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22% of Americans Lie to Their Partners About Money

Unrecognizable man giving part of his salary to pretty young wife and hiding remains behind his back, interior of living room on background.
Unrecognizable man giving part of his salary to pretty young wife and hiding remains behind his back, interior of living room on background.

Money often is considered a taboo topic. Perhaps that’s why it can be difficult to talk to your significant other about money. In fact, money is a common source of arguments among couples, and conflicts over it can lead to divorce.

The question, then, is whether Americans lie to their partners about money to avoid financial disputes. To find out, GOBankingRates surveyed more than 500 adults across the U.S. In addition to asking whether they’ve lied to their partners about money, GOBankingRates also asked respondents whether they’ve been lied to about money, whether they have a good understanding of their partner’s finances and whether they’d consider divorce if their partner kept financial secrets. Understanding how people feel about money can help you avoid money habits that might ruin your relationship.

Most Americans Claim to Have Never Lied to Their Partner About Money

Most Americans claim to be honest with their partners about money matters. The survey found that 78 percent of respondents said they have not lied to either their current or ex-partner about their finances.

Among the 22 percent who have lied, the most common thing they don’t come clean with their partner about is their spending habits. About 10 percent of respondents said they’ve lied about this. It’s not surprising that people don’t want to admit how much they spend because another GOBankingRates survey found that one of the biggest financial deal breakers in relationships is overspending.

The second most common thing Americans have lied to their partners about — with 8 percent choosing this response — is their debt. Having too much debt can actually be a turnoff, according to the same GOBankingRates survey.

Among the other things the survey found that Americans have lied to their partners about is their salary, savings, investments, credit score and gambling habits.

Men and Women Are Both Honest When It Comes to Money

Although the majority of both men and women said they haven’t lied to their partner about money, men are more likely to be honest. The survey found that 80 percent of men said they haven’t lied compared with almost 77 percent of women.

Women are actually much more likely to have lied about their spending habits than men are. The survey found that 13 percent of women haven’t told the truth to their partner about their spending compared with about 6 percent of men. Women also are more likely to lie about their debt. However, a higher percentage of men than women have lied about their credit score.

Have you ever lied to your current or ex-partner about any of the following? Select all that apply:

18-24 Years

25-34 Years

35-44 Years

45-54 Years

55-64 Years

65+ Years

Females

Males

None of the above

61.1%

77.8%

71.4%

76.7%

78.9%

85.7%

76.9%

80.2%

My spending habits

22.2%

15.6%

15.6%

10.3%

8.9%

4.8%

13.4%

5.8%

My debt

11.1%

11.1%

7.8%

11.2%

4.9%

7.9%

9.4%

6.8%

My salary or income

22.2%

4.4%

7.8%

6.9%

4.1%

4.0%

6.7%

4.8%

My savings

16.7%

4.4%

9.1%

1.7%

4.1%

4.8%

5.7%

3.9%

My investments

11.1%

2.2%

5.2%

3.4%

0.8%

2.4%

3.0%

2.9%

My credit score

11.1%

4.4%

1.3%

1.7%

1.6%

2.4%

1.7%

3.4%

My gambling habits

5.6%

4.4%

1.3%

2.6%

1.6%

1.6%

2.7%

1.4%

Americans Do Not Believe Their Partners Have Lied to Them About Money

Not only do most Americans say that they don’t lie to their partners about money, but they also believe that their partners don’t lie to them.

The survey found that about 76 percent of respondents believe that their current or ex-partner has never told money lies to them or kept financial secrets.

However, that means that nearly a quarter of Americans think their significant other has lied to them about their finances. The most common thing respondents said their partner has lied about is their spending, which is the most common thing respondents themselves have lied about. Nearly 14 percent of respondents said their partner “lied about how much of my money they’ve spent.”

Another nearly 11 percent said their partner has lied about how much money they’ve saved. Almost 10 percent said their partner has stolen money from them or used their credit or debit card without asking. If you suspect financial infidelity, there are several signs your significant other is lying about money. These secrets include secret bank accounts, purchases made with your debit or credit card without your permission and changes made to your account passwords.

Women Have Been Lied to More than Men

The survey found that women are more likely than men to say their partner has lied to them about money. About 28 percent of women said their current or ex-partner hasn’t been honest about their finances compared with about 19 percent of men.

The top lie women said they’ve been told is about how much of their money their partner has spent, with 16 percent of respondents choosing this response. On the other hand, only 10 percent of men said their partner has lied about how much of their money they have spent.

Related: I Dated a Miser and Here’s What I Learned About Love

The second most common lie women said they’ve been told is about how much money their partner has saved. However, the second most common lie men said they’ve been told by a partner is about how much debt they have.

Has your current or ex-partner ever done any of the following to you while you were in a relationship with them? Select all that apply:

18-24 Years

25-34 Years

35-44 Years

45-54 Years

55-64 Years

65+ Years

Females

Males

None of the above

77.8%

73.3%

63.6%

68.1%

80.5%

84.9%

71.9%

80.7%

Lied about how much of my money they’ve spent

11.1%

17.8%

18.2%

19.0%

10.6%

7.9%

16.1%

10.1%

Lied about how much money they have saved

11.1%

13.3%

15.6%

13.8%

8.9%

6.3%

14.7%

5.3%

Stole my money or used my credit/debit card without asking

16.7%

13.3%

15.6%

12.9%

5.7%

4.8%

11.7%

6.8%

Lied about how much debt they have

11.1%

8.9%

11.7%

9.5%

8.1%

7.9%

9.7%

8.2%

Lied about how much money they earn

11.1%

11.1%

13.0%

9.5%

5.7%

4.0%

10.0%

4.8%

Opened a secret bank account without telling me

11.1%

2.2%

10.4%

6.0%

4.1%

6.3%

6.4%

5.8%

Committed identity fraud (opening a credit card in my name)

5.6%

2.2%

2.6%

5.2%

0.0%

2.4%

2.3%

2.9%

Most Americans Have a Good Understanding of Their Partner’s Finances

The survey found that the majority of Americans know some basic information about their partner’s finances. It asked respondents whether they knew the following about their partner:

  • Their spending habits

  • How much money they make

  • How much debt they have

  • How much they have in savings

  • Their credit score

  • How much they have in investments

  • None of the above

Respondents were most likely to know their partner’s spending habits, with about 62 percent of respondents saying they knew this. More than half of respondents also knew how much money their partner makes and how much debt their partner has. Less than half said they knew how much their partner had in savings, their partner’s credit score and how much their partner had in investments. And 29 percent said they didn’t know any of these financial facts about their partner.

Men are actually less likely to have a good understanding of their partner’s finances than women are. The survey found that about 37 percent of men said they didn’t know details of their partner’s finances compared with about 24 percent of women. And adults 55 and older were less likely to know details of their partner’s finances than younger adults.

Do you know the following information about your current partner? Select all that apply:

Their spending habits

61.7%

How much money they make

58.3%

How much debt they have

54.5%

How much they have in savings

48.2%

Their credit score

43.9%

How much they have in investments

39.9%

None of the above

29.1%

Americans Also Have Faith in Their Partner’s Ability to Manage Money

A majority of Americans believe their partner is good at managing their money, the survey found. About 39 percent said their partner was very good, about 21 percent rated their partner as above average and about 23 percent said their partner was good at managing their money. About 18 percent said their partner was bad or very bad at managing money.

About an equal percentage of women and men said their partner was very good at managing their money — almost 40 percent and almost 39 percent, respectively. However, women were almost twice as likely as men to rate their partner as very bad — 13 percent versus 7 percent.

Do you believe your partner is good at managing their money/finances?

1 star (very bad)

10.9%

2 stars

6.7%

3 stars

22.7%

4 stars

20.6%

5 stars (very good)

39.1%

A Majority of Americans Would Not Divorce Their Spouse Over Financial Secrecy

Keeping financial secrets is one of the money mistakes that can lead to divorce. However, the survey found that Americans are pretty forgiving when it comes to money matters.

Almost 73 percent of respondents said they would not consider divorcing their current spouse or future spouse over issues with financial secrecy. However, 27 percent said they would consider divorce if the partner was keeping financial secrets.

Women were slightly more likely than men to say they would consider divorce if there were issues with financial secrecy — almost 29 percent versus almost 25 percent. And younger adults were much more likely than older adults to see financial secrets as grounds for a divorce. Nearly 49 percent of adults ages 25 to 34 and nearly 34 percent of adults ages 35 to 44 said they would consider divorcing their spouse over issues with financial secrecy compared with about 23 percent of respondents in older age groups.

Men and Women Would Divorce Partners Over Similar Amounts of Hidden Debt

Americans would be willing to tolerate their partner hiding a relatively large amount of debt from them before considering divorce. Respondents said their partner would have to have hidden $15,050 in debt, on average, before they would consider divorce.

Women and men seem to be in close agreement over the amount of hidden debt they would tolerate. The survey found that women said their partner would have to have hidden $15,490 from them, on average, before they considered divorce. Men said it would take $14,414, on average.

Adults ages 25 to 34 are willing to tolerate the most hidden debt — $18,094, on average. And respondents ages 18 to 24 are willing to tolerate the least — $12,001, on average.

How much debt will your partner have to have hidden from you before you consider getting a divorce?

18-24 Years

$12,001

25-34 Years

$18,094

35-44 Years

$17,621

45-54 Years

$12,795

55-64 Years

$14,181

65+ Years

$15,854

Females

$15,490

Males

$14,414

Overall

$15,050

Take Time to Talk to Your Partner About Money

Open communication about money is important in a relationship. A survey by TD Bank found that 90 percent of happy couples discuss finances at least once a month compared with 68 percent of unhappy couples. Talking about money might be contributing to couples’ happiness.

To keep the lines of communication open, you and your partner should have money dates — scheduled times to talk about your finances. You should discuss your values to agree on what you want most in life. Then you can review your spending to see if it aligns with your values. You might find that you’re spending money on things that don’t really matter to you as a couple. Once you’ve figured out your values and where your money is going, then you can set goals so your money can go toward what is important to you.

Click through to find out David Bach’s tips for couples who want to finish rich.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates asked 506 respondents the following questions: 1) Have you ever lied to your current or ex-partner about any of the following? (Select all that apply) 2) Do you believe your partner is good at managing their money/finances? 3) Do you know the following information about your current partner? (Select all that apply) 4) How much debt will your partner have to have hidden from you before you consider getting a divorce? 5) Has your current or ex-partner ever done any of the following to you while you were in a relationship with them? (Select all that apply) 6) Would you consider divorcing your current or future spouse over issues with financial secrecy? The survey was conducted by Survata from Dec. 20, 2018, to Dec. 27, 2018. Some figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 22% of Americans Lie to Their Partners About Money