One in five lie to loved ones about finances

As household debt rockets

A young couple in bed having problems and crisis. Divorce and separation.

It's generally considered bad form to talk about religion, politics or money. But while half of us never discuss our finances, a new survey has revealed, one in five has pretended to our nearest and dearest that we're better financial shape than we actually are.

According to a report from loans company Norton Finance, only half of people discuss their finances with those close to them - and 15% of those that do feel awkward about it.

One in five admits to feeling pressure from loved ones to maintain a good financial situation, while 28% have lost sleep over their finances.

The worse off you are, the more likely you are to think you've got more money than you actually have - possibly explaining how you became badly off in the first place. You're also more likely to avoid talking about money with your loved ones.

"Many people feel pressured, whether it's directly or indirectly, to say that they have their finances in hand, especially if we have heavy debts or poor credit ratings," says Paul Stringer from Norton Finance.

"We see that people who have the most issues with money are the most likely to over-estimate their financial position, which can be a case of just not being realistic about your spending. Being in denial about money can be more costly than people realise."

People aged between 35 and 44 feel under the most pressure from loved ones to keep on top of their finances, and are also the most likely to lie about money.

And they're more than twice as likely as any other age group to over-estimate their finances and the most likely to feel awkward when talking about them.

According to a recent report from the TUC, more than a million families with a household income below £30,000 are in extreme debt, paying out more than 40% of their gross household income on unsecured debt repayments.

And things are getting worse, with nearly twice as many people in this situation than they were last year.

Even though household debt hasn't yet reached pre-crash rates, the fall in the real value of wages has made it harder for families to service existing debt.

The good news is that there's plenty of free advice around for anybody struggling with debt. The Money Advice Service lists online, telephone and face-to-face debt advice services here.

Whatever you do, don't ignore the problem as it will only get worse. Says Paul Stringer, "It can be embarrassing to open up about money struggles, but the first step is admitting to yourself that you need some help."

Most common causes of debt

Most common causes of debt