1 in 6 Brits say they’ve hidden debt from their partner, new research reveals

1 in 6 Brits say they’ve hidden debt from their partner, new research reveals

1 in 6 Brits say they’ve hidden debt from their partner

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New research for Debt Awareness Week (18-24 March) has revealed 1 in 6 (17 per cent) Brits say they’ve hidden debt from their partner.

As every relationship develops, there is a turning point where butterflies turn into love, nervousness turns into comfort and splitting the bill at dinner turns into how you split all of your finances.

However, for many broaching the topic of money with your partner can be an uncomfortable and awkward feeling and this has been reflected in ClearScore's new research.

The data showed that 1 in 6 (17 per cent) Brits say they’ve hidden debts from their partner, with another quarter (25 per cent) saying that they regularly hide purchases.

Furthermore, 1 in 5 (19 per cent) Brits say that they often argue with their partner about money, with another 22 per cent saying they find talking about money with their partner ‘awkward’.

What's even more worrying it that ClearScore found that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of people in the UK feel their relationship is ‘financially unequal. This sentiment rises to 30 per cent in those earning less than the national average salary (£34,964 as of April 2023).

It is apparent that this is an issue that requires a solution and the team at ClearScore share their 5 top tips for couples on how to start having healthy conversations with their partner about money to avoid any money imbalances in their relationship this Debt Awareness Week:

Tips on discussing money and debt with your partner

ClearScore’s research found that most couples (64%) say they talk about money with their partner at least once a week, with as many as 23% of people only speaking to their partner about money 4 times a year.

Despite this, 1 in 5 (20%) still say they wish they spoke to their partner about money more often.

The first step towards talking about money and debt is always the hardest, but here are ClearScore’s top tips to see you on your way to discussing your finances with your partner:

  • Be honest

It can be nerve-wracking to open up to your partner about what your finances look like, especially if you have some debt. Thousands of people try to keep debt a secret or handle it on their own, but this can put stress on your mental health - not to mention your relationship.

If you and your partner have plans to buy a house together in the future, then they will become financially associated with you. This means lenders will also consider your credit history, even when your partner is applying for something without you.

StepChange has a guide on how to discuss debt with your partner, but if your debts still feel unmanageable after making changes to your budget, consider visiting the Breathing Space Scheme advice page on StepChange’s website.

  • Make it normal

Make money part of your everyday conversations and it will quickly become normal. If you put off talking about money until you are faced with a big financial issue, your conversation could become emotionally charged, leading to a breakdown in communication.

If you’ve never talked to your partner about money before, try opening up the conversation by asking your partner whether their family talked about money when they were growing up.

  • Go slowly

Talking about everything, from budgeting to how you approach paying off debts in one go can make the conversation unnecessarily stressful. Don’t try to tackle everything at once or you might feel overwhelmed and be put off talking about money again in the future.

Start off slowly and try talking about things like your credit scores and any small purchases you’re saving up for.

  • Work together

To get on the same page with your partner when it comes to managing money, try sharing a joint money or savings goal. Whether it’s a holiday, a car or a deposit for your first home, having a joint goal will make it more normal to discuss managing your finances regularly, and will get you both feeling excited about it.

  • Keep going

Once you’ve got used to talking about your finances, setting up a monthly date in the diary to ‘talk money’ is a great way to keep the conversation going. You can use this as a safe space to talk openly in a constructive way.

Take turns to speak and listen to one another, and be ready to compromise. You can draw up a plan together that you can revisit at your next date night. If you can do this monthly, it can help to keep your finances on track, save yourselves money and improve your credit scores.

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