Signs of Financial Cheating by Tracy Coenen: A #RetireSooner Highlight in #ForensicAccounting

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Welcome to my latest blog post, where we’ll be exploring the topic of financial cheating and its warning signs. This is a #ForensicAccounting highlight, featuring expert insights from Tracy Coenen, who has extensive experience in investigating financial fraud and misconduct. As we delve into this crucial subject, you’ll learn about common signs of financial cheating, such as secretive behavior, unexplained expenses, and irregular financial activity. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to recognize financial deceit in your own life and take steps to protect your finances. So, let’s get started!


Financial infidelity is a term used to describe secretive and deceitful behavior around money matters in a relationship. In a recent episode of Retire Sooner podcast, Tracy Coenen, a forensic accountant and fraud investigator, discussed potential signs of financial infidelity that individuals should be aware of. Financial cheating can take many forms, and it is essential to recognize them early on in a relationship to prevent long term damage. In this article, we will explore the potential behavioral signs of financial infidelity, how it can impact your relationship, and steps you can take to prevent it.

Signs of Financial Infidelity

Tracy Coenen states that although financial infidelity can vary from one couple to another, most cases share common behavioral changes that can indicate financial cheating. Here are some potential signs to look out for:

Being More Controlling With Money

If your partner suddenly becomes more controlling with money, it could be a sign of financial infidelity. For example, they may insist on managing the finances by themselves and become defensive or aggressive when questioned about their spending habits.

Secretive Behavior

Another sign of financial infidelity is secretive behavior, such as hiding bank statements, receipts, or credit card bills from their partner. They may also become more protective of their phone and social media accounts and reluctant to share personal information about their finances.

Change in Spending Habits

If your partner’s spending habits have changed dramatically, this could also indicate financial infidelity. For instance, they may start making large purchases without consulting you or taking on new debts that you were not previously aware of.

Changes in Phone Habits

Tracy Coenen also highlights changes in phone habits as a red flag for financial infidelity. If your partner suddenly keeps their phone with them all the time, becomes secretive about their texts or calls, or is only available at certain times, it could indicate that they are hiding something from you.

Associated With Affairs

Financial infidelity is often associated with affairs, which can be expensive and require hidden spending. For example, if your partner suddenly starts spending a lot on gifts for someone else or frequently visiting specific places without your knowledge, it could indicate that they are engaged in an affair.

Understanding the Impact of Financial Infidelity

Financial cheating can have a severe impact on a relationship. Not only can it lead to financial problems, but it can also lead to trust issues and resentment. Financial infidelity can indicate a lack of intimacy and honesty in the relationship, making it harder to build a healthy and meaningful partnership.

Prevention and Recovery

The best way to prevent financial infidelity is to keep an open and honest dialogue about finances in the relationship. Be transparent with each other about your financial situation, set mutual financial goals, and be aware of your partner’s spending habits. Building mutual trust and respect is a crucial step in preventing financial cheating.

If you have already experienced financial infidelity in your relationship, recovering can be challenging, but not impossible. The first step is to communicate your feelings openly and honestly with your partner, seek support from a therapist, and work together to address the underlying issues. In some cases, you may need to seek the help of a financial advisor or a forensic accountant to help you sort out your money matters.


  1. Can financial infidelity lead to legal consequences?
  • Financial infidelity can lead to legal consequences in extreme cases, such as fraudulently obtaining a loan or using funds from a joint account without the other person’s consent.
  1. How can I confront my partner about suspected financial infidelity?
  • The best approach is to be calm and respectful when talking to your partner. Explain your concerns and provide specific examples of the behavior that has raised suspicions.
  1. How can I rebuild trust after financial infidelity?
  • Rebuilding trust takes time and patience. It’s essential to be transparent about your finances, take responsibility for your actions, and demonstrate a willingness to change.
  1. How can a forensic accountant help in cases of financial infidelity?
  • A forensic accountant can help uncover hidden assets, identify fraud, and provide expert testimony in court.
  1. Is financial infidelity more common among certain demographics?
  • Financial infidelity can affect anyone in any type of relationship, regardless of age, income, or gender. However, studies show that it may be more prevalent among higher-earning couples or those who marry later in life.


Financial infidelity can be destructive to a relationship, but by identifying the potential signs early on, you can take steps to prevent it from happening. Open communication, mutual trust, and transparency are vital in building a healthy and meaningful partnership. Seek help immediately if you suspect financial cheating in your relationship, and take the necessary steps to recover and rebuild trust.

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