What’s worse than an affair? Some say hiding money

WASHINGTON — A Creditcards.com survey said 15 million Americans in a live-in romantic relationship currently have a credit card or bank account that their partner or spouse doesn’t know about.

Another 9 million say they don’t have one currently, but they have in the past.

And a lot of spouses and partners suspect that their significant other might be hiding some financial accounts from them.

“Only about 52 percent of people strongly believe that their partner or spouse is honest with them about money. That’s an awful lot of people who aren’t necessarily convinced that their partner is being fully open with them about money,” said Creditcards.com’s Matt Shultz.

It is called financial infidelity, and for many in a relationship, finding out about it is worse than finding out about an affair.

“We found that about 1 in 3 folks in a relationship do think that keeping a credit card, checking account or savings account secret from a partner is worse than physical cheating,” Shultz said.

Couples should — and most do — talk about money regularly. Creditcards.com said 63 percent of those surveyed discuss finances at least a few times a month.

But 11 percent of couples in the survey said they never discuss their combined finances.

Secret finances also vary by age, skewing toward younger generations. A third of millennials said they have, or are doing it. Only 8 percent of those 73 and older say so.

Creditcards.com commissioned YouGov for the survey, between Jan. 10 and 11, and surveyed 2,243 adults.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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