Nearly a fifth of Canadians keep financial secrets from their partners

Survey bares numbers behind prevalence, amount, and types of financial infidelity in Canada

Nearly a fifth of Canadians keep financial secrets from their partners

The decision to not be financially open with your spouse or significant other can have serious and potentially life-altering consequences. But as a new survey suggests, Canadians in committed relationships are leaving themselves open to the risks of financial infidelity.

According to the Cost of Love survey conducted by, 16% of Canadians in committed relationships hide financial secrets from their partners, including hidden cash, accounts, and debt. Among those secret-keepers, nearly half (47%) said their financial secret amounts to $1,000 or more, while 17% said theirs was worth at least $10,000.

The incidence of infidelity was notably high among millennials aged 18 to 34 at 29%; among all respondents, men were found to be more likely than women to lie about money (19% vs. 13%). Canadians who are dating (23%) or engaged (24%) were also more likely to hide financial secrets than those who were separated or married (14% for both groups).

The survey found that Canadians who withhold financial details from their partners have different types of secrets, including:

  • Purchases (31%);
  • A poor credit score (28%);
  • Hidden cash (21%);
  • Secret bank account (14%);
  • Secret line of credit or long-term loan (10%);
  • Secret credit card (8%);
  • Secret investments (9%); and
  • Secret payday loan (5%)

When asked what they think the consequences would be if their financial secrets were discovered, 50% said that nothing would happen. Just over a fifth said they’d fight and find a solution (22%) or don’t know what would happen (21%). Only 2% felt that it would lead to a break-up, and 1% predicted divorce.

Fighting and finding a solution was more common as a response among respondents who are married (23%) or dating (22%) than among those separated (6%) or engaged (13%). And while Canadians aged 44 and over were the least likely age group to cite that result (14%), they were also the most likely to say that nothing would happen (56%).

“Hiding a poor credit score or a large sum of debt can have consequences in the future, especially for partners buying their first home or financing a car,” said Sara Kesheh, vice president, Money, “Being transparent and taking the right steps to manage debt or correct poor credit can prevent disappointment and further financial woes.”


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