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  • Are you keeping any money secrets?

    29% of people hide some aspect of their finances from their partner. But does this have a long-term impact?

    Last Updated: 1 January 2003

    Nearly 1 in 3 people are keeping money secrets at home*.

    Among younger men, this is more prominent – particularly around unknown pensions, spending on essentials and growing debts. But women aren’t perfect either, with a number of us hiding debt from our partners.

    But what are the consequences for keeping money secrets?

    In this article, we explore if money secrets have a long-term impact, but this isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure if a course of action is right for you, ask for financial advice.

    1. What happens when you lie about earnings?

    You may have a good reason to be hiding your income, but there are a few things to consider if you are.

    If you’re splitting household costs according to earnings, then you may not be paying your fair share. Which will have its own consequences if it ever comes to light.

    If you have children together, you will need to share the costs associated with them. So, lying about your income runs the risk you’re short-changing other members of your family.

    This secrecy can also influence your future financial planning as a couple. Take, for instance, the desire to purchase a house and secure a mortgage. If you’ve been less than truthful about your financial situation, you might encounter an unwelcome surprise when you attempt to get a mortgage in principle.

    2. What about debt?

    There are a number of people that are carrying debt secrets.

    And hidden and growing debts can become a bigger issue over time.

    If you’re running up joint debts your partner will be liable to pay them as well as you. And if you don’t make repayments, it will affect your partner’s credit rating too. Debt can also damage your ability to pay your share of the bills.

    But the emotional impacts can often be worse than the ability to pay debts. So, don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it.

    Get help on how to control your debt here

    3. The impact of hidden savings

    If you’re hiding savings, because you’re putting money aside for both of you, it may be harmless.

    Yet, if you’re hiding your personal savings because you want to prioritise your needs without consultation, it could potentially cause problems. Yes, we should try have a YES fund just in case life gets tricky, but if your partner is struggling with the weight of responsibility for the finances, it’s worth chipping in.

    Hiding that you’ve spent your savings is another matter, and there’s a small amount of people who do this. This could mean your partner has a false sense of security – which could cause horrible problems when reality dawns.

    It’s clear that having money secrets has significant effects over both the short term and long term.

    While it’s easier to just bottle things up, it’s important we have conversations about money – no matter how difficult that conversation may be.

    So, if you have money secrets, why not rip off the band-aid and start that conversation today?

    *Figures from a survey of 2,000 people by Opinium for Hargreaves Lansdown in May 2023.

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