‘Financial Infidelity’ Runs Rampant in Gen Z

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 12, 2024

With money troubles rising among households worldwide, it seems that this isn’t the only money issue among couples.

It appears that many couples are keeping their money troubles (or large sums of money) a secret from their partner, with Gen Z being the main culprit.

Couples Should Be Honest About Their Finances

Honesty is important in any relationship, with finances being one of the top things couples should talk about to have a happy marriage, according to Talk Space.

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Having honest conversations about money can help ease the stress in a relationship, even if a couple might be struggling financially. Keeping money issues a secret or hiding money from your partner can cause more damage than good to a relationship.

Men Can’t Handle Women’s Rising Wages

Just a few decades ago, it wasn’t common for women to be in work, especially if they were married.

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However, now that women are an ever-present force in the workplace, they are under control of their finances, and it seems that some men can’t handle it.

Men (and Women) Are Engaging in Financial Infidelity

Financial infidelity is essentially the same as physical infidelity, in that one person (or sometimes both people) in a relationship will lie to each other about money.

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Suze Orman, who is a personal finance guru, has said that men are more likely to engage in financial infidelity than women as some are struggling to cope with the woman in their relationship being a higher wage-earner, according to The Daily Mail.

One Man Hid $18,000 from His Wife

Couples aren’t just hiding small change from each other. One man had kept $18,000 a secret from his wife.

A man holding some change in his hand.

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This money was in their joint account, according to Suze Orman, who had received an email from the man’s wife regarding the issue. He had given it to his adult children from a previous relationship without telling her.

25% of Americans Believe Financial Infidelity Is as Bad as an Affair

Bankrate looked into financial issues in relationships and found some very surprising results.

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The study found that 25% of Americans who are in relationships believe that financial infidelity is just as bad, if not worse, than physical infidelity.


Almost Half of U.S. Adults Have Kept Financial Secrets from Their Partner

Despite the advice that couples should share everything, many adults seem to think that finances are the exception to this rule.

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Around 42% of adults in the U.S. have admitted to keeping a financial secret from their partner, but the amount of money they kept hidden likely varies.


There Are Many Reasons Why Someone Might Keep Their Finances a Secret

It turns out that those who keep their finances a secret from their partners have many reasons for doing so.

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Some of these reasons include wanting to control their finances, not wanting to share their finances, finances never having come up in conversation, and people being embarrassed about how they have handled their finances.


Gen Z Are Most Likely to Commit Financial Infidelity

Even though conversations surrounding money are much more open now, the younger generations are more likely to keep their finances hidden from their partner.

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Gen Z was the most likely at 67%, with Millennials coming in second at 57%. Generation X and Baby Boomers are at 34% and 33%, respectively, meaning they are more open with their partners about their finances.


The Higher the Household Finances, the Less Likely They Are to Lie

The study also found that households with a higher overall income were less likely to engage in financial infidelity than those with lower incomes.

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Almost half of households with an income of less than $50,000 have committed financial infidelity. In contrast, in households with an income of over $100,000, only 34% admitted to having kept their finances a secret from their partner.


Financial Infidelity Can Be a Form of Coercive Control

One of the more serious sides to one person in a relationship committing financial infidelity is so that they can hold a form of coercive control over their partner regarding their finances.

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The Guardian reports that one person might want to be more dominant with money and make the financial decisions, and so hides these things from their partner.


Financial Infidelity Can Lead to Divorce

Financial infidelity is a form of lying. With many people not wanting to put up with this, it can lead to divorce.

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Even if financial infidelity isn’t what has led to the divorce and it is something else, some people may only learn of their partner’s financial infidelity during divorce proceedings.


Couples Can Be Open About Money

Sometimes, financial infidelity is as simple as the couple not knowing how to bring up the conversation about money.

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Everyday Health has given some tips on how to start these conversations. These include starting the conversation early on in the relationship, being open about past experiences with money, and talking to a financial planner to help you get the most for your money.