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Half of Couples are Hiding Financial Information

Life Stage Insights

Life Stage Insights

Half of Couples are Hiding Financial Information

Spouses and partners often keep financial secrets, but talking openly about money has many benefits.

Over half (53%) say they hide financial information from their spouses and partners, according to a recent study.(1) The most common ways couples conceal money issues include:

  • 24% of respondents report hiding purchases or receipts

  • 23% of respondents report lying about the price of something

  • 22% of respondents report spending money on children behind a spouse’s back

  • 19% of respondents report saying a purchase was on sale after paying full price

  • 11% of respondents report secretly withdrawing money from savings

  • 11% of respondents report secretly getting a new credit card

  • 7% of respondents report covering up debt

  • 4% of respondents report hiding a raise or bonus


Nearly nine in ten couples say open communication about money is essential to a healthy, happy relationship, and studies have found that couples who talk frequently about money matters are happier than couples who don’t.(2) Talking more openly about money can help build trust, help uncover potential financial challenges before they become serious problems, and ensure the financial needs and worries of both spouses are addressed during long-term financial planning.


But talking about money can be challenging. Studies have shown that financial concerns are among the most common sources of disagreement for couples. Almost a third of adults with partners (31 percent) reported that money is a major source of conflict in their relationship.(3)


Barriers to healthy conversations often begin with differing beliefs and emotions around money. We develop attitudes about money long before we comingle our finances with a romantic partner. In fact, research shows we often inherit money values from our parents.(3) We may not even be fully conscious of our beliefs about spending and saving.


Starting conversations around money emotions can lead t more productive talks. Having an open and honest conversation about your financial feelings, hopes, and fears help you overcome emotions that sometimes complicate financial decisions, and empower you to be a happier and more successful couple as you work toward your financial goals together.


Then, scheduling regular money dates with your spouse can be a stress-free way to get on the same page and talk about your goals, hopes, and worries. Money dates can be a good time to review goals and long-term priorities. Then, check in on your finances and look for unexpected expenses and assess your financial progress. Financial discussions don’t need to be lengthy, but they can be great for clearing the air, aligning your goals, and identifying areas for improvement.

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references

1. Journal of Financial Therapy, Financial Infidelity in Couple Relationships, 2018

2. Washington Post, "Couples are happier when they talk about money." September 19, 2016

3. 2014 APA Stress in America survey

Disclosures

This publication is designed to provide general information and is for discussion purposes only. The effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon each individual’s facts and circumstances. This article does not provide legal, tax or account advice. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error, the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information is not guaranteed.

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