Financial Secrets Can Be Toxic to Relationships

Financial Secrets

Committed relationships require a good deal of trust and keeping “financial secrets” from a partner can often inhibit its development. A recent survey from reports that nearly 20% of people are keeping a savings, credit card or checking account hidden from a live-in partner. The survey sample consisted of 1,000 U. S. adults including 636 respondents who are currently married or living with a partner. 

A majority (55%) of survey participants felt that keeping a secret account is as bad as cheating on someone and 20% said it was worse than a physical dalliance. The survey also identified some variances by age grouping and geography. Millennials (aged 18-37) were the worst offenders with 28% answering that they have a hidden account versus an average 15% rate from the other age groups. The South (22%) and West (21%) displayed higher incidence of secret accounts than the Northeast (16%) and the Midwest (12%).

While some may argue that joint accounts are the answer, many happily attached couples find that unnecessary. They assert that trust can be established and maintained when both parties are upfront and open about their finances. A separate survey by personal finance site found that 77% of people believe that credit card debt is an unattractive trait for a mate. Credit card debt of $11,525 on average was enough of a turn-off to scuttle a budding relationship. Payday loans were even more problematic with an outstanding loan balance of only $1,830 being the red flag. In both cases, it’s not surprising that keeping these undesirable financial circumstances a secret can be devastating to the trust building process. Once again, the old axiom about “honesty being the best policy” is proving to be true.