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Are You Lying to Your Partner About Money? 22% of Americans Are

By Maurie Backman - Jan 25, 2019 at 7:22AM

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Talk about setting relationships up to fail.

Of the many taboo topics we, as members of society, feel uncomfortable talking about, money surely ranks pretty highly. But while it's one thing to not want to discuss financial matters with your friends, neighbors, or colleagues, it's another thing to keep your partner in the dark. Unfortunately, 22% of Americans are doing just that, according to new data from GOBankingRates. And if they don't change that habit, they're likely to hurt not only their relationships but their finances as well.

It's time to come clean

Managing money as a couple isn't easy, especially when you have different approaches and goals. But if you don't sync up on money matters, you'll only be hurting yourselves.

GOBankingRates reports that among the 22% of U.S. adults who have lied to their partners about money, the most common offence was not being truthful about spending habits. Next in line was debt -- something Americans on a whole are more than familiar with. Other items folks lied about include salary, savings, investments, credit scores, and even gambling habits.

Couple looking at documents


Here's the problem, though: If you don't come clean about money matters to your partner, you're both likely to suffer financially in the long run.

Imagine you have a secret habit of hitting the mall once a week and splurging on apparel. Doing so could really throw off your household budget and thwart your joint savings goals. On the other hand, if you tell your partner that you're loathe to give up your weekly shopping trips, he or she might agree to work that spending into your budget (within reason, of course) but cut back in other areas so that you're able to buy the things that bring you joy without it impacting your ability to pay your bills.

Similarly, if you're carrying a load of debt in your own name, it could come back to bite you if you and your partner decide to apply for a mortgage together (namely, you might get rejected or get stuck with a very unfavorable rate). But if you open up about that debt and your partner is in a stronger financial position than you are, he or she might offer to handle some of your joint expenses temporarily so that your earnings can be used to pay off whatever credit card balance or loan you're burdened with.

The same holds true in all other regards. Being open about savings and investments can help you and your partner better and more realistically align your goals. Furthermore, if you're entering an arrangement where you're sharing the bills, but you don't disclose your salaries to one another, you'll have no idea what sort of budget to work with.

A better solution, therefore, is to sit down and have those open conversations. If your financial past isn't pretty, say so. Chances are, that information will come out sooner or later, so your partner might as well hear it from you. In fact, consider talking money a solid investment in your relationship -- because if you continue lying to your partner, you're likely to not only struggle financially but wind up alone.

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