Money secrets

More than 1 in 10 Brits are not being entirely honest with their partners when it comes to finances. The survey, which questioned more than 2,000 adults aged 18+, found that:

- 11% of Brits with a partner are hiding their savings or personal debt, or both, from their partners

- 7% of Brits with a partner are deliberately concealing savings, while 5% are keeping their partners in the dark about their personal debt

- women are more likely to hide savings (8%), while men are equally likely to keep quiet about both debt (6%) and savings (6%)

The survey also shows some regional differences, with London (17%) and East of England (15%) being the most secretive when it comes to finances. However, while Londoners are more likely to be secretive about personal debt (12%), their counterparts in East England are more likely to hide savings (13%).

In contrast, the Scots and people from the South East are least likely to keep financial secrets from their partners. But while the share of the Scots hiding savings (4%) and personal debt (4%) is evenly split, people from the South Easts are more likely to hide savings (5%) than debt (3%).

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement, commented: “Money has been found to be our most common source of stress, followed by work and health. It is therefore concerning that one-in-ten people are not being open with their partner when it comes to their finances. In England and Wales alone, nearly 25 million people are either married or in a civil partnership. So, one-in-ten equates to more than two million people keeping things secret. Sharing an understanding of finances allows partners to plan together; reduces the likelihood for arguments over money; and helps both to financially prepare for the unexpected. As with so many things in life, when it comes to money and relationships, it’s good to talk.”

The survey found that more than half (60%) of respondents with a partner have at least one joint account with their significant other. However, the study also reveals that nearly one quarter (24%) of Brits with shared finances didn’t discuss how finances will be shared with their partner before they started sharing them, while nearly two thirds (63%) of couples have not discussed a “financial breakup”.

While 13% of respondents with shared finances said to have thought about what will happen to joint finances in case of breakup, exactly one half (50%) admitted they didn’t think about it nor discussed it with their partner. Both men and women were found equally unprepared for a “financial breakup” with just 33% men and 30% women saying they have a plan for joint finances in case of a breakup and to have discussed it with their partner.  

Alistair McQueen noted: “The average age of divorce in the UK has risen to an all-time high. For a man in an opposite-sex marriage it is now 46. And for a woman it is 43-and-a-half. Back in 1950, the ages were 37 and 34, respectively. And the only age group to have experienced an increase in divorce rates over the past decade is the over-50s. As we age we typically accumulate more wealth. The financial consequences of a separation are therefore likely to increase as we grow older too. An open understanding of each other’s finances may help to ease any strains in our relationships. And it may also help to find a more positive and quicker resolution should any sad separation follow.”

This research was carried out through a YouGov survey for Aviva