(NewsNation Now) — There are a lot of different ways you can cheat. You can cheat in an affair that you have physically. You can cheat emotionally and you can cheat financially.
About one-third of Americans with a significant other say they have committed financial infidelity, according to a new poll from CreditCards.com.
According to the poll results, among couples who are married in a civil partnership or are living together:
- 25%, one out of four, say they have credit cards, checking accounts or savings accounts that their partners don’t know about.
- 15% say they spend more than their partners would approve of.
- 9% say they have secret debt.
“It’s definitely a big deal for a lot of people,” Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst with CreditCards.com, said during an appearance on “Morning in America”. “In fact, 42% say that physical cheating and financial cheating are equally bad. Eleven percent say that financial cheating is actually worse.”
The poll results show that a number of people consider it worse to cheat with money than to physically sleep with other people.
“I think it shows just how personal money is for a lot of people,” Rossman said. “It really hurts.”
Rossman said that communication is really the key and couples need to be better about talking about money and be forthcoming about financial details.
“It’s hard enough to meet your financial goals when you’re on the same page,” he said. “And it’s almost impossible if somebody is squirreling money away or are just doing their own thing on the side.”
According to the poll, the permutations of financial infidelity also depend on what generation you’re from.
Even though money has always been one of the top three things that couples argue about, the poll shows that keeping money a secret from partners is higher among Generation Z and millennials.
61% of Generation Z and 48%, almost half of the millennials polled, say they have not been financially honest.
“I think some of it is that these relationships are in their earlier stages,” Rossman said. “But I also think it goes deeper than that. I think, especially among young adults, they want more independence over their money.”
Today’s young adults are getting married later, are more likely to be in two-income households, according to Rossman.
“I think a lot of people think well, hey, I work hard for my money, I should be able to do whatever I want,” he said.
A lot of young adults also grew up with divorced parents, and they remember what happened when mom and dad split up. Because of this, they keep their own secret pot of money in case the relationship doesn’t work out.
In fact, most couples do have some separate money.
“I think yours, mine and ours can work,” Rossman said. “The key though, is you have to acknowledge it.”
“So if you and your spouse each say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get a certain dollar amount, or a certain percentage of every paycheck, that’s ours. No questions asked.’ I think that’s totally fine,” Rossman said.
Communication is key as couples need to agree upon the parameters.
“You can’t have somebody just doing their own thing and keeping money secret,” Rossman said.
Watch the full interview with Ted Rossman in the video player at the top of the page.