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When Should Couples Talk About Keeping Money Secrets

The annual Harris Poll on financial infidelity from the National Endowment for Financial Education finds that 2 in 5 Americans admit to lying about or withholding money information from their partner. Of those who say they have committed financial infidelity, 32 percent said that some aspect of finances should remain private, even from a spouse. Seventy-five percent of those who have had some type of financial infidelity say that it affected the relationship, with 12 percent saying it led to divorce, and 11 percent saying it made their relationship closer.

What should you do if you suspect your spouse/partner of financial deception or if you want to come clean about your own behavior?

  • Know the warning signs. If your partner is defensive or withdrawn when asked about money, it could be a red flag.
  • Approach your partner thoughtfully. Don’t blindside him or her, and think about what you want the desired outcome of the conversation to be.
  • Get on the same page. Take the LifeValues quiz for spouses and couples to get started.
  • Rebuild trust. No matter what happened in the past, commit to full disclosure moving forward.
  • We hit the streets of Denver to ask about love and money. When should couples have "the talk" and is it OK to keep money secrets?

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[Any reference to a specific company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by the National Endowment for Financial Education.]