Nearly two-thirds (60%) of millennials say their romantic partner has either lied about money, hid debt, or used money to manipulate or gain power in the relationship, a new survey reported Tuesday.
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CentSai, an online financial site targeting millennials, conducted the survey of 2,000 adults ages 18 to 35. The company says the most surprising part of the study was not only that the incidence of financial infidelity doubled from the previous year (around 30% in 2016) but that most respondents didn’t even realize that they were victims of this type of abuse.
“Our hunch was that if we avoided labels and simply described the behavior associated with financial abuse and infidelity, more people would realize they have been impacted," said Doria Lavagnino, CentSai president and co-founder in an interview with FOX Business. "In short, the biggest finding was that a lot of people have been suffering from financial abuse and infidelity but likely not aware of it. Now, more people are recognizing it and discussing it."
Lavagnino also adds that the uptick in cases stems from an increase in awareness surrounding the issue recent years.
“Ten years ago people spoke about domestic abuse but not financial abuse or infidelity. In general, there is a greater awareness of subordination and the various ways it can manifest in relationships. These topics –whether it is sexual abuse or financial infidelity–are no longer taboo,” she says.
Additionally, 78% of those surveyed said that they believe financial institutions have a responsibility to educate consumers about it, especially women, who are the most prone to the abuse. The survey says 69% of females reported experiencing financial abuse from their partner, while 68% of women reported behaviors constituting financial infidelity. Just 40% of men reported financial abuse and 47% reported financial infidelity.
CentSai says there are various forms of financial abuse that can be either subtle or overt, but in general, include tactics to limit a partner’s access to assets and family finances, and financial infidelity occurs when someone with combined finances lies to their partner about money.