Infidelity and deceit can take many forms in a relationship, including some that have nothing to do with romance. An example is financial infidelity, where cheating is reported in nearly half of relationships that combine finances.

According to a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), among those who have combined finances with a partner, 2 in 5 people (43%) admitted to having committed an act of financial cheating in a current or past relationship. Additionally, 85% of those who reported financial cheating said the indiscretion had impacted the relationship in some way.


“When you mix finance into a relationship, you’re agreeing to collaboration and transparency in your money management,” said Billy Hensley, Ph.D., President and CEO of NEFE. “Regardless of the seriousness of the crime, financial deception can be extremely devastating for couples – leading to arguments, loss of trust and, in some cases, separation or even divorce.”

Understand Financial Infidelity

Financial infidelity is an act of deceit by a partner in a relationship where finances are combined. Examples include hiding purchases, money or accounts, or lying about the amount of income earned and debt owed.

More than a third (39%) of American adults who had finances together in a current or past relationship admitted hiding a purchase, bank account, statement, bill, or cash from their partner, and about 1 in 5 (21%) admitted to lying to a partner or spouse about finances, how much debt they owe, or the amount of money they make.

Reasons for financial fraud


A lack of communication and conflicting life or financial values ​​can often be the main causes of financial deception, but US adults have revealed other reasons for defrauding money as well. More than a third (38%) said that despite being in a committed relationship, they believe some aspects of their finances should remain private. Meanwhile, another 33% were ashamed or worried about their finances and didn’t want their partner to know.

Fear of partner disapproval is also a powerful force, regardless of whether there are financial discussions going on in the relationship. For example, 34% of American adults who admitted to financial cheating in a mixed-finance relationship said they feared disapproval from their partner since there had been discussions about finances, while 27% feared disapproval from a partner in a relationship Dreaded relationship in which there were no discussions about finances yet happened.

How Financial Deception Affects Couples

Like other forms of infidelity, financial cheating can devastate a relationship, including arguments, loss of trust, less privacy, separation of combined finances, and even divorce. However, those who attended also provided insight into positive impacts such as: B. growing together and learning to communicate proactively.

Signs of financial infidelity

You can tell your partner is cheating financially when you come across a receipt or piece of paper that indicates a purchase you don’t recognize, or find your partner defensive or withdrawn in conversations about money. A fraudulent affiliate may attempt to intercept postal or email invoices before you see them, or remove itemization of purchases on invoices.

Find out more and find the full financial fraud survey at nefe.org.


How to recover from financial fraud

Whether you’ve caught your partner cheating when it comes to money, or you’re the one who’s in the spotlight after some financial transgressions, there are some steps you can take together to rebuild trust.

1. Be realistic in your expectations. Understand that successfully rebuilding trust takes time, sustained transparency and commitment to shared goals and increased communication.

2. Commit to open communication. While the conversations can be stressful, the key is to focus on understanding why the financial deception happened and what you can do together to move forward.

“When 2 in 5 people admit to having committed financial cheating in a relationship that combines money, it underscores the need for greater communication and a deeper understanding of who your partner is financially,” Hensley said.

3. Create goals and ground rules together. Finding compromises can help you rebuild trust. This may mean maintaining separate personal accounts while maintaining a joint account for household expenses, or creating entirely separate accounts where each of you pays a fair share of household expenses.

You could also set guidelines that you both can abide by, e.g. B. agree that no one makes a large purchase, e.g. B. Items over $100 without discussing it together.

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