42% Have A Bank Account Their Spouse Doesn't Know About - Should You Too?

Financial infidelity might be more common than you think.
Updated June 6, 2024
Fact checked
woman using atm late at night

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Would you keep secrets about money from your partner? According to a recent Bankrate study, approximately 42% of people are already doing just that.

This phenomenon, often referred to as "financial infidelity," involves individuals concealing aspects of their finances from their significant others.

While many are already taking part, the trend can cause serious implications for the health of your finances as well as the relationship.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources

Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Who is actually doing this?

The Bankrate study reveals intriguing statistics about financial infidelity. Of the surveyed adults who are married or living with a romantic partner:

  • 30% admitted to spending more than their spouse or partner would approve of.
  • 23% confessed to having secret debt.
  • 19% disclosed having a secret savings account.
  • 17% acknowledged having a secret checking account.
  • 18% revealed they possess a secret credit card.

These figures indicate that a significant portion of couples grapple with transparency when it comes to money matters. The data also shows that Gen Z and Millenials are more likely to hide their finances from their spouses than older generations.

Reasons to open your own secret savings account

Financial analysts, like Ted Rossman, Senior Industry Analyst with Bankrate, shed light on the motivations behind maintaining financial secrets, reports CBS. Privacy and control over finances ranked as the top reasons, with 37% of respondents citing these factors as reasons for financial cheating.

Other motivations include avoiding the topic altogether (33%), embarrassment (28%), preparation for a potential relationship breakdown (17%), lack of trust in the partner's financial responsibility (14%), and even using the money for addictive behaviors (11%).

Rossman notes that while some individuals advocate for separate finances to maintain independence, complete financial separation may not be practical or conducive to a healthy relationship. Many couples marry or live together later in life, and as such already have established finances on their own.

A growing trend is also seen in couples keeping their existing bank accounts, but creating a joint one for expenses as well. It is essential to understand the motivations behind financial secrecy to address the root causes.

When you might want to avoid hiding an account from your spouse

Maintaining a secret bank account or engaging in financial infidelity is not without consequences. Relationships thrive on trust and open communication, and financial secrets can strain these foundations. While some may argue that having financial autonomy is crucial, it's equally important to consider the potential drawbacks:

  • Erosion of trust: Keeping financial secrets can erode trust between partners, leading to strained relationships.
  • Communication breakdown: Avoiding discussions about money may result in communication breakdowns, hindering the couple's ability to plan for the future.
  • Unexpected reactions: The longer financial secrets are kept, the more significant the impact when revealed. Open and honest conversations early on can mitigate negative reactions.
  • Lost opportunities: Joint financial planning allows couples to make informed decisions and capitalize on opportunities that align with shared goals.

While financial autonomy is important for personal freedom, maintaining a secret bank account from your partner requires careful consideration. Transparency and open communication about finances are crucial for building a strong foundation in any relationship. Initiating "money dates" or informal chats, where couples discuss financial goals and responsibilities, can help foster understanding and trust.

Bottom line

Addressing financial matters early on and finding a balance between autonomy and shared responsibilities can contribute to a healthier, more resilient relationship. In the end, it could help both parties get ahead financially. But the key lies in navigating financial discussions with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to shared goals.

Choice Home Warranty Benefits

  • First month free
  • Protection for unexpected expense
  • 24/7 claims hotline
  • Network of over 15,000 technicians

Author Details

Georgina Tzanetos Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who has been active in financial media for the past six years. She holds a master's in political economy from NYU, where she studied distressed labor markets.