Do you have any savings squirreled away that your partner doesn't know about? According to research from Lloyds Bank, you could well do, with the typical secret saver having a hoard of £1,675 kept out of sight of loved ones.
The Lloyds Bank Family Savings Report found that 10% of respondents keep their savings secret from their partner, and it's women who are more likely to be secretive about their financial affairs. The figures show that 11% of women with partners have secret savings compared with 9% of men, while the highest prevalence of stealthy savers were among couples aged 35-44 (13%).
The typical secret saver now keeps 46% of their savings secret, a significantly higher proportion than last year (34%) and far higher than the 28% recorded in 2013. Conversely, 7% of coupled-up individuals pretend to have more in savings than they really have, compared with 4% last year.
But just why are they being so secretive? Well, although 42% are simply keeping their savings for a rainy day, 25% keep it secret to stop their partner from spending it. Just one in 10 said that treating themselves was the main purpose of their fund, with these secret spenders typically purchasing clothing and gadgets (54%), shoes (31%) or nights out (31%) with their hidden stash.
The report went on to reveal a growing preference for saving independently, with the average couple now keeping 68% of their savings and investments in sole accounts, up from 63% in 2013. This level of independent thinking is higher among the younger age group: those aged 18-24 keep 75% of their savings in a sole account, while 55-64 year-olds keep 58% saved individually.
Even those with joint savings accounts tend to expect full disclosure, with 45% saying that they'd always expect their partner to tell them when they were spending from it, while just 9% said that their partner would never need to tell them. However, there's a definite limit: the average spending limit without having to ask a partner's permission has fallen to £249, down from £286 last year, suggesting that people are keeping a tighter rein on the purse strings.
There's a clear gender divide, too, with men's spending continuing to be more closely monitored. In fact, men now need permission to spend £194 or above – down from £245 last year – while the 'free spending limit' for women is £290, with 57% of women expecting to always be told about spending compared with 34% of men.
"The stash of secret savings is on the rise, with the UK's secret savings pot being 20% larger than it was this time last year as more and more couples seek some degree of financial independence from their partner," said Philip Robinson, savings director for Lloyds Bank.
"With four in five people agreeing that couples should also have their own funds to spend, this is a ringing endorsement for further financial independence. However, couples may also want to consider maximising the interest their savings receive by grouping more of their funds together as well as saving solo."
Whether you're a secret saver or prefer to opt for full disclosure, you'll need the right savings account to suit. Check out our best buys to find an account that can maximise your returns, however you choose to save.
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