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Financial infidelity could lead to divorce

Despite the continuing reports that the economic recession is over, many Las Vegas residents continue to feel the pinch of a tough financial situation. High mortgage payments, credit card debt and medical bills leave many people without much, if any, money left over at the end of the month. However, old habits break hard, and some people continue to spend as they did before the recession hit, which can lead to feelings of guilt. These feelings, can, in turn, motivate a spender to hide purchases from his or her spouse.

Secretive spending is one form of what is being called financial infidelity, a broad term used to describe any form of lying about money. According to family law experts, such infidelity is more common during hard economic times, and divorce is commonly the result.

Financial infidelity includes hiding extra money, maintaining a secret bank account, hiding debt or purchases from a spouse or simply lying about money. In a recent survey conducted by the nonprofit group the National Endowment for Financial Education, more than half of respondents admitted that they have hid money or a minor purchase from a spouse or partner at some point, and one-third stated that they have lied about income or debt. Approximately 15 percent of respondents stated that their financial infidelity ultimately led to a break-up or divorce.

Experts advise that couples begin relationships by being upfront about money, and by discussing their financial priorities. In addition, couples should get regular credit reports and examine them together to ensure that they are on the same financial page.

Source: CNN Money, "Financial infidelity: Catching a cheating spouse," Jessica Dickler, 1 July 2011

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