One in 20 respondents to a new survey admitted having, or once having, a checking or savings account or credit card without telling their spouse or significant other.
That comes to about 13 million Americans who are withholding financial information from their loved ones, according to the new poll from CreditCards.com.
“And that counts only those who confess their secret accounts to a random pollster over the phone,” writes Tony Mecia for CreditCards.com.
The secret cards and bank accounts, however, usually don’t amount to sinister motives. In most cases, these accounts tend to stem from misunderstandings about how to manage money in the relationship, or debt that a spouse doesn’t want the other to know about, or maybe even from good motives, says CreditCards.com. Generally, neither sex is more likely to be secretive about finances.
“Sometimes, there are dark, sinister activities they are involved in that they shouldn’t be involved in, but the norm I have seen is people who are just trying to make some headway in solving a problem, but they get into trouble with that,” Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown, a large Christian financial ministry based in Knoxville, Tennessee, tells CreditCards.com. “They have good intentions, but it goes really bad.”
The survey also found:
- Seniors are more likely to think their spouses should disclose all but the smallest purchases. Among those 65 and older, 24 percent said their partner should spend only $25 or less without telling them — the highest figure of any age group, and twice as many as in the 18-29 age group.
- Men were more likely to be OK with their spouse making big purchases. Some 30 percent of men but just 18 percent of women said they were OK with their spouse or partner spending $500 or more without telling.
- But men were also more likely to make those big purchases, with 24 percent saying they had spent $500 or more without telling. Just 14 percent of women admitted to similar big and secret purchases.