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According to the latest research by the UK’s leading provider of Wealth and Retirement solutions, Aviva, almost two in five people who are married or in a relationship in the UK are committing ‘financial infidelity’ in 2023.
Financial infidelity is often defined as ‘an act of dishonesty relating to personal finance between two people in a relationship’ and includes deceptions like having secret credit cards or savings accounts, lying about debts, or gambling and hiding purchases from partners.
A large proportion (26%) of respondents say they bicker about money at least once a week, of which around 5% admit to arguing about money every day.
While more than two thirds of couples (67%) have a joint current account and half (51%) have joint savings accounts, 38% of people surveyed admit to having ‘money stashed away’ that their other half doesn’t know about. On average, these ‘secret savings’ amount to more than £1,600 each. A third (32%) claim to have more than £2,000 in a ‘rainy day’ account, including half (50%) of those over 55.
When asked why they have money in a secret account almost a third (32%) agree that they want to keep some control/independence of their finances; a quarter (25%) want to be able to treat themselves without their partner knowing; and a similar number (24%) say it’s to pay for their children’s education/ first car/ first flat etc. Sadly, one in five (21%) say it’s a precaution in case their marriage breaks down and 15% need to pay off debt they have concealed from their partner.
Aviva’s research also reveals that money is a common source of tension in a marriage or relationship. A large proportion (26%) of respondents say they bicker about money at least once a week, of which around 5% admit to arguing about money every day. 27% of people argue about bills and 18% quarrel about having too much debt.
A third (34%) say that this constant arguing about money has increased due to the cost-of-living crisis and more than one in ten (12%) recognise that disagreements have increased significantly.
“Money is often a taboo subject in relationships, and at times it can be hard to discuss it rationally. Hiding savings or concealing debts from your partner can be a huge source of tension, and it can also seriously impede longer-term financial goals and ambitions.
“Being upfront, honest, and transparent about your finances with your partner can help avoid problems in the future. Having a general view of how much is being spent each month, along with overall debts or savings across the household can be important when it comes to making decisions about longer-term financial objectives like when you can afford to retire, or whether to downsize your home to release some capital to help your children”, says Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva.
The research was conducted by Censuswide with 1288 respondents who are in a relationship / married between 13.01.23 – 17.01.23. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.
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