Toronto: One in five Canadians are committing financial infidelity by keeping a secret around money or spending in their relationship, according to a new Cost of Love survey from Rates.ca.
Money misrepresentations are most common among millennials, with almost 30 per cent of younger Canadians admitting to financial infidelity, and men are more likely (19 per cent) than women (13 per cent) to lie about money.
Canadians who are dating or engaged are more likely to have a financial secret than those that are separated or married.
Three in ten (31 per cent) Canadians are hiding purchases they make from their significant other. Almost one-third are concealing their poor credit score, 21 per cent have hidden cash, 14 per cent have hidden bank accounts, and 10 per cent have a secret line of credit or a long-term loan.
“Hiding a poor credit score or a large sum of debt can have consequences in the future. Especially for partners buying their first home or financing a car. Being transparent and taking the right steps to manage debt or correct poor credit can prevent disappointment and further financial woes,” said Sara Kesheh, Vice President, Money, Rates.ca.
The survey also revealed that nearly half (47 per cent) of those in a relationship, say the value of their financial secret is $1,000 or more. Almost one in five admitted that their financial secret is $10,000 or more.
Dealing with Financial Infidelity
Half of Canadians with a financial secret believe nothing would happen if their significant other were to discover the secret.
Another 22 per cent say the worst consequence would be to fight and find a solution, two per cent feel it would result in a break-up, and only one per cent say it would result in divorce.
Whether you’re getting married, making a major purchase together or combining finances with a partner, Kesheh offers expert advice to avoid disagreements over money.
- Talk about debt: Working as a team to manage the debt can help pay down the principal faster and accrue less interest on the balance. That won’t be an option for everyone; however, ignoring the debt could turn a small problem into a big one.
- Create a budget: Track your spending to form an accurate budget. Be aware of how much income is coming in versus how much money is being spent. From there, pinpoint areas where you can cut back and create a plan for paying off the debt.
- Use financial resources: Carrying a balance on a standard credit card can run the risk of the debt growing faster than it can be paid off. Many resources can help make the debt more manageable, including low-interest credit cards or balance transfer options. The key is never to skip a minimum payment and to pay more when you can.
- Be a team: If you are on the reverse end of the secret, try to be patient, constructive, not critical, listen to what your partner needs and, most of all, be supportive.
The survey also revealed:
- Of the four per cent of Canadians who are engaged, 24 per cent have a financial secret. Of the 11 per cent of Canadians who are dating, 23 per cent have a financial secret. Only 14 per cent of those separated or married are hiding their finances.
- Married or separated couples are more likely to have financial secrets below $1,000, at 46 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.
- Couples who are dating or engaged are more likely to have secrets valued at $1,000 or more, at 59 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.
- Among Canadians with a financial secret: eight per cent have a secret credit card, nine per cent have secret investments, seven per cent have credit rewards points they haven’t told their significant other about, and five per cent have a secret payday loan.