Why it matters when we tell financial fibs


Julie Hutchison

15th December 2015 at 9:30am

If you’re living with someone, how open are you about money, with your other half?

As these case studies in The Guardian show, every couple is different, when it comes to what arrangements feel right with joint or separate bank accounts, and whether bills are shared 50/50 or some other proportion.

But according to new research carried out by YouGov for Standard Life, almost half of us admit to fibbing when it comes to what we earn, save or spend; and our partner is the person we are most likely to tell financial fibs to.

Saving, spending and our salary

The main thing we tell white lies about is the cost of items, with around one in five women likely to lie about the cost of clothes or shoes; for around one in ten men, it’s gadgets.

When it comes to savings, seven in ten women underplay the savings they have compared to just over half of men. And women are nearly twice as likely as men to have a secret stash of money, such as a bank account they’ve not told their partner about – you can speculate as to the reason why.

So does financial fibbing matter? I’d say it does.

The first step to a positive financial future is to be more honest about money, particularly with your partner. It’s hard for any couple to build a future together based on financial fibs and the likelihood is that you are not being honest with yourself either. Financial fibbing could cost you in the long run, if the result is over-spending and under-saving.



Level of debt: 16%

Amount of savings they have: 14%

A purchase: 14%


A purchase: 23%

Amount of savings they have: 14%

How much they saved on a purchase: 14%

 Top five finance reality-check tips

1) Don’t make money a taboo: if you need to discuss a money issue, do it.

2) Have a money chat: Sit down with your other half once a month to go through financial matters

3) Set a budget: Draw up a list of your income and expenditure and look where you could make changes.

4) Make your money work. If you have savings, set aside an emergency fund, perhaps in a Cash ISA, to cover your outgoings for at least three (or six) months. Once you’ve saved this emergency buffer, consider investing some money for potentially greater returns – a Stocks and Shares ISA could be worth looking at if you’re already paying into a pension. You need to be ready for some ups and downs with the stock market, but you can choose a fund which has less risk.

5) Take control online. As I wrote about in this guest blog for DadblogUK, seeing is believing, when it comes to managing your money online. Make the most of apps to keep a close eye on your money.

Keep up with the conversation on twitter @StandardLifeUK and Facebook and you can subscribe to regular Moneyplus blog updates here.

This blog and any responses to comments are not financial advice. A pension and an ISA which holds stocks and shares are investments. Their value can go up or down and may be worth less than you paid in.