Financial Infidelity

martinis and your money

Financial Infidelity

On Monday’s blog post, I shared a little bit about my thoughts around the subject of financial infidelity and today, Paul Golden from The National Endowment for Financial Education, or NEFE, joins me to discuss this in greater detail. NEFE has been following this issue closely for the last 6 years, and Paul shares with me some of the reasons why this happens and how couples can avoid or move forward from financial infidelity.

This episode is sponsored by new podcast sponsor DIY Fund. I hope that you check them out to support the podcast and support their site which gives people the tools they need to invest like professionals.


PAUL — Basic martini



  • Financial Infidelity ranges from a person hiding purchases, receipts, cash on the side, to people hiding entire accounts, the amount of debt they have, etc.
  • NEFE wants to get to the bottom of this issue and find out why this happens.
  • 42% of people in relationships and have combined finances are saying they are committing financial infidelity.
  • It’s not the most romantic thing to talk about, but it is critically important!
  • Paul advises those that have committed financial infidelity to:
    • Acknowledge your problem
    • Figure out why you did it
      • Are you not talking to your partner for fear they will judge you or disagree with you?
    • Talk to your partner about it and have a money conversation
  • Shannon advises her clients to have money dates to address financial issues.
  • Money dates often bring couples closer together.
  • Shannon says she sees the most success with clients who have a joint checking account.
  • That joint account is a connector for couples.
  • 32% of people say there are some financial things you shouldn’t share.
  • However, Paul & Shannon both agree that sharing all financial issues early in a relationship is the best for both partners.
  • If you are not involved in your relationship’s finances and want to be more involved, you need to step up and tell your partner so.
  • Paul suggests taking a financial quiz to show your differences on finances.
  • Newlyweds will have a completely different perspective on this than re-married couples.
  • This Valentine’s Day, have a money conversation with your partner!





NEFE Resources for Consumers

Smart About Money

LifeValues Quiz

Have you or someone you know committed financial infidelity? How did you move forward from it?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Financial infidelity confuses me. Maybe because I’ve pretty much always been the CFO in this relationship. (We moved in together very quickly.) So the idea of not knowing how your partner is spending his or her money just doesn’t compute.

    But more importantly, I just can’t fathom hiding such important stuff from the person you love and have a life with. Just… how could you?

  2. I have been on the side of infidelity, and I have to tell you fear of being judged and shame at not having similar values that my partner has was a large driver. I was not brave enough to stand up and push back on things I had strong feelings about. Peace seemed like a better option than constantly fighting over the fact that I had a feeling that since he was being the CFO – he had the power and when I asked for things that were important to me, it felt like we blew past my things.

    I love and care deeply for him and had enmeshed myself (for myriad reasons that I am untangling) in his not disapproving of me.

    He is also a human who is very determined, proud, decisive and the shadow sides of that are judgment and shaming. I am very easy going and accommodating and my shadow side is people pleasing, hiding. A conversation between someone know knows they are right (the end) and someone who feels like they have to defend themselves (the end) is not fruitful.

    How could I? We did not feel like a team when it came to money. I felt like someone who kept putting money in the pot and when we got some breathing room, he pulled the belt in tighter, when we met a goal he raised the goal post.

    So – now we are starting to have conversations that open doors and I see where I monkey dance and hide and he sees where he puffs up and gets louder and bigger so folks “do right.”

    So for me it was a shitpot of shame, boatload of (outward) people pleasing, and a lot of power play. Cannot speak for anyone else and probably do not even have a full grip on the whys of my behavior either.

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