How would you feel if your spouse was hiding money from you? Would you be more upset if he or she had a secret checking or savings account than a secret lover? If so, you're not the only one.
A new poll conducted by CreditCards.com found that 31 percent of the 1,372 U.S. adults — who are currently in a romantic relationship — surveyed said keeping a credit card, checking, or savings account hidden from a spouse is worse than physical cheating. Financial experts, however, aren't surprised and agree that a secret account — depending on its use — could be a violation of their partner's trust that's just as bad as infidelity.
“You don’t know what the other person is spending money on,” Sonya Britt-Lutter, associate professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University, told CreditCards.com. “Are they spending it on another person, or are they spending it on something else that pleases them in a way that you’re not pleasing them as a partner or spouse? (ADD SPACE)I think it’s the same type of ‘What am I doing that’s not good enough for you?’ feeling, whether it’s financial or physical cheating.”
The survey, which was conducted online on January 10 and 11, also found that 85 percent of those surveyed claim they're being are honest with their financial decisions, while 77 percent said they felt their spouse was lying to them.
Let's Talk Money
To avoid an intense argument or hurt feelings later, just sit down and have "the talk" about finances early in your relationship. It may be uncomfortable, but talking about money from the get-go — and continuing the conversation over time — is better than going at each other's throats years down the road.
This is especially important if you're planning to get married: Britt-Lutter recommends premarital financial counseling sessions for couples and thinks sharing credit reports and bank account information with one another is a great way to break the ice before tying the knot. If you're not planning on getting married anytime soon, Britt-Lutter says you should definitely have the talk before you decide to move in together.