Data Journalist

Keeping a personal bank account in a long-term relationship isn’t rare, but research reveals significant numbers are also hiding savings and accounts from their partner

How do Brits in serious relationships handle their finances? A new YouGov poll indicates that independence remains a priority for most, with the majority keeping a personal bank account even if they also have a joint account.

Most people are open with their other half about whether they have personal savings, but a considerable proportion don’t tell their partner how much they have - some avoid this to maintain privacy, but others are worried their partner would demand access.

Most Britons in serious relationships have their own bank account as well as a joint one

YouGov’s research shows the majority of couples (62%) keep their own bank account throughout their relationship, and 22% have personal money set aside in some other form (i.e. not in a bank account).

Even among those aged 55 and over, half (51%) have their own bank account and a quarter (22%) have personal money set aside.

The majority of couples (60%) in serious relationships also have a joint bank account - but four in ten (38%) do not.

Women twice as likely as men to save money in case of a break-up

A third of 25 to 34 year olds (32%) and a tenth (10%) of those aged 55 and above who’ve set personal money aside say it’s simply because they manage their daily finances separately.

The second most common reason is to be able to treat themselves to a more expensive purchase without needing to consult their partner - again, this is more prevalent among younger respondents (29% of 25 to 34 year olds versus 13% of those aged 55 and over).

One in five (18%) want to be financially independent in case they and their partner separate. This is almost twice as common among women as men (22% versus 13%).

One in eight people who have money set aside haven’t told their partner about it

One in fifteen people in a serious relationship (7%) admit that they have money secretly set aside that their partner doesn’t know about. One in fifty (2%) have a bank account that their partner doesn’t know about - coming to a total of one in eight (13%) who have finances set aside which are hidden from their partner.

Among those who have a private bank account their partner does know about, one in four (28%) haven’t told their partner how much is in it, rising to one in three (35%) among those with money set aside in some other way.

Second most common reason is concern that partner would want the money

YouGov asked those who had personal money set aside or a separate bank account - but had not told their partner about it - which of a set of reasons best described why they had done so. Half (46%) identified with the statement, “I just prefer privacy when it comes to my personal financial situation.”

Still, a quarter (27%) agreed with the statement that they worry their partner would want access to the money if they knew it was there. One in six (16%) chose “I think they would be insulted and don’t want to cause conflict.”. One in seven (14%) said they “just haven’t thought to mention it.”

Photo: Getty

See full results for joint bank accounts, partner awareness of separate funds, and reasons for separate funds here

See full results for value of separate funds and reasons for keeping fund secret here

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