25% of Brits regularly hide purchases from their partner, according to new research - try these 5 tips to open up the money conversation

If you struggle to talk to your partner about your financial situation, try these five tips to get the conversation started

Couple talking about bills in kitchen at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As new research reveals that one in six people have hidden debt from their partner, we highlight the five tips you can follow to have healthy and constructive conversations about money with your other half.

Talking about money with your partner can help you establish clever spending habits and figure out the best ways to save for your child or children's future. It can also help make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about your financial situation, working towards common goals and talking openly about any money worries you might have, from the impact of the motherhood penalty on your longer-term financial wellbeing, to discussing how to pay off debt.

But having these kinds of conversations isn't easy - especially if you're not used to talking about money, or have hidden some aspects of your financial situation from your partner. If this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. New research from credit rating agency ClearScore, released in time for Debt Awareness Week (18th-25th March), has revealed that in addition to the 17 per cent of Brits who have hidden debts from their partner, another 25 per cent regularly hide purchases.

The data also suggests the reasons why Brit's might be hiding this information from their loved ones. Almost one in five (19 per cent) say they often argue with their partner about money, and another 22 per cent say they find it 'awkward' to talk about money with their partner. More than one in four Brits (28 per cent) feel that their relationship is 'financially unequal', especially for those earning less than the national average salary (which as of April 2023 is £34,964, according to the Office of National Statistics).

The research goes on to highlight that 64 per cent of couples talk about money at least once a week, but that one in five (20 per cent) wish that they spoke to their partner about money more regularly.

Woman shopping for jeans in a denim store

25 per cent of Brits hide purchases from their partner according to new research

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're not yet in the habit of talking about your finances with your partner, then it's never too late to start. It can be helpful to discuss that these conversations are going to be a fresh start, with no recriminations for things you may have hidden in the past. That way you can set a positive tone to encourage honest and productive communication.

  1. Be honest and non-judgmental - it can feel really vulnerable to start talking about money when you're not used to it, especially if you are worried about it, or have hidden things from your partner in the past. Create a safe space where you and your partner can talk about money without judgment for anything spending or debt you may have previously hidden.
  2. Do it often so it becomes normal - keep talking about money with your partner even when you are feeling confident in your finances. It'll help you avoid leaving any potential problems until they feel too big to manage (which can be incredibly stressful, heighten emotions and lead to a breakdown in communication with your partner).
  3. Don't try to tackle everything at once - trying to talk about all aspects of your joint financial situation, from mortgages and budgeting to savings and debt, can make the conversations feel daunting, meaning you're more likely to avoid them. Start by slowly talking about any small purchases you’re saving up for, or mentioning when you've paid off a credit card
  4. Set some joint goals - working together on a savings goal, maybe for a family holiday or a new car, can help you get into the habit of talking about money in a positive way with your partner. Working together to achieve the goal can help make money conversations feel more normal too.
  5. Keep it going - once you're in the habit of talking about money with your partner, it can be helpful to set aside time on a regular basis to continue your conversations in an intentional way, rather than ad hoc.

If these conversations leave you worried about your financial situation, then help is available. You can speak to your bank for advice, or approach Citizens Advice. For debt advice, help can be found at StepChange.

In more money news, we explain how you can fact-check financial information you find on social media, highlight the money mistakes families should avoid if they can, and explain the 50-30-20 budgeting rule to keep your family's finances on track.

Sarah Handley
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.