• Alan Jacobs

Their Cheating Heart, Your Damaged Retirement Plan

You can remain physically faithful to a spouse or partner in a relationship, yet betray trust in other ways. Financial infidelity not only damages, it can sever, a bond.

Financial infidelity is a many-headed beast: It could be debts accumulated before a marriage that go undisclosed, a secret account, unbridled credit card bills or money problems triggered by substance abuse or a gambling addiction.

In a recent survey conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education, a surprising number of spouses admitted to having been financially unfaithful. Two in five people polled said they had “committed some act of financial deception,” and 85 percent of those people said the indiscretion affected the relationship, with the effects varying from the low level — an argument — to separation or divorce.

This excellent article by John F. Wasik in the New York Times outlines how, when partners don’t trust each other with money, it can disrupt their entire relationship and can lead to estrangement or divorce. Extensive research shows that conflicts over money are one of the leading causes of divorce. The linchpin is rebuilding trust.

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