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20% of couples marry with hidden debt


A recent study from Debt Advisory Centre has found that one in five people planning to marry soon are hiding some form of debt from their partner.

In a survey of 2,000 adults, 20% of respondents admitted that their partner is not aware of the full extent of their borrowing. The average amount hidden works out at an average of £3,200, with a fifth owing more than £5,000.

A third of people hide their debt due to embarrassment, a further 17% say they are not comfortable sharing their financial situation with a partner and 7% felt it was better to save the revelation about debt until after their honeymoon. A third of those who are planning to get married didn’t feel it was important to tell their partner about their debts at all.

Melanie Taylor, spokeswoman for Debt Advisory Centre, said:
“Discussing finances, especially debts, can be daunting, especially in a new relationship. However, hiding debt from your spouse or fiancé is storing-up a problem that could seriously threaten the future security and happiness of both of you.

“Once plans turn to marriage, it’s essential that you understand each other’s financial position and that includes any debt that you bring into the marriage. I would advise setting aside time to go through your finances together and to put in place clear plans to manage money, including household budgeting and paying-off debt. And if you are worried about the amount that you owe, then seek professional advice together. Feeling worried about money is bound to seep into your relationship, so don’t struggle on your own.”

Sara Davison, break-up and divorce coach, adds:
“It's natural to want to show your best side to your future spouse so it can be tempting to hide any debt issues you may have. However it's important to remember that honesty is key to a long lasting and happy partnership.

“Money problems put a lot of stress on relationships and if the information was withheld it can cause huge trust issues. Financial challenges can be overcome if dealt with properly. However, if you sweep them under the carpet the damage to your marriage may be irreparable.

“I see many clients in my clinic who believe their problems started with disagreements over money, and the frustration and resentment built-up and spread to other areas of their relationship, driving them further and further apart. It's always best to face up to your true financial situation and deal with any embarrassment before you take your wedding vows. If they are the partner for you, they will work with you to find a solution. If not, then better you know now than face the divorce courts later on.”

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