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Family Law

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Financial Honesty in Relationships

Money is well known to be a common cause of stress within a relationship but, according to a recent survey by the Money Advice Service, many couples are far from honest with their partner about their finances.

The research found that as many as 45% of those surveyed admitted to not always being honest with their partner about their earnings and spending habits.

It seems that many people lie about their earnings to protect the feelings of their other half; 31% of those understating their income do so because they know their partner earns less than them, while 28% think their partner wouldn’t like knowing they earned more. However, 21% want to ensure their partner was with them for the right reasons, saying they didn’t want their partner to like them ‘just for their money’.

The top reason that people gave for overstating their income was ‘thinking they wouldn’t have a chance with the person otherwise’ (41%). Meanwhile, 34% didn’t want their partner to think they earned less, and 33% just wanted to ‘show off’.

In addition, the survey found that almost a quarter of respondents (24%) admit to lying about their spending. Of those that have, women are most likely to tell fashion-related fibs – 66% have lied about their spending on clothes and 41% have lied about spending on shoes. In contrast, men are most likely to lie about spending on nights out (39%), holidays (28%), and gadgets and technology (27%). 

Commenting on the findings, Ruth Sutherland, CEO at relationship charity Relate, said:

"This research reflects what we see in the counselling room every day, with many couples struggling to communicate honestly and effectively about money.

"Often, when couples aren't talking about money, there are underlying issues within the relationship which need to be resolved. What might start out as a fight about money can, by the end of a counselling session, actually turn out to be about power struggles or feelings of inadequacy, for example.

"Relate's 2014 The Way We Are Now study found that 62% of people think money worries are one of the biggest strains on relationships. But this needn't be a taboo subject for couples. Talking openly about finances can help us to understand our own and our partner's approach to money. From there, couples can start resolving conflict and work more as a team."

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