Britons may share almost every aspect of their lives with complete strangers on social media but the closest people to us are either deliberately or accidently excluded from the details of our financial affairs. 

And while it could be construed as deeply suspicious that one in five married Brits haven’t given their partner their current account number, new research suggests the greater problem is that huge numbers of people couldn’t locate their partner’s assets if they suddenly died.

(Results differed between those who were married and those who were cohabiting.) 

While married Britons are more forthcoming with their partners about their finances than unmarried couples, there are still millions more who are secretive about their financial information. One in five married Britons have a partner who doesn’t know the details of their workplace pension, rising to almost a third of all Brits in a cohabiting relationship. 

Nearly one in five married people have denied their husband or wife’s access to their savings details, rising to 28 per cent of all those in a relationship. Similarly, 16 per cent of married people wouldn’t give their spouses access to their credit card details but this figure rises to 27 per cent of all Brits in a relationship. 

Britain’s money secrets

Type of account


Percentage of married people who don’t give their partners access


Percentage of those in a relationship who don’t give their partners access


Workplace pension details


20 per cent


32 per cent


Current account details


18 per cent


28 per cent


Private pension details


17 per cent


26 per cent


Savings account details


17 per cent


28 per cent


Credit card account details


16 per cent


27 per cent


ISA account details


15 per cent


24 per cent


Other investments (e.g. shares and bonds)


13 per cent


21 per cent

Source:  Direct Line Life Insurance


“Establishing a foundation of trust in a relationship can be difficult; especially when it comes to finances,” says Jane Morgan, business manager at Direct Line Life Insurance.

“As awkward as it may be, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to money matters. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, concealing details of your finances from your other half or a close family member can delay probate at a significant cost to those nearest to the deceased.”

And there certainly are those for whom undisclosed financial affairs isn’t simply about losing track or the issue never having arisen.

Earlier this year, a study by aggregator site GoCampare found that one in eight people said their partner doesn’t know how much they have in savings and 7 per cent have actively kept it a secret. 

On average, those with a secret savings stash are keeping £10,685 hidden away, with a fifth of Britons hiding more than £25,000 in a secret account. 

Women are five times more likely than men to keep their savings a secret from their partner.

Financial secrecy extends to modern technology too, with one recent survey suggesting a third of Brits wouldn’t give their partner their phone access code. While questionable pictures and dodgy messages were certainly a concern, the top reason people gave for keeping their phone to themselves was because of the banking details stored on it. 

Georgie Frost, consumer advocate at GoCompare said; “It’s one thing for couples to keep separate savings accounts, but another to be actively hiding money from your loved ones. While each person who does so will have their own reason for it, having a secret emergency fund may not be a terrible thing to have.

“A bit like our job, as much as we don’t want to think about the worst happening, being made redundant or splitting up, being prepared for all eventualities is essential. Particularly if your finances are intertwined, perhaps as a result of living together or being married, breaking up can hit you hard in the wallet.

“An important thing to take away from this research is how we’re starting to see a long-term shift towards people wanting to stay in financial control, particularly women.”







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