Financial Infidelity, The Truth About Dishonesty And Money

Posted February 16, 2018

For some couples, talking about money is hard. The subject is considered uncouth and avoided. However, not talking about money can lead to a relationship breakdown. Lack of compatibility in managing finances is the second most common reason for divorce.

Secret stash statistics

A recent poll surveying adults in relationships made startling discoveries about financial infidelity. A surprising 31 percent said they thought a spouse hiding assets in the form of hidden bank accounts or credit cards was actually worse than physical infidelity. The secret account was considered a violation of trust since one partner did not know what the money was being used for.

The demographics for hiding finances were unexpected. Over 15 million adults admitted to hiding assets from their partner. On top of that, another 9 million confessed to having a secret account but eventually they came clean to their partner. Millennials were most likely to have hidden funds, with over 31 percent admitting to having secret accounts. 24 percent of Generation Xers has hidden accounts, but only 17 percent of Baby Boomers had hidden money.

Discovering hidden assets

One of the characteristics of any strong relationship is honesty and openness, including on a financial level. For couples considering divorce, hidden assets can be particularly troubling. Both partners are supposed to be honest and forthcoming about their assets in a Sworn Financial Statement, but some fear losing money during the divorce and attempt to hide funds for afterwards.

If you suspect financial infidelity you can look for signs. Watch out for any assets transferred to someone else for temporary safekeeping. The assets are easily retrieved after a divorce is finalized. Keep an eye out for any recently purchased items that could be undervalued, such as baseball cards, antiques or original works of art. These items can quickly be resold for cash after the divorce.

While there is not a set line between having a small savings fund stashed for an emergency and financial infidelity, purposefully hiding assets to undervalue net worth is unethical and dishonest. If you are the partner that does not typically handle household finances, it might be time to step in and get a more accurate understanding of your financial situation.