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  • Samson Omale

5 Small Lies About Money That Are Bigger Than You Think

According to a 2018 study on financial infidelity from the University of Southern Mississippi, 27% of people in committed partnerships have lied to their partner about money.

The lies ranging from hiding receipts from your partner so that they don't know how much you spent, to filing for bankruptcy without your partner's knowledge.

Financial therapist Megan McCoy, Ph.D., LMFT, AFC, CFT-I says that small lies about money can "easily snowball" into bigger problems down the line.

Financial infidelity, the act of lying to your partner about money, is very common and sometimes unintentional.

Sometimes, one partner may feel like they have more control over the couple's shared finances simply because they make more money.

McCoy herself admits to having committed financial infidelity in the past. "When I went through it, I didn't have the communication skills to be assertive," she tells Insider.

In any case, infidelity always ends up hurting somebody. To avoid bigger money problems down the line, here are five common small lies about money within committed relationships that could easily snowball into something bigger.

1. Lying about the price you paid for something

"Rounding down the price you paid for a big purchase is the most common example of financial infidelity," says McCoy. For example, if you bought a purse or a set of golf clubs that you really love for $1,500 but told your spouse it was on sale, or that you only spent $1,000, it could be a sign that something deeper is going on.

2. Hiding purchases or receipts

Hiding the items that you purchased, or the receipts from those purchases, might be a sign that you don't feel confident enough to assert your needs within the relationship, or that you're ashamed of what you're buying in the first place. According to the aforementioned USM study, some people also lie to their partners by pretending that new purchases are actually old ones.

3. Keeping a secret bank account

"There's a difference between privacy and secrecy," says McCoy. If you or your partner want to keep a separate account outside of joint accounts, it's best to communicate honestly about it and share why you need to do so.

She also points out that not every couple chooses to merge their finances, which is "perfectly fine." However, keeping a secret bank account can be a sign that you don't share the same spending and saving habits as your spouse, and that you don't trust them enough to share your resources.

4. Buying something with cash so that it doesn't show up on your accounts

Buying something with cash so that it doesn't show up on your accounts for your partner to see is similar to hiding receipts or the actual items that you bought. Spending money in secret may be a sign that you don't feel safe or that you might be punished for spending money on yourself.

5. Taking money out of a joint savings account without discussing it first

McCoy says that once you put money in a joint savings account, or enter a committed relationship, your mentality around money naturally changes. "It's not just my money anymore, it's our money," she says. Savings accounts are particularly sensitive because it's a pool of money for the couple's future, something that the couple is building together.

Taking money out of a joint savings account could lead to heated discussions down the line about each partner's priorities.

Even though money is a sensitive topic in relationships, McCoy emphasizes that open communication about money and strategizing for future savings may actually strengthen your relationship and lead to deeper intimacy.


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