20% of over 40s hide debts from their partner

13 December 2013

A fifth of couples over 40 are concealing debts of £7,800 from one another and jeopardising their future finances, according to a survey by Prudential.

Almost half of them said they wracked up the debt as a result of everyday living costs, while more than a third blamed an emotional event such as a break up. However, 16% admitted to borrowing money to give to an ex.

A further 10% of over-40s said their partner has a false impression of what they earn, with more than a third of them stating their partner believed they earned more than actually did.

Meanwhile, others admitted to saving and investing in secret, with 22% of couples confessing to keeping quiet about a rainy-day pot because they don’t trust their partner’s financial decision-making.

The average money pot built up was £4,000 on average.

“These financial secrets could pose a serious risk to a couple’s future retirement income,” said Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential.

“Making repayments in retirement on an unexpected debt will have an obviously negative impact on a couple’s income,” he added.

Even secret savings can have consequences late on. “For example, if a couple reach retirement with savings that are secret from one another they may have missed out on years of tax relief that they would have been entitled to if the money had been invested in a pension,” Smith-Hughes explained.

He urges couples to have those potentially awkward conversations so that both partners get a full understanding of their joint financial circumstances if they want to secure a comfortable retirement.

So what other financial secrets are being kept by over 40s?

• 13% have never told their partner how much they earn

• 31% don’t tell their other half about bonus payments

• 16% are saving in case of a break-up

• 31% keep quiet about doing ‘cash in hand’ jobs on the side

• 20% are saving for something expensive like a car or holiday



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