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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A revealing new report shines a light on couples and their financial fidelity. It turns out, millions of people in committed relationships are keeping money secrets from each other.
CBS3 spoke with a financial adviser who says there is nothing wrong with partners having their own accounts on the side. But, they added the effects of doing so in secret, especially when debt is involved, can prove emotionally and financially devastating.
According to Creditcards.com, 30 million Americans who live with a partner are hiding a checking, savings, or credit card account from their significant other.
“I understand how somebody would want to have their own little stash to the side but I personally don’t,” said Shannon Smith.
The survey found that 2 percent of people would leave a relationship if they found out about a secret stash.
Sixteen percent were polled as being indifferent and about 81 percent of Americans in the study would be upset.
“I would be disappointed because it’s all about transparency and trying to empower each other,” said Ralph Collins.
Experts say that common reasons for hiding an account or debt are due to one partner feeling insecure over their own financial background or perhaps the fear of dependency in the future.
“I think the problem is the secrecy as long as everything is out in the open than things should be okay,” said Glenna Harkins.
Another couple who spoke to CBS3 added that they had just set up a new checking account together to embrace transparency.
The survey also noted that millennials are twice as likely as older Americans to financially “cheat.”
“My mother told me when I was a little girl, always have your own money,” said Maryellen McNish.
Make no mistake though, there’s a big difference between self-sufficiency and secrecy.
“If I found out about a secret account, I’d be a little upset but I’d talk about it, find out what’s going on,” said McNish.
Perhaps the most shocking result of the survey was that 20 percent of people polled said that financial infidelity would be worse than an affair.
Good news for the Philadelphia-area though, according to the study, Americans living in the South and West are more likely to “cheat” with that secret account.