In Brief

Brits keeping 21 million ‘money secrets’ from friends and family, survey reveals

Four in ten people admit staying quiet or telling fibs about debts or savings

People across the UK are hiding a total of 21 million “money secrets” about hidden debts, loans or savings, new research has found.

The survey of more than 5,200 adults reveals that four in ten are concealing the true state of their finances from their nearest and dearest. The most common secrets were hidden credit cards (37%), undisclosed personal loans (23%) and secret savings accounts (21%).  

“Partners are the most likely to be left in the dark,” The Times reports. “While 23% of people in relationships suspect that their spouse has kept a money secret, nearly half of those in relationships, or 45%, admitted having an undisclosed money product.”

People aged 25 to 34 are the most secretive bunch, with nearly three in five hiding money products, “particularly credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts”, the newspaper adds.

By contrast, pensioners are the most open age group, with just 26% keeping secrets, according to the research, from the government-backed Money and Pensions Service (MaPS).

Some of the reasons given for staying quiet included feeling embarrassed or fearful of being judged.

But there are “numerous” other explanations for why people keep money secrets, says MaPS insights director Sarah Porretta. A hidden savings account may act “as a buffer for those who want to escape a difficult relationship”, she explains.

Other reasons include “an unpaid bill being kept under wraps in order to protect anxious family members”, as well as wanting to avoid “feeling of shame or embarrassment that debts have spiralled out of control”.

The survey was conducted to mark “Talk Money Week”, which is aimed at “encouraging people who are struggling financially in the pandemic to talk it over with a friend, family member or expert”, the BBC reports. 

More information about Talk Money Week can be found here.

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