It's Your Money  

Dealing with financial infidelity

Financial infidelity problems

Money matters are often considered one of the most sensitive topics in relationships.

Yet, while discussions about trust, fidelity and transparency are common in romantic partnerships, the issue of financial infidelity remains largely unaddressed.

Financial infidelity occurs when one partner hides financial information or engages in financial activities without the knowledge or consent of the other. In Canada, this phenomenon poses a significant threat to the financial wellbeing of individuals and their relationships.

Financial infidelity takes many forms, from secret bank accounts and undisclosed debt to hidden purchases and clandestine investments. Regardless of the specifics, the consequences can be devastating, both financially and emotionally. The breach of trust resulting from financial infidelity can erode the foundation of a relationship, leading to feelings of betrayal, resentment, and insecurity.

One of the most immediate impacts of financial infidelity is the strain it places on a couple's financial situation. Hidden debts, undisclosed expenses, or secret financial transactions can disrupt budgeting efforts and jeopardize long-term financial goals. In extreme cases, financial infidelity may even lead to financial ruin, as the unsuspecting partner is left to deal with the consequences of undisclosed liabilities or mismanaged funds.

Moreover, financial infidelity can have lasting effects on individuals' mental and emotional wellbeing. The sense of betrayal and mistrust that accompanies the discovery of financial infidelity can cause significant psychological distress. Feelings of anger, shame, and guilt may arise, further complicating the already delicate dynamics of the relationship. Left unaddressed, these emotional wounds can fester, leading to long-term damage to individuals' mental health and overall wellbeing.

Beyond the immediate impact on individuals and couples, financial infidelity can have broader implications for Canadians' financial stability and security. In cases where one partner has been financially dependent on the other, the revelation of financial infidelity can leave them vulnerable and exposed. Without access to essential financial resources or knowledge of their true financial situation, individuals may find themselves ill-equipped to navigate the challenges of financial independence.

Furthermore, financial infidelity can hinder individuals' ability to plan for their future and achieve their long-term financial goals. Trust is a fundamental component of successful financial planning and wealth management. When trust is compromised due to financial infidelity, individuals may struggle to make informed decisions about their finances, leading to missed opportunities for growth and prosperity.

Addressing financial infidelity requires open and honest communication between partners. It's essential to create a safe space where both parties feel comfortable discussing their financial concerns and aspirations openly. Couples should establish clear expectations regarding financial transparency and accountability, laying the groundwork for a healthy and trusting relationship.

Seeking professional help from a professional financial planner or therapist can also be beneficial for couples struggling to overcome the impact of financial infidelity. A qualified professional can provide guidance and support as couples work through the challenges of rebuilding trust and restoring financial stability.

Talking about money matters can be hard and sometimes even embarrassing, but by fostering open and honest communication, setting clear expectations and seeking professional guidance when needed, Canadians can mitigate the impact of financial infidelity and build stronger, more resilient relationships based on trust and transparency.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Brett Millard is vice-president and a member of the executive leadership team at FP Canada, the national professional body for the financial planning industry. A not-for-profit organization, FP Canada works in the public interest to foster better financial health for all Canadians by leading the advancement of professional financial planning in Canada. 

He has worked in the financial advice industry for more than 15 years and is designated as a chartered investment manager (CIM) and is a certified financial planner (CFP).

He has written a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges they face in every stage of life. Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority for Brett and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer focus on that initiative. 

Please let Brett know if you have any topics you’d like him to cover in future columns ,or if you’d like a referral to a qualified CFP professional in your area, by emailing him at [email protected].


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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