Survey: 60% of millennial couples experience financial abuse or infidelity

NEW YORK — Money issues can always be a touchy subject when it comes to matters of the heart, and problems seem to crop up especially for younger Americans. A new study finds that a majority of millennial couples have experienced financial abuse or infidelity in their relationships.

Researchers at CentSai, a financial advice firm, surveyed nearly 2,000 millennials, aged 18 to 35, to determine whether they had been the cause or recipient of behaviors constituting financial abuse or infidelity.

Millennial couple
A new study finds that 60 percent of millennial couples experience some form of financial infidelity or abuse — double a survey from a year ago.

Financial abuse was defined by the researchers as behavior used with a romantic or life partner to attempt to gain power or control in a relationship, ranging from limiting a partner’s access to assets to seizing family finances.

Meanwhile, financial infidelity was defined as behavior in which a partner lies about their finances.

A previous survey conducted last year by CentSai found that 30 percent of respondents identified as being victims of financial abuse or infidelity, but didn’t probe into behaviors that partners had experienced.

CentSai’s new study doubled that finding. Researchers found that three-fifths of millennials had been in a relationship in which their partner tried to use manipulation to gain power. An equivalent amount expressed having had a partner who hid money or debt from them.

The incidence of these findings were higher amongst women. Sixty-nine percent of female respondents reported having experienced financial abuse, and 68 percent reported having experienced financial infidelity, compared to only 40 percent and 47 percent of male respondents, respectively.

While the results of CentSai’s previous survey would seem to suggest that many partners are oblivious to the issues of financial infidelity and abuse, 72 percent of respondents in this most recent survey indicated being somewhat or very aware of related issues.

Eighty-five percent of respondents said that they would break up with a partner who caused them financial abuse or infidelity, while less than 10 percent said they would take no action.

“Chances are that in many relationships, perpetrators are not even aware that their behavior constitutes financial abuse or infidelity,” says Doria Lavagnino, CentSai’s co-founder and president, in a company release. “Our hope is that surveys like this and the information we provide on our platform will increase awareness about this issue.”

The study used a randomized sample of participants across the United States.


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