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Are you a financial fibber?

Are you a financial fibber?

Category: Money

Updated: 10/11/2014
First Published: 10/11/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

If you've ever passed off the purchase of a new gadget as being half the price it actually was, or fibbed about the amount of cash stashed away in your savings account, you're not alone. In fact, according to the latest survey by Standard Life, almost 48% of British adults have confessed to telling fibs about their finances at some point.

The biggest fibbers

While both sexes are guilty of telling the occasional financial fib, it seems that women are more likely to spin the truth than men when it comes to their finances - 51% of women in the survey admitted to telling lies about their finances compared with 44% of men.

Younger generations are also more likely to tell such fibs. Sixty-one per cent of adults aged 18-24years-old claimed that they had told money lies, compared with only 38% of those aged 55 or older.

What are people fibbing about?

Secret shopping sprees were the most common money-related lie told by UK adults in the survey, with 19% of respondents claiming to conceal a shopping splurge. Women were most likely to tell fibs about a purchase, with 23% confessing to hide the truth about a new item compared with only 14% of men. Items women were most likely to lie about were new shoes and clothes (19%), while men were more likely to fib about their latest must-have gadget (11%).

While lies about new purchases came out on top for women, the survey found that the top lie for men surrounded debt, with 16% of male respondents confessing to telling untruths about the amount of money they owed. A smaller number of women (14%) admitted lying about the same financial issue.

However, financial fibs were not limited to spending habits – 14% of respondents also lied about the amount of money they save.

Interestingly, 65% of those who have told fibs about their spending have under-exaggerated the amount of cash they have stashed away. This is particularly the case among women, with 72% of female respondents who admitted lying about their savings underplaying the amount they have saved. In comparison, only 58% of men admitted doing the same.

Women were also found to be more likely to have hidden funds, with 9% of women claiming to have a secret money stash, such as a bank account, compared with only 5% of men.

Salaries were another common source of lies, and again, many respondents were found guilty of underplaying or undervaluing their income. Of the 7% who admitted telling a few white lies about their salaries, nearly half (46%) admitted that they told friends and family that they earned less than they did.

Fibbing to your family

While telling a few white lies to friends about the size of your salary or the actual cost of those new shoes is pretty harmless, it seems that a large number of Brits are more likely to end up lying to their nearest and dearest. Among those who responded to the survey, more than one in five (21%) said that they would be most likely to lie about their finances to their spouse, while 20% of those who are unmarried would lie to their partner. This is a worrying finding considering that partners often rely upon one another for financial support and security.

Commenting on the findings, Julie Hutchinson of Standard Life said:

"The first step to a positive financial future is to be honest with yourself about the state of your finances. If you are telling financial fibs to your nearest and dearest, the likelihood is that you are not being totally honest with yourself either. And if you feel the need to tell lies about the state of your finances, this probably indicates they aren't completely shipshape.

"The one person you should really be honest with about money issues is your partner. It's hard for any couple to build a future together based on financial fibs."

What should I do?

Telling the occasional white lie won't get you into too much trouble, but if you are a regular financial fibber, it may be time to sit down and have a conversation about it with your nearest and dearest. Sweeping your receipts under the carpet won't work forever, and it could put your financial future at risk.

If you regularly use your credit card for a spending splurge, you may want to think about getting a 0% purchase card. These cards will not charge you interest on your purchases for an introductory period, and they could help you to get your spending under control. You may also want to look for a 0% balance transfer card. If you avoid spending on these cards and focus on clearing the debt before the introductory offer ends, you can get your finances straightened out. You can check out our best buy tables to find the deal for you.

If you have got secret stashes of cash around the house, or you have extra funds languishing away in an easy access account, why not make this money work harder for you by investing it in a savings account that pays a better rate of interest? Fixed rate deals often offer the best returns, so check out our top picks to find the right one for you.

What next?

Check out our top 0% balance transfer credit cards

Take a look at the 0% purchase credit card best buys

Find the best fixed rate savings deal for you

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.