When did you last tell someone about your income? Are you open about your credit card bills?
How we go about managing our money can have a huge impact on our lives. From the general running of the home to our mental wellbeing, it’s something that impacts us daily. However, whether we’re on top of our finances or finding things tough, we’re unlikely to talk to loved ones about the ins and outs of our bank balances.
In fact, when we at Ocean Finance surveyed 2,000 UK residents who are in relationships, we found that over a third of Brits aren’t discussing their money matters with anyone. It looks like we all still see our incomings and outgoings as an off-limits topic.
But why do we feel like we can’t be honest about these things? We decided to find out what we’re keeping to ourselves, who we can trust, and whether we’ll ever feel comfortable revealing what’s happening to our finances.
It’s Good to Talk
Whether we’re doing well, thinking of taking out loans or planning on getting a credit card, most Brits aren’t comfortable about revealing all about their finances to colleagues, with 95% keeping quiet about money. We don’t tell our friends or parents, either, with 85% keeping money matters from friends and a huge 71% not telling their parents about their financial situation.
While we might be reserved when it comes to opening up about our finances, it seems we’re more than happy to tell all to our friends about our love lives. A whopping 87% of us feel more comfortable discussing marriage tales than money worries.
We found that, generally, women are more open about their romantic lives. Over half (59%) feel at ease revealing the finer details of their love life with colleagues, whereas men are more reserved (15%). When it comes to talking to our parents about our romantic partners, 16% of females feel they can chat about this with them.
A Healthy Dialogue
Surprisingly, when it comes to being frank with our friends, we also prefer talking about our health and mental health instead of ‘fessing up about our finances. Our love lives might have topped the list of preferred topics to cover, but our survey also revealed that one third of Brits will talk about any health concerns and 17% about their mental wellbeing with friends.
These numbers shoot up when we’re telling our parents about any conditions or mental health issues that are affecting us. Over a third (37%) feel they can talk about their mental health, and 68% are happy to cover any health concerns. This is in stark contrast with just 29% who feel happy chatting about their finances with their mum and dad.
A Solid Partnership
Of all the feedback we received from our survey, one of the largest gaps we found was between couples. Almost half of men in long-term relationships feel uncomfortable with sharing their finances with their long-term partner, whereas a huge 89% of women are at ease when it comes to revealing their money matters to their other half.
This is an interesting split, especially when over a quarter of us (28%) generally aren’t able to cover this topic with our partner. However, we also found that almost one in five feel they can be honest with a new romantic partner, so it seems that there is a significant number of Brits who do feel they are able to freely talk about money.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks like the reasons why we’re so reluctant to reveal our financial status with our partner is because there is a lack of balance when it comes to earnings. While just 26% of the women we asked earn more than their partner, 65% of men earned more.
In terms of repeating concerns around financial imbalances among couples, Samantha Carbon, a UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) psychotherapist who specialises in working with couples, said: “The issues of who is earning more are fraught with emotion. It will often feed into their own fears and anxieties on what it means to be a man or woman.
“Their core beliefs about who they are and what they need to be doing in the relationship is a discussion much needed. It’s important that couples are able to discuss how decisions were made in their family of origin.”
Elisabeth Thompson, High Intensity CBT Therapist, agrees with Samantha: “The Samaritans report showed that middle-aged men in particular were more affected by the change of role. This is possibly because they are stuck between two generations of where they were expected to be the breadwinner and the new generation of being more progressive and open about the roles.”
Hey, Big Spender!
While there are plenty of instances where we’d rather discuss anything other than money, there are financial situations that we don’t seem to mind talking about. For example, we found that over a third (40%) of us are happy to discuss our monthly spending.
In keeping with our findings about men’s earnings versus women’s, it makes sense then that men are three times more likely to share what they have in the bank than women, with 15% of gents opening up about their bank balance.
There are still areas that aren’t up for discussion, however. Only 15% of Brits want to discuss their salary, 10% would talk about their credit cards, and only 5% are open about loans.
Women are more likely to be open about their credit card debt (15% of women versus just 4% of men) and more than twice as likely to be honest about their spending. Over half (56%) of women said they’re happy to reveal what they spend their money on, compared with just 23% of men.
The money worries we share with our nearest and dearest can often be a healthy way to offload. Money concerns can be harmful to our wellbeing and being able to discuss your options with those who care about you can go a long way towards getting your finances back on track.
As long as you’re not sharing any personal details, such as card information or PINs and you stick to seeking general advice, you’re sure to soon find a solution to any financial woes.
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By Emily Hardy