Thirty-six per cent of Canadians are victims of “financial infidelity”, says a survey commissioned by the Financial Planning Standards Council and Credit Canada.
The Financial Infidelity Survey conducted by Leger and released Feb. 7, found 34 per cent of those in a relationship keep financial secrets from their romantic partners. Thirty-six per cent have lied to their partner about a financial matter and women and men are about as likely to become victims of financial infidelity (37 and 35 per cent, respectively).
“Talking about money can be difficult for an individual, but when in a relationship, whatever issues each of them has is exacerbated,” said FPSC’s consumer advocate, Kelley Keehn. “For example, 50 per cent of Canadians are $200 away from not being able to pay their bills and we owe $1.71 for each dollar we bring in. That means we owe a lot more than we’d like to think about and that can lead to a great deal of stress and strain on a relationship.”
Miscommunication and worse
“Often individuals going into a relationship do not discuss money matters,” said Laurie Campbell, CEO, Credit Canada. “It doesn’t seem romantic. As such, there may be a lot you don’t know about your partner. You may not know how they handle money, their values around money, or their thoughts on credit and debt. This leaves room for miscommunication and at worst, dishonesty and possibly financial abuse of their partner.”
Campbell says red flags of financial infidelity include: regular cash withdrawals; unaccounted purchases and expenditures that cannot be explained; partner lies about purchases and expenditures, and a change in behaviour – either in spending habits or attitudes towards you and money, to deflect attention away from themselves.
Red flags in the mail
Other signs include a change in mail, such as regular statements or promotions from credit cards you don't normally use, or investment firms you have never dealt with and less frequent mail from your regular financial services and creditors. Your partner may also be very concerned about the mail and doesn't let you see it first, says Campbell.
To learn more, consult the study on the FPSC’s website.