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One in 10 over-40s 'hide £30K savings stash from partner'

Published 11/12/2015

Men say they are keeping secret savings to help pay for their retirement
Men say they are keeping secret savings to help pay for their retirement

One in 10 people aged over 40 who is living with a partner is hiding a secret savings stash from their other half, research has found.

A survey of more than 1,000 over-40s who live with a spouse or partner for Prudential found that 10% had secret savings, investments or pension pots that their other half did not know about. The average value of these secret cash piles was £30,300.

The most common reason given for having secret savings was so that the money could be used to help fund retirement. Men were more likely to give this as a reason than women.

But having a fund put by in case of a relationship break-up was the second most popular reason for keeping hidden cash.

While some over-40s were sitting on secret savings, others had hidden debts. O ne in seven (15%) people surveyed have debts they have not owned up to with their partner, averaging £8,000 .

Three in five (60%) people with secret debts said they had arisen from general living costs. But nearly one in seven (15%) said they were due to over-spending as a result of an emotional event such as a previous relationship break-up.

Money spent on holidays and travelling was the most common source of debt, with one in eight (12%) people with secret debts giving this as a reason.

Earnings were another topic that people were less than up-front about.

One in eight (12%) of those surveyed said their partner did not know exactly how much they earn.

Of those keeping some or all of their earnings secret, more than a quarter (27%) did so to maintain their independence, while 23% did so for financial security in case of a break-up.

Meanwhile, a generous one in 10 (9%) of those keeping their earnings under wraps said they used the money to treat their partner.

Many people who kept the true state of their finances hidden did not trust their partner with money matters.

More than one in 10 (11%) secret savers kept quiet because they did not trust their partner to make sound financial decisions. Nearly one in five (18%) of those who concealed their real income also gave this as a reason.

Vince Smith-Hughes, a retirement expert at Prudential, said: "Hiding such significant sums in savings or debts from a partner makes financial planning for the future very difficult.

"For example, taking unexpected debts into retirement could make a significant dent in the joint income that the couple was expecting to be able to live on."

Here are some tips from Mr Smith-Hughes for couples planning their retirement together:

:: Estimate what retirement income you will need and try to estimate what you will spend. Will your outgoings remain the same as they are now, or will you spend more on holidays and hobbies in retirement?

:: Work out what income in retirement you are likely to achieve. For example, what income will your pension pots give you? You could also request a state pension forecast from the Department for Work and Pensions.

:: Own up to hidden debts and secret stashes of savings and investments.

:: Plan for a long retirement - but also think about how the other person will manage if one of you became ill or died.

:: If you are considering topping up pensions and Isas, work out whose pot it would be best to top up.

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