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£4600 – the tipping point to come clean about debt PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 July 2017
Adults in the UK who have secret debt would rack up an average of £4,618 before asking for help from their loved ones to manage it, according to new research from online lender, Sunny. This figure climbs to £6,441 for the over-55s, more than twice the threshold of £2,936 for their younger counterparts (18-34 year olds).

Almost one in five (17%) UK adults are unaware of the extent of their partner’s debt. The research found that cohabiting, unmarried couples have a significantly higher debt threshold than other people - £6,017 - almost 50% higher than married couples for whom the tipping point is closer to the national average, at £4,146. Overall the most honest group of lovebirds are couples who live separately, as it takes only £3,933 of debt to make them talk about their finances.

Lying high
Whilst almost half of those surveyed claim they are completely open and honest about their debts, 17% of adults say they would never tell their partner or family how much debt they were in, regardless of the amount. One in ten people (11%) admit to actively lying to their partner about how much debt they’re in.

And, in general, those who are not honest about debt are more likely to be deceptive about other things, too. Seven in 10 (71%) people who are open about their debt say they have never lied to their partner, whereas more than half (51%) of people who say they would never be honest about debt admit to lying to their partner about other things. Men are more likely to lie about how much debt they’re in (17% vs 6%). Curiously, they are also more likely to lie about liking their partner’s family (19% vs 8%).

Scott Greever from Sunny comments: “We all know the importance of being honest in relationships. Hiding debt and money worries is risky and could ultimately damage both your relationship and your financial wellbeing. A problem shared is a problem halved, and facing up to the reality of your situation is the first step to taking back control and improving things.”

Honesty age gap
The older generation is the most secretive about their finances, with one in five (20%) over-55s saying they would never disclose their debt, compared to one in ten (11%) of those aged 18-34.

In addition to being more secretive, over-55s claim to argue less about money. Seven in ten (73%) say they never disagree with their partner about money, compared to just 39% of under-35s.

Scott Greever continues: “No one likes arguing, least of all about money. But - if the only reason you’re not arguing with your partner about money is that you’re not being honest, you could find yourself in a tricky situation further down the line. It’s perhaps no surprise that younger people are more open about debts. Stagnant salaries, student debt and high rents mean that younger people accept a certain level of debt as the norm, compared to Baby Boomers, for whom debt may still carry something of a stigma.

“If you are in a lot of debt, the worst thing you can do is keep it a secret and carry on adding to what you owe. Any type of credit should be used responsibly to get you out of a tight spot, when you know you can afford to pay back what you owe, not to support a lifestyle you can’t afford. While talking about money with loved ones can be uncomfortable and is one of the top things couples argue about, it’s something we all need to do, and it could lead to a healthier relationship in the long-run. If you do feel that your finances are out of control, ask for help, whether it’s from a loved one or a specialist organisation. The most important thing is that you acknowledge it and take the first step to getting back on your feet.”

Sunny has just launched the Money Personality Quiz hosted on its digital magazine, Good Vibes, along with lots of helpful articles around money savvy habits, savings hacks and life hacks.

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