With new research revealing we keep an average of £4,000 secret from our other halves, perhaps we aren’t as trusting in our relationships as we thought.
Around a quarter of couples keep their current accounts entirely separate, a study by Prudential shows.
Additionally, 25 per cent of those surveyed admitted to keeping a stash of money secret from their partner, with an average secret savings pot of £4,000.
Many said their secret stash is to pay for something specific in the future such as a car or a dream holiday.
Couples aren’t talking about finances
Around 6 per cent of couples admit they have never discussed their finances together and a further 12 per cent have not discussed money for over a year.
It appears some couples are even reluctant to tell their partners how much they earn.
Some 13 per cent of those asked said they have never told their other half what their wages are and claim their partner has a false impression of their earnings.
The report also showed many couples have received at least one bonus payment that they kept quiet.
Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: "Many people may have perfectly valid reasons for keeping a stash of savings or personal debts secret from their other halves.
"However, these financial secrets could pose a serious risk to a couple's future retirement income."
Why people don't trust their partners
The reasons given for not coming clean on finances with partners are:
- 51 per cent say the main motive for keeping extra income separate is to maintain independence.
- A generous 29 per cent do so to buy gifts for their other half.
- 22 per cent of the secret savers say they don’t trust their partner's financial decision making.
- 16 per cent keep secret funds to protect themselves financially in case of a future split.
This culture of secrecy could also be partly as a result of fears that financial conversations will spark arguments at home.
Money is behind only household chores and family issues as a subject most likely to cause domestic disagreement, according to the research.
Smith-Hughes said such money secrecy could be leading to couples jeopardising a comfortable retirement by keeping debts hidden from their other halves.
These debts were worth an average of £7,800, the survey showed.
Couples avoid retirement planning together
Many couples over the age of 40 have avoided discussing their retirement plans in the last five years.
Some 11 per cent have never even mentioned it, according to the new research.
However, 14 per cent admit that they or their partner have seen a financial adviser alone to discuss retirement planning.
Smith-Hughes added: "If a couple reach retirement with savings that are secret from one another they may have missed out on years of tax relief.
"They would have been entitled to this relief if the money had been invested in a pension."
Couples’ retirement fund expectations
Avoiding discussions around retirement can lead to a mismatch in how much money each half of a couple expects to live on in retirement.
When asked separately to estimate the couple’s expected joint retirement income, men said £35,100 on average and women £32,000.
"Having those potentially awkward conversations so that both partners get a full understanding of their joint financial circumstances is important", Smith-Hughes said.
"This is the first step for a couple planning for a comfortable retirement."
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