Romance is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, but it looks like honesty may not play a part in lots of relationships out there when it comes to money!


Nearly four in 10 Canadians have lied to a romantic partner about money, according to a recent Leger survey commissioned by Credit Canada and the Financial Planning Standards Council ahead of St. Valentine’s Day.

The online poll found that 36 per cent of Canadians surveyed have also  been victims of financial infidelity themselves from a current or former partner.

The offenses, according to the poll, are different with thirteen per cent saying their current partner or an ex cheaped out on their contributions to shared expenses, putting in less than they should have based on their income. Lying about one’s income accounted for 8 per cent of cheating, according to the victims. Another 7 per cent said they were lied to about major expenses, such as a car, a luxury item or even a home. Seven per cent said a current or past significant other kept a “secret stash of cash” from them. Six per cent said the other person took off with all their money. And 4 per cent said they were caught by surprise when a current or former partner went bankrupt.

The most common type of financial dishonesty reported?  The accumulation of credit card bills. About 14 per cent of respondents said a present or past relationship racked up a balance that they had no idea about.

The survey found men and women are equally likely to be the victims of financial infidelityregardless of household income levels.

As far as age goes its was millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) were found more likely (47 per cent) to say they have been on the receiving end of financial unfaithfulness. That share stands at 41 per cent among 35- to 54-year-olds, and drops significantly for older Canadians.

Tips to Avoid Financial Dishonesty

Financial experts say it is important to come clean with money matters before you commit.  If you’re thinking about moving in together, it’s time to lay bare each other’s finances. Here are the things you should ask to know about and be prepared to show, according to the experts:

Credit score
All bank accounts and savings
All credit cards and their balances
All investments

Dig Deeper

Checking each other’s credit scores isn’t enough, says a licensed insolvency trustee.  That’s because people can keep up solid credit score by simply making timely minimum payments on credit card or other debt. 

The second order of business when you’re thinking of tying your financial future to someone else’s is making sure you share the same, or at least compatible, financial goals.  Are you a penny pincher and they are a big spender?  That could cause big problems down the road.

After You Are Together

Once you have decided to take the leap together, “total transparency” is the way to go say experts.  Consider sharing bank accounts and adding each other as co-signatories on every credit card, which allows you to build your credit score individually, but be up to date on all household transactions.  With this is mind though it is also recommended that there is some “personal money” i.e. autonomy included in the mix.

Final Thoughts

Debts racked by in one person’s name alone do not become the spouse or common-law partner’s debttoo, but remember when it comes down to it creditors can come after half of the couple’s shared assets to recoup unpaid balances.


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