Divorce Wars

Financial Infidelity: Secrets That Destroy Couples

Share

The Lies That Unbind

Most American adults (65 percent) have at some point combined their finances with a spouse or partner, according to a recent study by the National Endowment for Financial Education.Of those couples, one out of every three have lied about or kept secret some of their financial details, the study found. For nearly half of the couples, the deception caused an argument. Thirteen percent ended up separating their finances. But for others, the outcome was far less conciliatory. For 18 percent of the c
Photo: Zave Smith | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

Most American adults (65 percent) have at some point combined their finances with a spouse or partner, according to a recent study by the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Of those couples, one out of every three have lied about or kept secret some of their financial details, the study found. For nearly half of the couples, the deception caused an argument. Thirteen percent ended up separating their finances. But for others, the outcome was far less conciliatory. For 18 percent of the couples, the financial deception ultimately broke them apart.

Here, we take a look at the top financial deceptions among couples who have combined their finances — the financial infidelities that can destroy relationships.

By Constance Parten, Senior Producer
Posted 24 march, 2011

Divorce Wars: CNBC goes inside the confidential world of the multi-million dollar divorce, revealing the secrets of winning and losing.

Bank Accounts

Just 5 percent of people in relationships report having secret bank accounts, but women are 50 percent more likely to do so than men. And women aged 45-54 are more than four times as likely as their male peers to have a secret bank account — 9 percent compared to 2 percent.
Photo: Keith Brofsky | Photodisc | Getty Images

Just 5 percent of people in relationships report having secret bank accounts, but women are 50 percent more likely to do so than men. And women aged 45-54 are more than four times as likely as their male peers to have a secret bank account — 9 percent compared to 2 percent.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Minor Purchases

Whether it's shoes, a new mobile phone or a new video game, 17 percent of people have decided to keep it from their partners. And who's most likely to do so? At 23 percent, women aged 35-44 are most likely to hide small purchases.
Photo: Image Source | Getty Images

Whether it's shoes, a new mobile phone or a new video game, 17 percent of people have decided to keep it from their partners. And who's most likely to do so? At 23 percent, women aged 35-44 are most likely to hide small purchases.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Cash

Eighteen percent of people who admit they've hidden financial details from their partner say they have hidden cash, with 16 percent of men and 20 percent of women saying they've done so. Who hides the most cash? Women aged 18-34, at 25 percent.
Photo: Image Source | Getty Images

Eighteen percent of people who admit they've hidden financial details from their partner say they have hidden cash, with 16 percent of men and 20 percent of women saying they've done so. Who hides the most cash? Women aged 18-34, at 25 percent.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Finances

Eight percent of people lie to their partners about something related to their finances, with women aged 18-34 nearly doubling that figure at 14 percent.
Photo: James Lauritz | Digital Vision | Getty Images

Eight percent of people lie to their partners about something related to their finances, with women aged 18-34 nearly doubling that figure at 14 percent.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Bills

Across the board, people in couples are less likely to hide bills from their partners than they are money and small purchases. Only 9 percent said they've done so. But at 20 percent, women aged 35-44 are almost twice as likely as any other age or gender group to hide bills.
Photo: Nick M Do | Photodisc | Getty Images

Across the board, people in couples are less likely to hide bills from their partners than they are money and small purchases. Only 9 percent said they've done so. But at 20 percent, women aged 35-44 are almost twice as likely as any other age or gender group to hide bills.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Debt

Women are more than twice as likely to lie about their level of debt to a partner than men are. Only 2 percent of men report having done so, while 5 percent of women admit their deceit.
Photo: Comstock Images  | Getty Images

Women are more than twice as likely to lie about their level of debt to a partner than men are. Only 2 percent of men report having done so, while 5 percent of women admit their deceit.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Income

Women and men are pretty even when it comes to lying about their earnings — about 4 percent overall. Except for women aged 18-34. This demographic tops the charts at 12 percent admitting they've lied about their earnings.
Photo: Comstock | Getty Images

Women and men are pretty even when it comes to lying about their earnings — about 4 percent overall. Except for women aged 18-34. This demographic tops the charts at 12 percent admitting they've lied about their earnings.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Major Purchases

Only about 5 percent of people report hiding major purchases from their partners. So who does it the least? At 2 percent, women aged 18-34 are the least likely to hide major purchases. Men aged 45-54 are the most likely at 9 percent.
Photo: Jean-Yves Bruel | Photographer’s Choice | Getty Images

Only about 5 percent of people report hiding major purchases from their partners. So who does it the least? At 2 percent, women aged 18-34 are the least likely to hide major purchases. Men aged 45-54 are the most likely at 9 percent.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education

Divorce Wars

CNBC goes inside the confidential world of the multi-million dollar divorce, revealing the secrets of winning and losing on a battlefield of emotional pain and financial gain.

CNBC goes inside the confidential world of the multi-million dollar divorce, revealing the secrets of winning and losing on a battlefield of emotional pain and financial gain.