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Adults hiding more than £69 billion of debt from their partners (8 August 2018)

Date: 08/08/2018
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Adults hiding more than £69 billion of debt from their partners

A recent study conducted found that adults in the UK are hiding more than £69 billion of debt from their partners. The figures suggested 8.3 million people have debts their partners have no knowledge about and are unaware of their partners spending habits.

The average person holds £8,293 of hidden debt from their partners with the survey finding that almost half a million people would not have started their current relationship if they were aware of their partner’s financial position.

The survey was conducted by the company Opinium on behalf of Direct Line Life Insurance, highlighting the vast amount of people who kept their debts a secret and often having a sense of dread when it came to discussing their finances with their partner.

The survey suggested that the largest amount of hidden debts was due to credit cards loans with around 5.6 million people owing an average of £2,109.

Approximately in the UK, almost 2.6 million people have hidden personal loan debt, with the average amount being £5,011. The total owed to friends and family is £15.6bn, which calculated to more than £8,000 owed per person.

The additional sources of secret debt included car payments, child support payments and store cards.

The survey stated that 61% of married couples who were questioned said they would rather talk about their political beliefs than their financial situation, whereas 30% admitted they would be more willing to discuss about their “discriminatory views”.

Married couples who had hidden debts were twice as likely as others to not disclose their borrowing in order to avoid arguments, with 30% of those survey believed that it was none of their partner’s business.

Jane Morgan, Business Manager at Direct Line, stated:

“A conversation about your finances can be awkward and if you’ve got debt even somewhat distressing, but it’s important to ensure your partner is aware of your financial position, especially if you live together or are married, as they could be liable for any outstanding debts.

“Given so many people are hiding debts from their nearest and dearest, we’d suggest having these discussions as early as possible to make sure you are prepared.”

These findings were revealed after the Bank of England warned that the high level of household debt poses a risk to the UK’s financial stability.

Bank of England Deputy Governor, John Cunliffe stated, household debt is “quite high” by historical standards, “but within that there are areas that you do worry about. You worry about households that have high debt and could be badly affected in a recession,” he said.

We appreciate that unemployment, separation, sickness or bereavement are participating factors in an individual’s debt. If you want advice on how to make informed choices or help negotiating with your creditors to reduce monthly payments please contact Director Anthony directly on, 020 3114 1227 or via email on anthonyo@duncanlewis.com.

Anthony Okumah is a Director and Head of the Duncan Lewis Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department. He specialises in dispute resolution (litigation, arbitration or mediation), professional negligence claims predominantly against solicitors, debt recovery; insolvency; contractual disputes, leasehold disputes and contentious probate cases.

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Please get in touch with our debt team on 033 3772 0409.

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