17/05/18With secret savings on the rise, couples need to consider this carefully


Do you keep any secrets from your significant other? It’s not unusual to keep the occasional secret from our partners. But when it comes to money, there appears to be a lot of secrecy out there!

Some new research from insurer Prudential has found that a third of couples have a secret pot of savings or investments. The research also found that 7% of these ‘secret savers’ had squirreled away more than £50,000. That’s a big financial secret!

The driving force behind all of these secret savings? Well, according to the report, it’s often down to a lack of trust. One third of secret savers said they had no specific plans for the money, but didn’t want their partner to have access to it regardless.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed by Prudential said they do not trust their partner to make the right decision about their finances, wanting to keep control of the money as a result.

Commenting on the findings, Kirsty Anderson, retirement income expert at Prudential, said:

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.

It’s not necessarily problematic to keep some aspects of your personal finances secret from your husband, wife or partner.

A different study, published earlier this year by GoCompare, found that women were more likely than men to have covert cash accounts, being five times more likely than men to have these secret savings in place.

Is there something about being a woman and perhaps feeling more financially vulnerable than men, generally speaking, which creates a desire to have some secret cash reserves?

Of course the decisions we make about our personal finances are just that; personal!

It’s important we don’t just follow tradition when it comes to mixing money and marriage, automatically assuming that a romantic partnership means sharing everything in a financial sense too. Instead, we should develop an approach to our money that works best for us.

Some slightly older research from AA Life Insurance concluded that only a quarter of couples keep all of their money together, in contrast to a third of couples who keep all of their money separate. The same proportion, 34%, reportedly splits their money between a joint account and a personal account.

In other words, there is no right or wrong approach when it comes to this issue.

For some couples, sharing everything and having joint bank accounts, with full disclosure around income and expenditure, is the way to go. For others, having an element of separate personal finances, or even entirely different financial lives, is absolutely fine.

What really matters is finding the approach that works best for you, which both partners feel entirely comfortable with.

Whether you’re a secret saver or working together as a team to save for the future, a savings habit should never be discouraged. Saving money on a regular basis is an important habit which will put you in a stronger position, better able to absorb any short-term financial shocks.

Because money matters can become a source of conflict in relationships – especially when differing attitudes towards spending and saving result in an inability to achieve shared goals in life – it’s good to talk about these things.

Sitting down as a couple to chat about how you view money, whether you’re a spender or a saver, and how to work together towards shared future goals, is a really important step in any relationship.

It’s a conversation that I’m always happy to facilitate with couples. If you want to get your financial planning on track, please give me a call and we can find a good time to meet.

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