Top Reasons Spouses Lie About Money

Planning & Saving
on February 4, 2013

According to a recent survey, 31% of Americans have lied to their spouse about money.  Another 30% of Americans reported that they have been lied to by their spouses regarding a financial issue. Saving money as a family can be challenging when one spouse actively undermines efforts by committing financial infidelity. Whether someone keeps a secret account, fudges on bill payments, or hides cash, American marriages are infected with financial infidelity.

This poll was a group effort by ForbesWoman and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). The survey was taken from December 17 to 21 of last year, and 2,019 American adults were surveyed.

According to the survey results, 58% of people who said they tell money lies hide cash from their spouse. A common example of hiding cash from a spouse would be to keep pocket a Christmas bonus rather than sharing it with the family.

The next biggest incidence of financial infidelity is hiding minor purchases. Of those who commit financial fraud, 54% hide small purchases from their spouse. For many, this behavior was modeled to them as children. Their mother may have kept “little secrets” from Daddy when making purchases for the children.

One-third of financial infidels hid bills. These bills can range from a small credit card bill to huge gambling debts. According to the results, financial infidelity occurs across all income levels.

Next on the list is a major purchases. Whether spending money on a mistress or a new car, 16% of the lies told about money are related to major purchases.

Of those surveyed, 15% hid a bank account. Some told stories of stashing away secret income streams like child support. Others hide trust funds. Setting money priorities as a family can be challenging when one spouse keeps a secret sense of security stashed away.

The last two reasons people lie about money to their spouses both came in at 11%. First, people lie about debt. Second, they lie about earnings. Women were more likely to lie about their debt both before and after matrimony. Men tended to lie about earnings.

The results of the survey show that both men and women lie equally about money. Women tend to catch their partners more often than men.

Saving money can be challenging in any marriage. Open communication about money can help spouses create trust and intimacy.

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