National Survey Uncovers New Information about Sexually Transmitted Debt
Just like the other kind of STD, a relationship can transfer debt that partners
Raleigh, NC – February 7, 2010 – A new national survey a different kind of STD that couples must worry about. Turns out if you marry someone who has debt and doesn’t tell you about it, you may pay the price for years to come. Plus, if your spouse financial promiscuous while you’re married, you may be on the hook to pay off your spouse’s secret spending. The even scarier part – many folks have “sexually transmitted debt” and don’t even know it.
A recent survey of 327 Americans, commissioned by CESI Debt Solutions, a nonprofit agency dedicated to debt-free living, found that 73% of married couples believe spending more than $100 without telling your spouse is unacceptable. The survey also found 79% of those married people are more willing to talk about their financial infidelity with a friend than with their spouse.
The recession has slowed the growth of secret spending, but it hasn’t stopped it. 71% of married couples say they have cut back on the amount of purchases they are hiding from their spouse. By a large margin, women (77%) are more likely to have cut back than men (54%).
“Sexually transmitted debt is a term our staff uses because we were getting calls from people who were not honest with their spouses about the debt they had racked up,” explains Neil Ellington, executive vice president of CESI Debt Solutions. “Through the act of secret spending, or financial infidelity, debt is incurred that spouses can be legally responsible for, although the specifics vary from state to state. Bottom line, spouses can suffer the consequences of the other’s bad spending habits.”
Financial Infidelity is Just As Bad as Sexual Infidelity …
The latest survey revealed 30% of respondents think financial infidelity just as bad as sexual infidelity. 70% thought sexual infidelity was worse.
But Love Still Prevails
Despite the financial infidelity, 60% of married couples say they would still forgive and buy their spouse a gift for Valentine’s Day or another special holiday.
What the Experts Say
Debt counselors at CESI say financial infidelity, or sexually transmitted debt, often leads to bigger problems.
“Couples that won’t honestly talk to their partners about spending will open up to us because they feel safe. So, we often find that the people who keep even small purchases hidden from their spouse are suffering from bigger debt problems,” says Neil Ellington, executive vice president of CESI Debt Solutions.
“There are some states where spouses are legally responsible for their spouses’ debt, whether or not it was incurred before or during their marriage,” he adds. “This inherited debt can be quite problematic on the health of a relationship. That’s why honesty and open communication about money has to be a priority in the relationship.”
The latest findings update a July 2010 survey on marriage and credit cards commissioned by CESI Debt Solutions that found 80% of spouses spend money their spouse doesn’t know about. The breakdown of secret spending shows:
34.5% clothing and accessories
19.5% beauty/personal care items
8.5% childcare/items for children
More than 60% of married people didn’t talk about secret spending to avoid problems at home.
19.9% concern it would end the relationship
43% avoid an argument
46% currently paying off the debt and he/she doesn’t need to know
11% planning to tell spouse, but not ready yet
27% will never tell spouse about my spending.
The survey of married men and women of any sexual preference was conducted by a third party in January 2011.
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About CESI Debt Solutions:
CESI Debt Solutions is a not-for-profit organization for consumers who want financial freedom. CESI offers a complete life cycle of services: debt management, housing counseling, credit counseling, financial education and pre-bankruptcy counseling. Since its inception in 1998, CESI has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide improve their money management skills as well as credit and debt responsibilities. For more information, please visit www.cesidebtsolutions.org.
*UPDATE – 2.10.2011*
We want to give credit where credit is due. It was brought to our attention after we published our survey results that the term used in the release “sexually transmitted debt”, a term that our staff also uses when referring to financial infidelity, is trademarked by VSJ Enterprises. Please credit VSJ Enterprises with coining the term.