Couples are keeping it to themselves when it comes to wealth and assets with women slightly more likely than men to have cash hidden from their partners, new research from Investec Wealth & Investment shows.
The wealth manager’s study found one in five people (19%) who are married or co-habiting admit to not telling their partner about the full extent of their assets while 19% who have debts have not told their partner how much they owe. The secrecy cuts both ways – one in four (23%) questioned say they don’t think they know the full extent of their partners’ wealth. It even extends to income in some cases with 8% saying their partner does not know how much they earn.
It is couples aged between 35 and 54 who are most likely to be keeping assets hidden from their partners – around 26% admit to doing so compared with 19% of under-35s and just 13% of the over-55s. Investec Wealth & Investment is urging couples to be more open about their finances to enable better informed financial planning and also to avoid nasty surprises when one partner dies, or the couple splits up.
The secret savings are not small – on average those who had hidden cash say it’s worth around £22,500. The debts are substantial too. On average they amount to £8,800.
They are most likely to be keeping savings accounts and ISAs hidden – around 58% say they have saving accounts partners do not know about while 22% say they have a secret cash ISA. However,13% say they properties their partner does not know about.
The motivations for not coming clean are not always bad – 44% of all those questioned say they keep money hidden as financial independence is important to them. That applies much more to women with 53% saying they value their independence compared to 33% of men. Around one in five (19%) say they have just not got round to it and 28% reckon their partner is not interested.
But around one in 12 (8%) say they are keeping quiet about their cash because they plan to split up or think they might while 18% believe their partner will want to spend the money.
The research shows it takes couples some time to be open and honest about their wealth – only two out of five (39%) say they come clean about their finances straight away while another 28% do it within a year of starting a relationship.