A Third of Couples Keep ‘Secret Savings’

Almost a third of couples (31 per cent) have a secret savings or investment account that their partner doesn’t know about, new research has found.

Furthermore, seven per cent of couples keep savings of more than £50,000 hidden from their partner, and men are more likely than women to keep their savings under wraps.

According to the latest survey from Prudential, these secret savings are indicative of a wider trend where UK couples hide money issues from each other. One fifth (21 per cent) of those surveyed said that their partner doesn’t even know how much they earn, while 19 per cent hide their debts.

One third (33 per cent) of those who keep secret savings plan to use them to fund their retirement, while 13 per cent said that they simply do not trust their partner to make the right decisions about money.

Another 13 per cent keep a secret account so that they can buy the things they want, while 10 per cent want to have financial security in case they ever split up. An alarming six per cent of those who keep a secret income from their partner are using it to support another partner or family.

“Saving money is always a good idea but doing it so you are protected in the event of a relationship breaking down means missing out on potential tax benefits,” said Kirsty Anderson, a retirement income expert at Prudential.

“At any stage of a relationship it is important to have open and honest conversations about finances, but it becomes especially relevant when approaching retirement as decisions made then will impact the rest of your life. Paying off debts in retirement can have a serious negative impact on how far your pension savings go, so have the conversation now and try to clear these debts while you are still working.

“Couples approaching retirement should consider speaking to a financial adviser about their income and working out a plan for funding their lifestyle. It is vital to open up with each other about any secret savings or debt in advance though!”

The findings were carried out as part of Prudential’s ongoing research into the retirement aspirations and financial planning of UK couples aged 40 and over.

It found that there is a “gender trust gap” whereby men are more likely to hide their savings, with 33 per cent keeping a secret fund, compared with 28 per cent of women.

However, women are more than twice as likely to keep secret savings as security in case of a breakup.

Kathryn Gaw

Kathryn Gaw is a financial journalist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has been writing about personal finance and investment trends for more than a decade, and her work has been featured in the Financial Times, City A.M., the Press Association, and The Irish Independent, among many other publications.