April 21, 2024
Money

Is your partner keeping money secrets? – NBC Boston


Money can be a stressful topic in any relationship. 

But not all couples have open communication when it comes to their finances – some are hiding things.

According to Bankrate’s recently released annual survey on financial infidelity, it turns out a lot of people are keeping secrets from their partners.

Financial infidelity is basically keeping money secrets from your spouse or partner,” says Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate. “We found that 42% of Americans who are married or otherwise living with a romantic partner are doing this. The most common example is secret spending, as in, spending more than your partner would be okay with. Beyond that, it’s things like secret debt, secret bank accounts, and secret credit cards.”

Bankrate’s survey found that 37% of people are keeping money secrets because they desire financial privacy or control of their finances. 

Another 33% say they never felt the need to share or the topic never came up.

And 28% admitted they were embarrassed about their money management habits.

Young adults are driving the trend.

“Two-thirds of Gen Zers who are married or otherwise living with a partner have kept or are keeping a financial secret,” says Rossman.   “More than half of millennials are doing so. I think young adults are driving this for a few reasons. One is that many have divorced parents, and they remember what happened when mom and dad split up. And maybe they’re going to keep their own stash of money on the side in case the relationship doesn’t work out.”

Rossman says people are also getting married later and are used to having their own income.  And it can be hard to merge that with someone else.

Financial expert Misty Lynch is the host of “Heartbroke,”  a reality series where she counsels couples with money problems.

“Financial infidelity is a huge deal,” says Lynch, owner of Sound View Financial Advisors.  “A lot of times it can be things that we’re ashamed of, like credit card debt, student loan debt, you know, a gambling problem, overspending.  I see that a lot where people are very ashamed of it and they feel like if they told their partner their partner would not love them anymore, they would think poorly of them. They might leave them. They think of the worst-case scenarios, but other times people might have more money saved. They might be making more money than they’ve maybe let on.”

Your partner will likely find out about what you’re hiding eventually.  Being open and honest can lead to a better outcome.

“If you decide that you want to work as a team together, sometimes you can make progress a lot faster, even if that means coming clean about some financial history that you might have, or some problems that you need to either address or try to resolve,” says Lynch.  “Usually, people want to help the people they love, they want to work with them… financial problems,  a lot of couples face them and get through them. It’s really the lying that hurts.”

And if you’re uncomfortable having the conversation, get some help.

“Even if it involves a third party, somebody like a financial advisor or, even a relationship therapist, if you have trouble talking about these things, sometimes having somebody else who can kind of help guide a conversation can be really beneficial and worth it to, to make sure that your relationship stays strong,” says Lynch.

If you’re in a relationship that’s getting serious,  Lynch recommends asking questions to try to get an understanding about how your partner thinks and feels about money just in case things move in a more serious direction.  And she recommends continuing to talk about finances early and often with your partner.



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