Have you ever cheated or lied to your spouse or significant other regarding a financial matter? Amazingly, 1/3rd of adults who combine their finances with a partner admit to committing financial infidelity, according to the June edition of Kiplinger’s Magazine.  The article highlights a recent survey that found that of those who reported a financial deception, 3 in ten had hid cash, a purchase, a bill, or even a bank account from their significant other, while 13% reported more significant lies such as how much they earned or how much they owed.  

I have to say that I’ve occasionally tried to pass off a new outfit as if it had been in my closet for a while but never to the point where a financial deception would cause an argument between me and my husband.  Luckily, we don’t fight about money since arguments about money and finances is the top source of marital tension based on Money Magazine‘s 2014 Americans and Their Money Survey.  Fights about money that occur at least once a month were reported by 41%, followed by chores and quality time together, and this financial stress isn’t good on the state of their relationships.  Utah State University professor Jeffrey Dew, an expert in money and family relationships, has found that couples who disagree about finances almost every day are 69% MORE likely to divorce than couples who rarely or never argue about money.

So how can you spot the signs that your partner in love and money is cheating on you financially?  It usually gets detected with finding a stray receipt or credit card statement you aren’t familiar with, or even worse, calls from creditors.  Another red flag is if your loved one gets defensive or withdrawn when you try to bring up money issues or if they handle all the bills and you never get to see how the money is being spent (or earned).   In some cases, financial deception could be a sign of a serious issue, such as gambling or a compulsive shopping addiction.

To avoid being cheated or to fess up to your own financial infidelity, the first step is to sit down and have the “money talk” at least once a month.  Clear the air and share all of your debts, account balances, and review your latest pay stubs.  Talk about what is causing you to stray from your financial goals as a couple and set a spending limit like $100 for individual purchases that don’t require approval from your partner. Paying the bills should be a joint venture so both of you know how much is owed and to which creditors.  This way, the only thing left to argue about will be what’s for dinner tonight -which, believe it or not, 28% of couples argue about every month!