'New normal' finds one-third hiding cash, debt

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Everybody knows the love of money is the root of all evil, but a new study suggests Americans may love their money even more than their spouse.

Forbes released a new survey Thursday of over 2,000 American adults showing 3 out of 10 couples who have combined finances are guilty of “financial infidelity”, or lying to their spouses about how they spend their money.

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In what the financial magazine dubs “the new normal”, 31 percent of couples admitted to hiding cash or entire bank accounts and concealing any personal earnings or debt — often leading to separation or divorce, according to the survey.

The Harris Interactive online poll, which conducted the survey along with the National Endowment for Financial Education, says by far the most common deception was hiding cash, which 58 percent admitted doing, while approximately the same number of respondents confessed to hiding a minor purchase, along with up to 30 percent who said they hid a bill or a bank account.

Nearly one-third of respondents accused their spouse of lying to them about finances and say both sexes are equally deceptive when it comes to money.

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

But while financial infidelity appears to be widespread in the U.S., less than one-fifth of couples said the deception resulted in divorce.

Fighting and loss of trust, however, were much more common, at 67 percent and 42 percent respectively.

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