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How to Tackle Financial Infidelity

Woman commits financial infidelity by shopping secretly

Tips to Help Couples Recover From Financial Betrayal

You may have heard of Ryan Reynold’s financial infidelity in his marriage to Blake Lively. Reynolds confessed on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he spent $2.75 million to purchase a Welsh soccer team without first discussing it with his wife.1

Unfortunately, acts of financial infidelity such as this are not uncommon. According to a survey by U.S. News & World Report, approximately 30% of Americans have dealt with financial infidelity.2 The most common examples include the following:

  • 4% – Keeping purchases secret
  • 7% – Hiding debts or accounts
  • 6% – Lying about income
  • 4% – Draining money from savings
  • 9% – Lending without consent3

How can you and your spouse recover from financial infidelity? Consider taking the following actions.

Discuss your feelings and the impact the infidelity had on your relationship.

One of the first steps to recover from financial infidelity is by talking about it. If you were the victim of infidelity, how did that make you feel? What can your spouse do to help you regain trust in him/her?

If you were the one who committed financial infidelity, what are the reasons behind it? Do you feel that your partner is overly controlling with the finances? Maybe you desire to keep up with the Joneses? Whatever the reason for your indiscretion, work with your spouse to address the underlying cause and move forward together in a positive manner.

Discuss your money values.

Financial infidelity often occurs among couples who have different values when it comes to saving, spending and investing. Perhaps one partner values image and is willing to go into debt to purchase a fancy car, big house and nice clothing. In contrast, the other partner may value security and prioritize saving in an emergency fund while living a lifestyle that’s well within the couple’s financial means.

It’s important to share your own money values and gain an understanding of your spouse’s if you’re going to move forward as a team. Try to find common ground and agree on a financial strategy that meets both your needs. A good wealth manager can help facilitate a productive conversation and help you move forward with confidence.

Set common financial goals.

Without shared financial goals, it can be difficult for two people with different financial priorities to reconcile their saving and spending habits. Work together to establish financial goals that you both feel good about. Maybe you share the dream of retiring to a warm climate or hope to someday travel the world together. Remaining focused on shared financial goals can help both partners resist the urge to hide their financial transgressions.

Establish a budget.

It’s not anyone’s favorite task, but establishing a budget (and sticking to it!) can go a long way toward getting both partners on the same financial page. Take a hard look at your savings, spending and priorities and establish a reasonable budget that you’re both comfortable living with.

Give each other an “allowance.” 

This can be a way to allow room for each other’s different spending habits. Consider establishing separate checking accounts in each spouse’s name. Then, decide together on a monthly amount or “allowance” that will be deposited every month into each account. Give each other the freedom to spend that money as you wish. Providing each other the opportunity to spend on small purchases without judgement can help you both stick to a budget while also maintaining a sense of financial freedom.

If you could use some help recovering from financial infidelity, Creative Planning is here for you. Our experienced professionals understand the many challenges that couples face while navigating their finances. We’re here to help ensure financial harmony, both today and long into the future. Schedule a call to learn more.


  1. https://zoefin.com/learn/financial-infidelity/
  2. https://money.usnews.com/credit-cards/articles/survey-30-have-either-committed-financial-infidelity-or-been-a-victim
  3. https://money.usnews.com/credit-cards/articles/survey-30-have-either-committed-financial-infidelity-or-been-a-victim

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only, should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.


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