Don't let money destroy your relationship!
Are you keeping your money troubles from your partner? Find out why dishonesty could put both you financial futures at risk.
When it comes to talking about money, it seems that British couples have a very long way to go.
Recent research by CreditExpert has shown that one in five Britons are keeping their money worries hidden from their partners - and that amounts to around £30 billion of hidden debt.
A whopping 89% of those quizzed actually agreed that financial honesty was important in a relationship. However, it's clear that the sensible talk isn't being backed up by action.
Some 10% of Britons currently in a relationship admitted to having a 'secret' bank account that they keep from their other half.
27% said they'd scrutinised a partner's bank statements or pay slips without them knowing. And 10% also admitted to making a secret purchase from a joint account or savings account.
So - is there any real harm in having the odd financial secret?
First, let's look at the practical consequences of financial dishonesty. How do your loved one's financial dealings affect you?
This is more complicated that you might think. Being married to or living with someone doesn't necessarily mean you are financially associated with them.
A 'financial association' occurs when you take out credit together - regardless of whether or not you're co-habiting. Examples include taking out a joint account together, or being jointly responsible for a mortgage.
If you're not sure whether you can be held responsible for your partner's debts, read Don't Let A Partner Ruin Your Credit Rating.
If you and your partner do have a 'financial association', it's particularly important that you're open with each other where money is concerned. Your credit ratings will be linked, so his or her secret splurges could well damage your chances of getting credit.
If your credit score has been damaged by an irresponsible ex, this article should help you nurse it back to health.
Of course, it's about more than just being out of pocket. If you find out your partner's been lying about money, you're likely to feel betrayed, angry, helpless and isolated.
However, there is plenty of support available. If the way your partner handles money is putting you under pressure - or if you've recently uncovered a partner's nasty financial secret - our Dealing with Debt discussion board is an excellent place to ask for help and advice.
There really are millions of people in exactly the same boat. This thread is just one example among many.
And if you or your partner is suffering emotionally due to money problems, get in touch with a counselling charity like Mind or Relate. They'll be able to give you lots of practical advice on how to work through your difficulties together, and get the relationship back on track.
Your joint action plan
There's evidence that the credit crunch has actually pushed some couples into talking about finance more openly.
According to research on behalf of mobile phone banking firm Monilink, 56% of Britons believe talking about money is more socially acceptable than it was six months ago.
While this is good news, it's important to approach that money conversation in the right way. Here's how to get your cash troubles ironed out without going for each other's throats:
Be brave: First things first. If you're hiding money difficulties, 'fess up to your partner as soon as possible. They may be indignant, shocked or even furious. However, they may also be relieved - the chances are they already know something is up.
Involving them properly is an important step towards saving your relationship, and it will also take the huge weight of deceit off your shoulders.
Be calm: Avoid talking about tricky financial issues when you're very tired or drunk - it never ends well. Find a clear evening and give yourselves plenty of time.
Be nice: Be willing to compromise, and try to be as diplomatic as possible. For many people, money discussions hit a very raw nerve, and it's easy to hear accusations when the other person is actually trying to help.
Be organised: Set up a simple spreadsheet that outlines the areas of joint financial responsibility. Each month, sit down together and have a look at how your budgeting, debts and savings are progressing.
To sweeten the pill, you could even arrange a treat for yourselves afterwards, like a meal out or a nice calming concert. Good luck!
Sign up for a free 30-day trial to CreditExpert and find out about your credit rating. Your rating can affect whether or not you get credit and what rate of interest you are charged.
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