29% of Lovers Commit This Infidelity
Unfaithful cheaters have a new place to hang out besides the No-Tell Motel. It's the local shopping mall. According to a new Harris Poll commissioned by lawyers.com and Redbook magazine, nearly one in three U.S. adults ages 25 to 55 who is in a committed relationship has lied to his or her partner about spending habits. Despite this lack of financial candor among some couples, 24 percent of all those currently in a relationship say honesty about finances is more important than honesty about fidelity, and 72 percent say trust is essential to a successful romance.
Financial deceit is the new breed of infidelity. Women are more likely to be the ones keeping information from their partners (33 percent women vs. 26 percent men), the study shows. One possible explanation is that it may be easier for women to hide those extra purchases or overdue bills because they are more likely to be in charge of the household budget. (The survey found that 41 percent of women are responsible for the household budget vs. 21 percent of men.)
"Because so many couples now maintain separate banking and credit card accounts, the risk of deceit is even greater," attorney Alan Kopit, lawyers.com's legal editor, said in a news release announcing the survey results. "Couples need to establish a financial plan and have open communication about their financial situation. The results of dishonesty can not only result in an emotional disaster, but legal complications as well." According to Kopit, one partner's hidden spending can ultimately lead to credit problems that affect both partners. Without complete financial disclosure, it can be difficult for couples to create effective long-term financial plans.
When cash concerns cause arguments for couples, it's usually over:
--Purchases for themselves: 50 percent
--General household budget: 45 percent
--Credit card debt: 32 percent
--Spending on their children, such as clothing and toys: 26 percent
--Discretionary spending: 20 percent
"Women are earning more than ever, but our poll shows that major family money decisions still tend to fall to men," said Alison Brower, Redbook's executive editor. "So women are contributing in greater amounts, yet they may not have an equal voice. Over time, this can breed resentment and lead to secrets and lies that can sabotage couples emotionally and financially." Kobit adds, "Many couples find talking with an objective professional--like an attorney or accountant--is a great way to start having honest financial discussions, which is the first step to ensuring a couple is on solid financial footing."