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Almost half of Brits don’t know what their partners earn

  • British couples confess to not being open about their finances with their other half (49%)
  • One in ten Brits think their partner has secret outgoings
  • Brits admit to researching their partner’s earnings rather than asking (7%)

It may not be ‘first date’ material, but at some point, all or most couples will have the “money talk”. However, new research conducted by pension advice specialist, Portafina, reveals that 49% of British couples are not open about their finances with their other half.

The findings highlighted that 47% of British couples don’t know their partner’s exact annual salary, with some (7%) admitting to researching their partner’s earnings instead of asking.

Money can often be an uncomfortable subject to talk about, but how much should you know about your partner’s financial situation when you’re in a committed relationship? Speaking about this, one in ten (10%) Brits revealed they think their partner has outgoings they don’t know about, whilst 18% said they knew their partner has/did have debt, and used to/does gamble (11%) – all have had a negative impact on their relationships.

Of course, as a relationship grows, so will knowledge of an ‘other half’s’ finances. The study revealed that a large percentage of couples who have been together 26+ years (70%) know exactly what their partner earns, compared to those that have been together for four years (27%).

Commenting on his experience of financial difficulties when in a relationship, Raymond Baxter, founder of The Relationship Blogger said: “Seven years ago, my wife and I both lost our jobs. With a small child to support, we soon burned through our savings and were forced to resort to payday loans. Two years later and a week before I was going to declare us both bankrupt, we had racked up over £30,000 in debt.

“We’ve just entered into an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), and I can finally breathe easily about money. I took responsibility for our money problems and it was important that I kept my wife informed every step of the way. Without keeping her 100% informed, and without us both holding each other accountable for our spending habits, I hate to think where we would be today.

Rhian Westbury, from Watford added: “My partner does have quite a bit of credit card debt which we spoke about at the start of our relationship. We’ve put off moving in together and I’ve helped him sort out his finances with a payment plan. I’m so glad he was honest with me from the start because this way he can clear his debt and improve his credit rating, so when we are ready to buy our house, we should hopefully get a good mortgage.”

Speaking about the findings, Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina said: “Whether you’re just getting serious with your partner, moving in together, or getting married, speaking and working on financial issues as a team will help you both stay informed and allow you to support each other through any hiccups.

“Money can be a sensitive subject to talk about, and the last thing you want is your financial situation to negatively impact your relationship. The research revealed that the secret to a happy and healthy relationship is being open and honest with your partner about everything including your finances, treating money as one, saving together and having the same goals.

“Having regular transparent discussions about your money is key to financial success as a long-term couple, and being open with each other will help create the future you both desire.”

For more information on managing money in a relationship visit:

Portafina money talks image

Portafina money talks image

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