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42% Engage in THIS Kind of Infidelity
Fully two out of five U.S. couples cheat. And it doesn't involve sex. It involves money. Financial infidelity can create the same emotional and economic consequences and can be just as devastating as sexual infidelity, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Sometimes a penny saved is a dollar lost. Find out five myths about saving money and when it doesn't pay to be frugal.

Financial infidelity typically involves secret--and often excessive--credit card spending, as well as hiding receipts and purchased goods.

It can take a while to get caught, but the reckoning comes when a bad credit score surfaces as you're applying for a loan, the credit card is maxed out or a credit card payment is missed.

"When you agree to combine finances in a relationship, you're also agreeing to a certain degree of cooperation and transparency in your money management. It's easier to achieve joint financial goals when your money is pooled and working together. Yet we're seeing the implicit promise of collaboration destroyed by financial game-playing," says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE.

"Financial infidelity hurts regardless of its scale," he adds. "Hiding or lying about small amounts of money can damage a relationship just as effectively as a high-dollar deceit. In fact, in all cases of this deception, people affected say it impacted their relationship in some way--almost always negatively. It causes arguments, erosion of trust, separation or even divorce."

Who are these financial cheaters and how do they cheat?

  • 42 percent of American couples admitted to financial infidelity in 2016, up from 33 percent in 2014 and 31 percent in 2010.

  • Of those who cheat financially, 75 percent say it has hurt their relationship.

  • 30 percent said they concealed a purchase, bank account, statement, bill or cash from their partner or spouse.

  • 16 percent lied about their finances to their spouse, which included earnings and debt.

  • 25 percent are embarrassed or fearful about their finances and don't want their spouse to find out.

  • And there isn't much guilt! Fully 32 percent insist that some part of their finances should be private--even from their spouse.

What can you do to stop financial infidelity in your relationship? The National Endowment for Financial Education advises a three-step solution:
1. Couples must compromise. They should have a joint checking account with each person receiving monthly "play money" with a preset limit. Any expenditure over $200 should be agreed upon jointly.

2. Talk regularly about how you are managing your money.

3. Do not keep financial secrets from each other.

Find out our No. 1 financial regret. (Hint: If you're in your 20s or 30s, pay attention to this--before it's too late for you, too.)

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