Are you guilty of cheating when it comes to your finances? A recent CreditCards.com survey found that more than 7 million Americans have hidden a bank or credit card account from their spouse or partner. This breaks down to approximately 4.4 million men and 2.8 million women.
BlackEnterprise.com took some time to chat with Matt Shulz, senior industry analyst with CreditCards.com to gain some insight into how financial infidelity takes place.
BlackEnterprise.com: What is financial infidelity?
Matt Shulz: Financial infidelity is all about keeping secrets. It’s having a banking account or credit card that your spouse or partner doesn’t know about. It’s making a big purchase and keeping it hidden. It can take other forms, too, but those are the two that we focused on in our survey. It’s also about intent. Keeping the cost of a birthday gift or an engagement ring secret because you want to surprise your loved one isn’t financial infidelity. Keeping a credit card with a $5,000 balance on it secret because you don’t want them to know it exists probably is.
BlackEnterprise.com: What are some of the signs?
Shulz: A paper statement in the mail about an account that you didn’t know about would be a sign of a potential problem. However, those aren’t as common today. You don’t have to get a paper statement anymore. It can all be handled online, and if you don’t have access to your partner’s password, you can’t see what’s happening. Also, if your partner’s financial situation seems to have taken a turn for the worse for no apparent reason — a sudden drop in credit score or an unusually low [checking account] balance, for example — there could be some financial infidelity to blame. Of course, there could easily be another answer as well, so people should definitely be careful about jumping to conclusions.
BlackEnterprise.com: Why are so many Americans committing financial infidelity?
Shulz: We didn’t ask why in our survey. Honestly, there could be as many different reasons as there are relationships. The important thing to remember, however, is that it is absolutely crucial to be as open as possible in a relationship when it comes to money. Most of us are living paycheck to paycheck or on a budget, and it’s almost impossible to have an effective budget if you don’t know exactly how much is coming in and how much is going out.