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40% of Britons admit to hiding cash from a partner

Nearly two in five Britons in a relationship have hidden money from their partner, according to a report published for Valentine’s Day.

Even though two-thirds of the couples surveyed in a poll for insurer Aviva hold a joint current account, 38 per cent had a secret bank account or cash put away without their partner’s knowledge. 

One-fifth of respondents said they stowed away cash in case their relationship broke down.

Meanwhile, a quarter said they argued about money at least once a week, with a third adding they were increasingly doing so due to growing financial pressure in the cost of living crisis.

“Individual responsibility for our finances today is greater than it’s ever been and in so many walks of financial life, we’re having to take control of these issues ourselves,” said Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva.

He argued that couples should be open about their finances with each other to build strong foundations for the future. 

Aviva has warned that couples who fail to discuss their finances could be negatively impacting retirement and housebuying plans, as inflationary pressures are also eating into people’s ability to save.

The Aviva survey was conducted by Censuswide in January, a month after consumer inflation climbed to over 10 per cent, with food prices rising at 16.9 per cent. Interest rates have also increased significantly, with many consumers expected to pay more for mortgages and other loans. 

Around 18 per cent of the poll’s respondents said they argued with their significant other over debt, with 15 per cent stating they had withheld information, such as concealing undisclosed loans.

McQueen said that many individuals had saved during the pandemic and this had limited demand for new loans.

The vast majority, about 93 per cent of those polled, had less than £3,000 tucked away from their partners. However, the remaining 7 per cent averaged around £17,000. Aviva did not ask respondents how long they had been in a relationship. 

Margot De Broglie, co-founder of financial education app Your Juno, said greater transparency could go some way towards easing tensions between partners. She said it was important for couples to “make sure they’re still on the same page and correct course if anything is going in the wrong direction”. 

Your Juno is tailored towards women and non-binary people at the start of their savings journey. De Broglie said that 46 per cent of Your Juno users in a relationship kept their money separate from their partner, while 72 per cent had an emergency fund. 

De Broglie encouraged couples to schedule “money dates” after payday each month, to review the previous month’s spending and discuss future goals and expenses. She said this could be a fun opportunity to address any unevenness in expenses which built up over time.

Meanwhile, McQueen said it was unclear whether many people’s savings could survive long enough to see them through inflationary times. Secret or not, the cash stash will be under pressure.

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