The Biggest Money Lies That Couples Tell

Mysterious woman cheating on her partner


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For Love or Money

Financial infidelity can be just as heartbreaking for a relationship as other types of cheating, according to a recent survey by Forbes Advisor. The survey found that 38% of adults have lied to their significant other about finances, and over half felt that lying about money is just as bad as other kinds of unfaithfulness. These are the most common financial reasons people lie to their partners  — chances are you've done at least one of them.

Related: 11 Secrets to Managing Money in Marriage

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Purchases | 49%

This is the most common financial lie between partners. “Couples are trying to maintain their lifestyles even as the economy sours, and many don’t want to admit — even to themselves — that they need to cut back,” says Howard Dvorkin, chairman of Additionally, 32% of people are lying about this or other financial topics to try to avoid an argument, according to the survey.

Related: 20 Ways a Relationship Can Hurt Your Mental Health

Close up of a mid adult woman checking her energy bills at home, sitting in her living room. She has a worried expression
Hands taking  us dollars  out from wallet on the street

Pattern of Spending | 25%

How a partner spends and what they spend it on can be a big source of contention. "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,” consumer finance and budgeting expert Andrea Woroch is quoted as saying.

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Income | 23%

People who make between $25,000 and $50,000 a year are more likely to lie about their income, according to the survey, and many people (40%) think that lying about money is necessary to keep their relationship. 

Young man tracking finance on mobile app while drinking coffee.

Savings | 20%

A reason people may lie about their lack of savings is because they're ashamed, the survey found. Side note: Millennials wait the longest of any generation to disclose information about their finances to their partner. Fifty-five percent say they wouldn't share that info in the first few months of a relationship.

Here is your cash back!

Money Lent To Someone | 10%

Do you lend money to friends and family and not let your partner know? Some 36% of people would also lie about finances because they feel shame about mishandling money.

Related: The Pitfalls of Lending Money to Friends and Family


Investments | 10%

The survey found men are more likely to lie about their investments than women, with 16% of men fibbing, and 4% of women. 

Loosing at the Casino

Gambling Losses (9%) and Gambling Winnings (8%)

Lying about money is equal to other kinds of lying and cheating, according to 54% of people. That includes lying about anything from purchases to gambling to debts.

Credit cards. Financial business background.

Undisclosed Credit Card | 7%

Seven percent of people hide a credit card from their significant other. Of course having a secret card can lead to bigger problems, like debt from spending beyond your means. 

Persons hands writing a personal bank cheque using a pen while working on a laptop computer.

The Rest

These are the additional, and very specific, types of lies that a smaller percentage of people tell their partners when it comes to finances. 

Undisclosed bank account: 6%

Credit score: 5%

Trading losses: 4%

Trading earnings: 3%

Money-making assets: 1%