Couples cannot afford to split

Posted by Kirstie Brown in Personal Finance on 1 September 2016 - Kirstie is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile.

A recent survey carried out by the advice firm Portafina has found that an astonishing 92% of people believe that they would struggle financially if their relationship were to break down.

The vast majority of the 1,000 participants has identified the need for greater education and better planning from a younger age, to ensure that individuals are better prepared to cope with a drastic change such as a relationship coming to an end.

Jamie Smith-Thompson of Portafina has said that people should take a greater interest in financial education from a young age to prepare them for any eventualities that they may face throughout life. “This would help people to have a strong understanding of money, including how to manage it and the steps you can take to stay financially secure. It's also possible that this would encourage people to be more open when it comes to discussing their finances, which could reduce the levels of secrecy that we found. More openness and communication in relationships can really help people create the future lifestyle they want.”

This comes after the research found that 57% of people in a long term relationship have not opened up to their partner about their financial circumstances.

In addition to this, 40% of those surveyed said that they kept an inheritance a secret from their other half, while 43% have confessed that they are currently or have previously hidden debts from their other half. Possible reasons for this include feeling uncomfortable due to a difference in income, being financially hurt by a previous partner and protecting themselves in the possible event of a break up.

Smith-Thompson goes on to say, “It's not unusual for friends or colleagues to talk about money when things get tight before payday, but we wanted to know just how far these conversations go and how much we share. We were surprised to find that more than half of those in relationships don't discuss details such as salary, debts and savings with their partner, with debts being at the bottom of the sharing list. While some people see this as a way of protecting themselves in the future, the benefits of sharing important financial details and knowing about potential pressure points - such as debts or changes to retirement planning - should not be underestimated.”

Finally, the survey also uncovered that men were more likely to have saved enough for retirement. 21% of men say that they have saved enough to live on once retired, compared to 7% of women. This gap can be explained by women taking career breaks through their lives.

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