelity go, women flipped the script using 37. 4% of women hiding their finances out of embarrassment and 23. 3% citing that they don’t trust their particular partner, compared to 30. 1% and 11% for men respectively.

Financial Lies across the Generations

Not only is gen X home to the highest percentage of financial unfaithfulness overall, they’re also typically the generation most likely to rest to their spouse in order to control their own finances.

While style Z only came in third place for overall fiscal infidelity, these post-millennials were the most likely to have lied to their spouse or partner in three categories: embarrassment (50%), not trusting their partner (34. 4%) and for revenge (15. 6%). Surprisingly, the generation most likely to have lied about their funds to their partner to cover up an affair was the silent generation (11%).

Reasons why people commit financial adultery

Reasons why people commit financial infidelity-by gender

Reasons why people commit financial infidelity-by era


Finder’s data is based on an online survey of 1, 718 US adults born between 1928 and 2003 commissioned by Finder and conducted simply by Pureprofile in January 2021. Participants were paid volunteers.

We assume the participants in our survey represent the US population of 254. 7 million Americans who are at least 18 years old according to the July 2019 US Census Bureau estimate. This assumption is made at the 95% confidence level having a 2 . 36% margin of error.

The particular survey asked respondents whether they had ever lied to a romantic partner about their money, whether a romantic partner had ever lied to them of their finances, and if they admitted to lying, why they had lied about their finances. Respondents were able to select multiple reasons for lying about their finances.

To avoid skewing the data, we also excluded extreme outliers from our calculations.

We define generations by birth year according to the Pew Research Center’s generational guidelines:

  • Gen Z — 1997–2003
  • Millennials — 1981–1996
  • Gen X — 1965–1980
  • Baby boomers — 1946–1964
  • Silent generation — 1928–1945

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