Lie Detector

Most Americans Think Lying About Money Is As Bad as Cheating

While most of us think of infidelity as just one thing, a new survey finds that 54% of polled say financial infidelity can be just as bad as cheating.

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Falling behind with rent. Concerned worried young married couple sitting on sofa at home office stud...

Talking about finances in a relationship can be awkward, difficult, and uncomfortable. Talking about budgets, spending habits, or debt can lead to frustration and downright arguing. But one thing you should apparently never do is lie about finances — at least according to a new survey.

An new survey commissioned by Forbes Advisor and conducted by Prolific, a market research company, found that 54% of poll respondents said financial infidelity can be just as bad as cheating. The study also found that not only is financial lying damaging to a relationship — it’s also common problem.

The online survey polled 1,000 adults in the United States, collected on January 11, 2023, with debt statistics pulled from Experian.

Despite people feeling so strongly about financial lying, 35% of adults admitted to lying to a partner about their money. The survey found that the lies were most commonly either about a purchase (49%) or debt (37%), and that women are more likely to lie about their savings than men, but men are more likely to lie about investments than women.

The reasons for lying vary, too, with 35% of those surveyed saying they lie because they feel shame about mishandling money, while 32% lie to avoid arguing, with 40% feel like they had to lie to keep their relationship.

“Financial infidelity is more common than people may realize and can be just as violating and hurtful as romantic infidelity,” consumer finance and budgeting expert Andrea Woroch told Forbes Advisor. “Considering that [the majority] of couples fight over money, there’s a lot of room for financial cheating, especially when one person in a relationship feels pressure to spend less or is dealing with a problematic financial issue such as gambling or a shopping addiction.”

Talking about money and finances isn’t always the easiest conversation to have with your partner. However, this isn’t the first survey that hints at how damaging not being truthful about finances can be or a partnership. These conversations don’t have to be hard, but they do need to be had.

Getting on the same page about your finances, including defining major purchases, setting financial goals, being realistic about your assets and debt, and defining priorities, are essential, ongoing conversations that are a major part of maintaining a healthy partnership.

You can check out the full results of the survey on Forbes Advisor.

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