top of page

Financial Infidelity is a Home-Wrecker (Signs to look for and solutions if happens to you)

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Scanning this article on financial infidelity could be the best two minutes you ever invest. Because it can protect both your relationships and savings.

burning money

Financial infidelity occurs when couples with combined finances lie to each other about their money (in any way). 6 examples:


1.    Hiding income

2.    Making secret purchases

3.    Setting up separate hidden accounts

4.    Secretly paying child support from a prior relationship

5.    Hiding mail, email statements, or receipts

6.    Not revealing a bonus or inheritance


These actions are not conducive to a healthy relationship. Also, they get uncovered eventually.

Financial Infidelity Statistics

Stealth financial behaviors with couples happen more than you think.


●     Recent study found 27% of participants had kept a financial secret from their partner

●     75+% of the couples who reported financial infidelity stated it harmed their relationships

●     10% stated the financial transgressions led to divorce

●     Men and women were found equally likely to hide financial matters from a partner


Some therapists suspect financial infidelity is harder to overcome than romantic infidelity.

What are Some Causes of Financial Infidelity?

Likely, the #1 cause is couples not being on the same page financially when they commit to the relationship. A long talk and agreement before committing to each other can save much heartbreak later on (and financial hardships too).


Other causes.


  1. Unexpected loss of income

  2. Unexpected bills

  3. Embarrassment over prior debt before the marriage

  4. Pressure if one partner has to keep track of all finances

  5. No budget

  6. Expensive personal hobby

  7. Revenge for the other partner’s romantic infidelity

  8. Covering up expenses related to an affair

  9. Covertly setting money aside to exit an unhappy relationship

  10. Compulsive behaviors such as gambling / shopping

Couple in argument

Mental health issues can lead to financial infidelity as well. Addiction is just one example. But depression has been shown to lead to overspending. Which can cause shame, then lead to cover-ups.

12 Signs of Financial Infidelity

Love can blind. So spotting financial infidelity is often a challenge.


Here are signs to look for (and never ignore):


  1. Partner avoids you

  2. Angry outbursts whenever money is discussed

  3. No money left over after bills are paid

  4. Partner sets up a PO box for themself

  5. Partner makes excuses for not having bank statements, bills, or passwords available for you to see

  6. Lots of new clothes or jewelry

  7. Expensive hobby equipment shows up

  8. Discovering you no longer have access to online accounts

  9. Meetings with financial advisors and you’re not invited

  10. No budget (means no way to track expectations)

  11. Checks made out to ‘cash’

  12. Cash income that doesn’t get saved or produce anything tangible (ie. side-hustle income)


See. Luckily, there are many signs to alert you to financial infidelity in spite of blinders inherent to love.


Ignoring signs will just lead to more money secrets and worse things.

The Worst that Could Happen

Divorce is one outcome of financial infidelity.


Another? Bankruptcy.


Foreclosure too, I’m afraid.


How many terrible scenarios like those have shocked one partner who was blindsided?


Thing is, the creditors don’t just punish the partner who covered up money issues. Both partners are on the mortgage and the lender expects payment, of course.


And banks report both parties to credit agencies when the car payment is late.

Couples are in it together. All of ‘it.’ Finances are no exception.

Again, being on the same page with a partner before moving in with them or getting married, is incredibly vital. It is much easier to stay out of financial trouble than to get out of it.


Pre-relationship conversations are the key. Not on date number two. But before committing. Setting up a budget in the early stages of cohabitation is a must also. Without a budget, there’s no way to track who spends what, and financial infidelity could go on for years without notice. Until irreparable damage is done.


What you can do…

Actions to Take to Prevent Financial Infidelity from Wrecking Your Home

Steps to avoid money issues stemming from secrecy with your partner:


  1. Take an active role in all financial dealings

  2. Don’t ignore troubling signs

  3. Never avoid discussing finances (calmly, patiently)

  4. Get educated on all areas of finance

  5. Plan, budget, and analyze together as a couple

  6. See a financial counselor and or advisor together early and often in the relationship

  7. Share one main joint bank account


Number 7 is seen as the ultimate act of trust in a romantic partnership. It’s not written in stone. Yet, financial infidelity often stems from having nothing written down at all! Not even on a napkin.


A willy-nilly approach is a debacle waiting to happen. If you are willing to move in with someone and commit, then combined finances come with the territory.


Financial Infidelity Wrap-Up

Hopefully, you never face this hurtful situation.


But if you do, just know it can be worked out. If both parties are willing to work on the issue and be fully transparent going forward.


And you know, often there’s no malice in play with financial infidelity. The bills just add up and expenses exceed income. Then credit cards are used to make up $42 here, $23 there. Then five years later, one partner is surprised to see how those 2-digit purchases piled up into a 4- or 5-digit credit card balance. 


Then he or she has to break the news to their partner. Or choose to hide it — which makes a bad situation painfully worse.


Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor.













232 views0 comments


bottom of page