Financial infidelity poses challenge for more Americans - KCTV5

Financial infidelity poses challenge for more Americans

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Sexual infidelity can quickly kill a marriage or relationship, but cheating is not always sexual. Financial infidelity can be just as damaging. (KCTV) Sexual infidelity can quickly kill a marriage or relationship, but cheating is not always sexual. Financial infidelity can be just as damaging. (KCTV)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

Sexual infidelity can quickly kill a marriage or relationship, but cheating is not always sexual. Financial infidelity can be just as damaging.

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 42 percent of Americans have committed some kind of financial infidelity. In 2014, that number was 33 percent.

Theresa, a Johnson County mother of two, went through a painful divorce where she learned her husband was financially cheating on her.

"I suspected it while we were married just because we struggled and struggled," she said. "I was working multiple jobs. I knew he had a good job."

Theresa didn’t find out exactly how much her husband was making until their 1996 divorce. She says it was double what he told her.

"I was sick. I felt, 'How could I be so stupid?" she said. "I didn’t want my gut feeling to be right. I was angry."

Family law attorney Abraham Kuhl says financial infidelity is common and online banking makes it easy to hide money.

"There are so many different online accounts," said Kuhl. "There are banks that simply do not have a physical presence."

Financial infidelity can range from just a few hundred dollars to millions.

"What usually happens is, it’s a little bit over time," explained Kuhl. "At the end of the day, those lies start to add up. Those lies become big lies."

Kuhl has seen it all from breadwinners to stay-at-home parents lying to their spouse about money. He says both partners need to be honest about what they’re taking home and what they’re spending.

It’s advice Kansas City financial planner Lynn Mayabb agreed with, pointing out new couples should have a talk about finances long before they walk down the aisle.

"If you know you’re going down that path of a serious relationship, you need to have those conversations," said Mayabb. "Much like you’d have a conversation about if we have children, how do you want to raise the children."

She suggests couples talk about their take-home pay and expenses, know what debts each other has, admit if you’re a spender or a saver and come up with a financial plan.


Signs of financial infidelity

  • A partner being over protective of assets and accounts could be a red flag.
  • Look for changes in behavior.
  • If your significant other gets suddenly irritated or emotional when the subject of money comes up, it may be time to start investigating.
  • Keep an eye on the mailbox. While some accounts can be paperless, a stray credit card statement or ‘terms and conditions’ update could come through the mail.

Looking back, Theresa says her marriage taught her a lot.

"I’m big on background checks," said Theresa. "I’m in a relationship now, but prior when I dated, I did a background check. I learned a lot by not doing it."

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