It’s said that 50% of all marriages today end in divorce, but not always for the reason you think.

When a marriage comes to an end, most people imagine dramatic scenes of a partner being caught with someone else and everything that follows.

Well, not always. There are a lot of reasons a marriage can go sour. One reason that is becoming more prominent is financial infidelity. The act of spending money without your spouse knowing it.

U.S. News recently surveyed a bunch of married people and found 38% of them had either committed financial infidelity or been a victim of it.

Here’s what some of the respondents had to say:

  • Almost 28% made secret purchases.
  • About 20% hid debts or accounts.
  • Almost 19% drained money from savings.
  • Nearly 18% lent money without mutual consent.
  • A little more than 16% lied about their income.

When asked if they could explain their actions, here’s what the perpetrators reveal:

  • Almost 29% say it was to avoid an argument.
  • Slightly more than 21% wanted to feel more in control of their finances.
  • Close to 20% say they were embarrassed by their money-handling skills.
  • About 17% did it to help someone else.
  • More than 13% say they simply didn’t want to share bad news.

I know a surprising number of married couples who keep separate bank accounts. They each agree to pay certain bills and the rest of their money is theirs to do with as they please.

I can’t quite wrap my mind around that. When we got married about a hundred years ago, the first thing we did was combine our bank accounts. It just seemed natural. It also makes it seem like we have more money than we actually do.

But tell this to people who have separate bank accounts and they’ll call you a rube and laugh you out of the room. To me it seems like a complete lack of faith in your partner. Do you not trust them to not clean out the bank account while you’re not looking?

Anyway, here’s how most of the people surveyed found out about the financial cheating:

  • More than 25% noticed bank account balances were off.
  • Almost 17% discovered hidden debt or accounts.
  • More than 14% found a large purchase.
  • About 17% found out their partner lied about income.
  • Almost 13% observed secrecy with electronic devices.

The big purchase would seem to give it away immediately. How would you keep a big purchase hidden? I guess if it was an expensive piece of jewelry, you could keep it hidden. But a TV? A fancy phone? A car?

Then again, I have known people to buy a second house and keep it hidden from their spouse. I have no idea how you would accomplish that.

And I have heard of hidden accounts where you put any extra money you might make. As a person who would have no clue what extra money is, I don’t understand this angle either.

I’ve always thought putting all the money together actually allowed for more and bigger purchases. One person will always make more than the other. Just the way it is. Sometimes it’s a little, sometimes it’s a lot.

Seems like one person would always be running short on money. Doesn’t happen if you pool it all. You can still have the more responsible person keep an eye on the account and make sure nothing is off about it.

U.S. News suggested couples who might be experiencing financial infidelity should sit down once a month and go over finances together. Set aside what will pay the bills and then decide how the remaining money will be doled out.

I know. There’s money left over after paying the bills? But sometimes there is. And you shouldn’t have to sneak around to spend it, separate accounts or not.

Actually, you shouldn’t spend it at all. Start a savings account. No wonder you never have any money. Sheesh.

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