A recent poll has found that four out of ten Americans have committed "financial infidelity".
In a survey conducted for the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), 42% of the respondents admitted to having committed an unsavory financial act: 39% had hid a purchase, bank account, statement, bill, or cash from their partner or spouse while 16% committed more severe deceptions such as lying about the amount of debt they have or how much they earn.
Embarrassed or fearful
Of those who have been financially unfaithful, 32% say they believe some aspects of their finances should remain private, even from their loved ones, while 30% said they had discussed finances with their partners and they knew they would disapprove. Another 25% were embarrassed or fearful about their finances and didn’t want their significant other to find out.
NEFE says there are warning signs that may point to financial infidelity; this may be something as small as receipt for purchase that you don’t recognize, or not seeing copies of every bill each month. Another sign is if someone becomes defensive or withdrawn when money comes up in conversation.
Confronting a partner
If it is necessary to confront a partner who is cheating financially, NEFE says the best way to approach the situation is to establish what you want out of the conversation before it takes place to approach him or her with a clear plan. The organisation also recommends against sabotaging partners by inviting them to a dinner or movie night and then hitting them with the topic by surprise.
"After you or your partner has come clean about committing financial infidelity, you must accept that it will take time to rebuild the trust you once had," says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. “It will take sustained transparency in all communication, and it takes a commitment from both to stick to the goals that you’ve set together.”