January 13, 2011 / 6:03 PM / 7 years ago

Three in 10 Americans commit financial infidelity?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three in 10 Americans commit “financial infidelity” by lying to their spouses about money, sometimes suffering consequences such as separation or divorce, according to a new survey.

The Harris Interactive online poll of 2,019 adults released on Thursday showed 31 percent of American couples who have combined finances were not truthful about issues such as hiding cash or a bank account or about debt or earnings.

“Financial infidelity may be the new normal,” said Forbes.com, which commissioned the survey with the National Endowment for Financial Education.

One-third of respondents also say they have been deceived, and both sexes lie to their partners about money in equal numbers.

“These indiscretions cause significant damage to the relationship,” said Ted Beck, chief executive of the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Sixteen percent of couples affected by financial infidelity said the deception led to a divorce and 11 percent said it caused a separation. Sixty-seven percent said it led to an argument and for 42 percent it lessened trust in the relationship.

The most common lie, at 58 percent, was hiding cash. Fifty-four percent of respondents admitted hiding a minor purchase, 30 percent hid a bill, 16 percent did not disclose a major purchase and 15 percent hid a bank account.

Eleven percent lied about debt and an equal number were untruthful about earnings, the survey showed.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Patricia Reaney

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