Consumer Alert: Financial infidelity

Consumer Alert: Financial Infidelity

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – What exactly is defined as being financially unfaithful? It’s a pretty long list. Spending more than your partner would be comfortable with, holding secret debt, having a secret savings account, checking account, or credit card.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it may be a good time to look at cleaning those skeletons out of our financial closets.

Bankrate commissioned a company to survey more than 2,200 adults. And they found the younger the couple is, the more likely one of them is financially cheating. About two-thirds of Gen-Zers, folks 18 to 27, admit to financial infidelity.

Fifty-seven percent of millennials, folks 28 to 43 are financially unfaithful. Compare that to about a third of Gen-Xers and baby boomers. But that’s still a high number.

And the primary reason folks gave for financially cheating was they wanted more privacy or control when it comes to their money. Some folks said they were embarrassed about the way they handle their finances. And still others said they needed to stash away secret cash just in case the relationship went sour.

Sadly about 11% said they didn’t trust their partner with money because of an addiction. But Bankrate experts say most of the time financial infidelity comes down to a lack of communication. They have an approach to handling finances that works well for many couples.

“I would offer the yours, mine and ours approach as a solution to this. So that involves mixing a lot of your money because you have a lot of joint expenses, but also carving out some money that each of you can have to call your own. Maybe you could use that for certain retail expenses, or hobbies, or nights out with friends. Sometimes there’s resentment in couples. How much did you spend? This I think, alleviates some of that.”

That’s important because more than one in four adults in that survey say they believe that financial infidelity is just as bad as physical infidelity. And seven percent say they think it’s worse. And here’s the thing, Bankrate experts say most folks are forgiving of financial mistakes but they’re less so if you’ve been keeping it secret for years.

Perhaps Valentine’s Day is a good time to give the one you love, the gift of honesty. And that’s your Consumer Alert.