Editors' pick: Originally published Feb. 14.
If you're willing to conceal a credit card and make big purchases your spouse doesn't know about, what other secrets are you willing to keep?
If you want a great way to erode trust between you and your spouse, financial infidelity is a great way to do so. According to a survey by CreditCards.com, 12 million Americans have concealed a bank or credit card account from their live-in spouse, partner or significant other. These aren't just youthful indiscretions, either: older Baby Boomers (11%), those aged 63 to 71, are nearly four times as likely as Millennials to have had a secret account (3%). There's a cost to retaining that little shred of independence.
"Keeping secrets in your relationships is never a good idea," said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. "Like any indiscretion, what starts out small tends to build. Spending $25 without consulting your partner may seem incidental, but when those purchases become more frequent or if the amount grows, it can wreak havoc on your accounts and your budget.
Schulz was being kind with that $25 example. As it turns out, more than one in four (28%) people surveyed have admitted to spending $500 or more without consulting their partner. Again, Baby Boomers (39%) are nearly twice as likely to spend this amount compared to Millennials (20%). And, no, your partner isn't O.K. with that. Just one-third (33%) of respondents think it is fine for their significant other to spend $500 or more without asking. Males, Republicans and those with an income of over $75,000 were most likely to take that position. Just 20% of Americans report spending even $25 or less without first speaking with their partner. Parents (29%) are twice as likely to share this information as non-parents (15%).