A new report from the government’s Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) claims that 21 million Brits are keeping money secrets from their loved one.
The survey suggests 4 out of 20 Britons are keeping secrets which include hiding debt problems.
Of those spoken to, the most common secrets revealed were hidden credit cards (37%), undisclosed loans (23%) and secret savings accounts (21%).
The most secretive generation are Millennials, aged between 25 and 34, with 3 out of 5 hiding their finances.
Sarah Poretta of MaPS said there were ‘numerous reasons’ behind the secrecy.
She said: “A secret savings account could act as a buffer for those who want to escape a difficult relationship; an unpaid bill could be kept under wraps in order to protect anxious family members.
“For many who keep money secrets, it can be a feeling of shame or embarrassment that debts have spiralled out of control.”
But the survey suggested Brits also feel a stigma around talking about personal finances.
Almost 40% of respondents said they stayed silent about concerns because they felt embarrassed or feared being judged.
The report also showed that people in relationships tended to underestimate the extent of the secret their partners were hiding.
Almost a quarter suspected their partners were hiding something while nearly half admitted they were keeping things hidden.
One respondent told the survey: “I was once close to bankruptcy due to credit cards and loans which I did not reveal to my partner until it couldn’t be hidden any longer.
I admitted the issues eventually and we sorted it.”
A similar story was told by another respondent who said: “I didn’t tell my husband when I lost control of our credit card debt and ended up juggling cards and minimum payments.
“Eventually I admitted it to him and actually acknowledged the amount of debt I now had.
He supported me to get onto a debt payment plan, which I have been paying for just over a year now, and we are far more financially stable.”
The survey marked the MaPS Talk Money campaign which encourages people who have found themselves struggling financially in the pandemic to talk it over with someone.
Ms Poretta said: “We know that many people will be struggling with money worries due to the financial impact of Covid-19, so if you feel this is getting on top of you, having a conversation with someone – a friend, family member or expert – can bring a different perspective and allow you to feel more in control as a result.
“Opening up is a valuable start to making problems more manageable, for the benefit of our health, relationships and overall wellbeing.
There’s never been a more important time to start talking than today and our online Talk Money guides offer guidance to help start conversations and prepare yourself ahead of these.
“You are not alone and, as our research shows, there are many others harbouring secrets about money; there are resources available to help tackle some of these secrets including debt advice, as well as money and pensions guidance.”