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define financial infidelity

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When we talk about infidelity, it’s important to remember that being unfaithful means one entirely different thing to one couple versus another. For some, cheating means flirtatious messages over any medium (text, email, DMs), while others don’t see it as cheating until something physical has occurred. However, no matter where the boundary is for you, most people can agree that what you don’t want is long-lasting consequences. When looking at romantic infidelity, long-lasting consequences can mean incurable STD results from the cheating. Or a child. These are unintended consequences of what may have been a brief indiscretion that will then impact the couple forever. When you think of that, you might agree that, aside from details of “What exactly happened?” the worst type of cheating is that which results in everlasting consequences.

Financial infidelity is also a type of cheating that can have consequences that follow a couple for a long time. Perhaps for their lifetime. An investment gone wrong can mean a retirement fund down the drain. Small secret purchases over time can lead to savings that aren’t there but were needed. But financial infidelity isn’t always so cut and dry. There’s a lot to learn about it. We spoke with Dr. Nicole Garner Scott, financial coach and CEO at Amount Financial, about this complex issue.

Dr. Nicole Garner Scott

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How common is financial infidelity?

“There have been a few academic studies that have estimated that as many as 41% of American adults admit to hiding accounts, debts, or spending habits from their spouse or partner, so almost half of America is dealing with this,” states Dr. Scott. One survey conducted by CreditCards.com found that 44 percent of individuals are hiding a checking, savings, or credit card account from a significant other.

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