According to a recent survey by CreditCards.com, more and more people are hiding bank accounts, credit cards, and / or debts from their partners – a phenomenon known as financial infidelity.
“About 40% of people in serious relationships keep money a secret from their partner,” said Ted Rossman of CreditCards.com.
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Rossman said the secrets can range from having a secret bank account to hiding credit card debt. He believes one reason is the way relationships have changed from generation to generation.
“Millennials tend to get married later,” Rossman said. “They’ve had more time to anchor themselves in their own money habits. It’s getting harder to relate that to someone else.”
In the survey, 51% of millennials said they keep financial secrets from their partner. At 41%, this is higher than for Gen Xers and even lower at 33% for Baby Boomers.
Rossman believes another reason could be that millennials are more likely to grow up as children of divorce.
“You remember when mom and dad broke up,” Rossman said. “So, if you will, they keep a ‘freedom fund’ in their own relationship just in case it doesn’t work out.”
The survey also found that nearly 30% of respondents said hiding debts or lying about finances was worse than physical cheating, which 40% of respondents said was worse.
“The solution here is communicating about our money early and frequently,” said Rossman. “I think most people eventually forgive, but you don’t want to let this secret fester for too long. I think the longer it takes, the bigger the problem.”
Rossman said more and more couples are using three bank accounts: “yours, mine and ours.” He said it was also important to talk about finances in a serious relationship. Even sharing credit scores is good.
“Before you make any of these agreements, all you have to do is agree on the parameters,” Rossman said. “I know money isn’t easy to talk about, but I really think the secret is worse than the act itself.”