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Survey: Deception with Money a Prime Divorce Catalyst

When thirty-one percent of married respondents in a recent survey indicated that they were cheating on their spouses, they weren't talking about affairs with third parties.

Rather, they were talking about deception regarding shared finances, or what is more commonly called "financial infidelity" these days.

And that takes a toll. In the survey -- which was conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education ("NEFE"), a Denver-based nonprofit that seeks to help people make informed and beneficial financial decisions -- 16 percent of those who said they lied about debt, income, purchases or other money matters eventually got a divorce.

And thus the deception and skewed thought process of many people who are hiding money, a second bank account or other financial matter from their spouse. They think that, "If I tell the truth, it could shatter my marriage and end in divorce. If I lie, things might likely become so cumulatively stressful that a divorce will still result."

Ted Beck, the president of NEFE, offers this very candid and simple advice: "If you are getting into an adult relationship, have an adult discussion about money."

That might sound so obvious as to be a mere truism, but, according to NEFE, only about 14 percent of couples actually do discuss money matters prior to getting married or even after being married.

It shouldn't be hard, say financial planners. One divorce financial analyst tells couples to simply start by asking each other about financial priorities and what is important to them. That is general enough to be non-threatening and to solicit further and candid discussion that will far toward transparency in marriage.

Related Resource: CNN Money, "Financial infidelity: Catching a cheating spouse" July 1, 2011

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