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Hidden accounts, secret debts and quiet overspending: Why are we hiding our personal finances from loved ones?

While romance may be brewing ahead of Valentine's Day, so are some dirty secrets. 

About 44% of U.S. adults admit to hiding a bank account or debt, or  to spending more money than their partner would be comfortable with,  according to a new study from, which surveyed 1,378 adults who are married, in a civil partnership or living with their partner. That number was  included in a survey of 2,501 adults from

So why  are people committing financial infidelity? More than one-third say they do it for privacy or a desire to control their own finances. 

“Money is such a taboo,” says Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at “People would rather talk about other uncomfortable  topics like religion or political views than money. This is really  unfortunate because hiding that kind of a secret can hold back your  financial future and undermine trust.”

Roughly 34% of the 1,378 respondents say they believe they’ve spent more than their significant other would tolerate. 

About 17% of those surveyed have kept a secret account (10% credit card, 9%  savings, 8% checking) while 12% have carried some amount of hidden  debt. 

Americans between the ages of 24 and 39 in relationships are much more likely  than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers to have committed financial infidelity  with their partner, the study shows. 

One reason why: Millennials  are more likely than Gen Xers and boomers to have divorced parents,  which has likely caused them to be more protective of their own  finances, according to experts. Overall, 57% of these millennials have  committed financial infidelity compared with 45% of Gen Xers and 37% of  Boomers.

Over one-quarter of adults say that financial infidelity  is worse than an affair. That was out of a larger pool of  respondents regardless of relationship status. 

Men (47%) were slightly more likely than women (43%) to admit to keeping a financial secret.

About 21% of respondents say they have kept their finances hidden in case a relationship ends poorly.

Those in the highest income bracket, making at least $80,000 a year, were  much more likely (39%) than those in lower-income brackets (20%) to say  they kept secret finances because they were “embarrassed” about the way  they handled their money.

“An awful lot of people are keeping  financial secrets from their partner,” Rossman says. “But these topics  don't have to be scary, intimidating or embarrassing. If you're sharing a life with somebody, it's something you need to talk about.”