top of page

Financial Infidelity: The Damage it Causes and How to Avoid It

Financial Infidelity: The Damage it Causes and How to Avoid It

What is financial infidelity? 

Financial infidelity occurs when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. For example, one partner may hide significant debts in a separate account while the other is unaware. 

A prominent NEFE survey conducted by Harris Polls found that 43% of partners reported some form of financial infidelity. 

What damage can financial infidelity cause? 

Financial infidelity, akin to betrayal in a relationship, can profoundly damage the foundation of trust and security between partners. When one party engages in secret financial activities, such as hidden debts, undisclosed spending, or clandestine investments, it erodes the fabric of honesty and openness essential for a healthy partnership. 

The repercussions extend beyond monetary losses, encompassing emotional turmoil, shattered trust, and strained communication. Such deceit can breed resentment, sow seeds of doubt, and lead to profound relational discord. 

16% of respondents surveyed reported that financial infidelity ultimately led to divorce.  

Why couples often commit financial infidelity

The reasons couples commit financial infidelity vary. Listed below are the reasons collected in the aforementioned NEFE survey.  

Financial Infidelity: The Damage it Causes and How to Avoid It
NEFE survey results and image

We asked Dr. Michael Gene Thomas to better understand the nuance that drives such decisions. 

Dr. Michael Gene Thomas is a Lecturer at the University of Georgia. He teaches Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics, where he has won numerous teaching awards. His research involves understanding what factors influence financial well-being across socio-economic status and how to optimize those factors through evidenced-based interventions or therapeutic methods. 

Systems that can be put in place to prevent financial infidelity 

Deciding how to move forward depends on many factors, and certainly, no one way is best for every couple. The toolkit topics that address systems options are:

  • Money Opposites, Dr. Scott Rick

  • Your Bank Accounts, Dr. Jenny Olson



The Transition to Marriage Toolkit

This post is a glimpse into what to expect if you purchase the Transition to Marriage Toolkit. The backgrounds of the 50+ national content experts who contributed to the Toolkit are below:

Designed for engaged and recently married couples, it is the ideal resource for those who want to manage money and the home as a team.



Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page