Is your partner hiding horrible debts?

More than one in ten conceal money problems


Concerned looking couple

Couples may share most things, and pride themselves on being open and honest with one another. However, when it comes to money matters, things can get a bit more complicated. From secret purchases, to bills they don't want to worry their partner with, and even serious debts, couples who are otherwise completely open with one another can be keeping some shocking money secrets.

And more than one in ten are hiding debts from their partner.

Secret debt

The statistic emerged in research by debt management company the Debt Advisory Centre. They found that 13% of people in relationships have debts that their other half doesn't know about - which is the equivalent of 5.4 million people in the UK. In some cases they may be manageable, but for half of those with secret debts, the amount outstanding has hit £2,500 and for a quarter it has reached £5,000.

They found that Londoners were the most likely to be keeping details of their borrowing secret - a shocking 25% of all Londoners in relationships admitted to keeping debts a secret. In contrast, just 7% of people in Wales said the same.

Younger people were the most likely to be concealing debts from their other half. A quarter of 25 to 34-year-olds kept it a secret - compared to 7% of those over 55.


In some cases debts are arguably not something you need to share with your partner. If you are in the early stages of a relationship and you're relatively young, there may be an unspoken agreement that both of you are carrying student debts, or are living off a credit card by the end of the month - especially if you are on a starting salary and trying to rent property in London.

However, in others, this is truly worrying. In most long-term relationships, whether couples like it or not, their finances are intertwined. If one of the couple is blissfully ignorant that the other is racking up thousands of pounds worth of debt, they may be making things worse by continuing to spend as if they had plenty of money in the bank. At the very least they are missing the opportunity to tackle the problem as a couple, to share the burden, and to sort things out.

You may think you are protecting your other half from financial problems, but if you are living with them - especially if you own property together - then your financial problems are their problem too. They are going to find out about debts in the end - so you're far better off being honest about them before they become a problem.

It's also worth getting advice from an expert, because sharing a problem may otherwise just leave you both a bit more worried and no closer to a solution. There are plenty of commercial firms around offering debt management solutions, but by far your best bet is a debt advice charity such as StepChange, who can talk you through your situation and your options, and help you find the solution that's right for both of you.