Smart About Money Article: Financial Infidelity: Commit to Full Disclosure

Financial Infidelity: Commit to Full Disclosure

By: Smart About Money

Say ‘I Do’ to Financial Fidelity

Financial infidelity may start with a “harmless” small purchase that you don’t tell your spouse or partner about. But it quickly can snowball into a larger problem that can lead to devastating financial consequences for you and your family.

Have you ever:

  • Hidden a major purchase
  • Kept a secret checking account/credit card
  • Lied about money earned
  • Lied about outstanding debts
  • Hidden a bill or receipt
  • Hidden cash
  • “Forgotten” to tell your spouse about extracurricular spending (sporting bets/day-trading/online shopping)


A NEFE survey found that one in three Americans who have combined their finances admitted to financial infidelity in their relationships. Many others admitted to lying to their spouses about money, and another one-third of these adults said they’d been deceived.

Of the couples whom experienced financial infidelity:

  • 67 percent said the deception led to an argument
  • 42 percent said it caused a loss of trust in the relationship
  • 11 percent said it led to separation
  • 16 percent said the money cheating led to a divorce


If you have been financially unfaithful, come clean. Even if you feel guilty, have rationalized the spending, or fear your spouse’s reaction, take the time to work through your financial infidelity together and start anew.

Proactive pointers to start the conversation

1. Disclose the details. Use the upcoming tax season to engage in full financial disclosure with your spouse or significant other to get a better grasp of your shared finances and to recommit financially to each other.

2. Review your financials. Whether it’s the first time, or a review, explore all aspects of your finances including:

      1. Outstanding credit debt
      2. Student loans
      3. Annual income
      4. Savings
      5. Your individual philosophies on money and spending


3. Understand your values. Take LifeValues Quiz to help identify your individual values as they relate to money. It will help you explain to your partner why you make certain money decisions and help you set more informed financial goals together.

4. Gage your current situation. Pull your most recent credit scores, credit card statements, student loan summaries, and 401(k) statements to make sure you both are clear on where you stand financially as a couple.

5. Make a money date. Act as your family’s Chief Financial Officer by setting a standing monthly meeting for you and your spouse or partner to review your family’s budget and review progress made against your family’s financial goals.

6. Set milestone parties. Celebrate financial progress made toward your goals by taking the family for ice cream, opening a vacation savings account, or commemorating in another special way.

7. Keep the lines of communication open. Everyone makes mistakes. If you or your loved one deviates from the budget, talk through what led to the questionable spending and work through it together. Addressing missteps, rather than hiding them, will allow you to avoid falling into past patterns of dishonesty.


In Smart About Money’s article “Financial Infidelity: Commit to Full Disclosurethey address ways to avoid financial arguments and how to keep the lines of communication open. There are many people that have found themselves in a situation where financial infidelity has been committed.  It is imperative to be aware of where you and your partner stands when it comes to financial responsibilities. 
Unfortunately people can find themselves in a circumstance that becomes unforgivable when a spouse or partner has used up a lifesaving or racked up debt that the other was unaware of or even hidden cash and assets.
If you have found yourself in a position such as this and need to move on from a spouse, please contact our office and we can assist you in rebuilding your life.
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

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