Rightly or wrongly, many Americans have kept their better half in the dark about some of their financial obligations, a newly released poll suggests.
An estimated 12 million men and women say they have or are concealing bank or credit card account information from their spouse or live-in partner, according to a recent survey conducted by CreditCards.com. Interestingly, age seems to play a role in how likely this is the case. For example, the poll found that 11 percent of baby boomers – who for purposes of this study range between 63 and 71 – have kept financial accounts in seclusion from their significant other. That's almost four times more likely compared to millennials.
More homebuyers are unmarried couples
Couples of today – whether married or not – share ownership on many significant purchases. For example, to make buying a home a more affordable proposition, 15 percent of millennials today do so with their partners' financial involvement as well, according to a recent survey done by home listings website Zillow. That's up from 11 percent compared to 2005 when a similar poll was conducted. Meanwhile, even though they still account for a larger percentage, single buyers aren't as common, falling to 25 percent from 27 percent a decade ago.
Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, noted that sunlight is always the best disinfectant when it comes to couples' and their financial decisions.
"Keeping secrets in your relationships is never a good idea," Schulz explained. "Like any indiscretion, what starts out small tends to build. Spending $25 without consulting your partner may seem incidental, but when those purchases become more frequent or if the amount grows, it can wreak havoc on your accounts and your budget."
1 in 3 fine with partner buying solo
Even though most financial advisors caution against keeping accounts secret, there's a difference between concealment and independence, the survey revealed. For example, of the respondents polled, 33 percent indicated that they had no qualms with their partner buying something for $500 or more without informing them beforehand, CreditCards.com reported. Men were more likely to express this sentiment than were women.
68 percent of couples regularly talk about their finances."
Finances can be a major point of discontent when hasty decisions are made. This is part of the reason why it's a prime consideration among couples today. For the most part, though, couples seem to be happy with how things are going. Eight in 10 couples – in a separate poll that surveyed 1,500 – said they were pleased with how they were dealing with money management, advising services firm Ameriprise revealed. This may have everything to do with the fact that over two-thirds – 68 percent – communicated with their partner on a regular basis about where things stood.
"Conversations about money are critical to successful relationships," said Marcy Keckler, who serves as vice president of financial advice at Ameriprise. "Money doesn't have to be a deal breaker for couples. Instead, it provides them with the opportunity to work as a team to create a strong financial foundation built on communication, planning and shared responsibilities."