More than half of the 2,200 people who responded to...

More than half of the 2,200 people who responded to a recent survey admitted to having cried because they didn't have enough money. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/tommaso altamura

Confession is good for the soul, and your finances.

A new study, "The Secret Financial Lives of Americans," from Nonfiction Research, a research organization in Brooklyn, reveals that when it comes to money, plenty of folks are living double lives.

The stats are sobering. According to the report, 52 percent of the more than 2,200 people who responded to the survey admitted to having cried because they didn’t have enough money. Among the reasons: 37 percent went to sleep hungry because they didn’t have money for food, 12 percent had stolen something and 5 percent admitted to having taken half eaten food out of a garbage can.

If you think the tears were only flowing from the down and out, think again: Even among those who earned over $200,000 a year, 41 percent cried because they didn’t have enough money.

You can fool people, but at some point, reality bites and you can’t kid yourself.

Take off the mask

If you live in a big home, drive an expensive car, wear designer clothes, and yet you are barely able to pay your bills, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, you can change your behavior. Buy what you can afford. Live within your means.

What are you chasing?

Forget keeping up with the Joneses, they are broke.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover. You can make a million dollars a year and have no savings. You can make $30K a year and have great credit scores,” says Andrew Weinberg, principal at Silver Fin Capital Group, a mortgage broker in Great Neck.

Avoid a slippery slope

Individuals who are trying to keep up appearances often experience a snowball affect. “It starts with small bad habits and compounds day after day. The spending increases until it reaches the tipping point of financial ruin. These individuals that are highly leveraged completely ignore the realities of their debt,” says Ryan Fisher, president of White Coat Wealth Management in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Face the truth

“Fortunately, it takes one realization to get your finances back on track," Fisher says. "Acknowledge you have a problem and reach out for help. Financial planners are there to help sort through the good, bad and ugly.”

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