More than one in ten hide debts from their partner

Family|Relationships|May 28th 2014

More than one person in ten has debts they have not revealed to their partner, a new survey suggests.

The Debt Advisory Centre commissioned a survey of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over, of which one quarter lived in Scotland.

Thirteen per cent admitted to having such debts – the equivalent of 5.4 million people.

Close to half (46 per cent) of people with hidden debts owe more than £2,500, the Service reports, and no less than 24 per cent owe more than £5,000.

London residents are most likely to have hidden debts, with a quarter of respondents living in the capital admitting to them. People in Wales, by contrast, were much less likely to have secret financial liabilities – just seven per cent admitted to hidden debt.

Perhaps predictably, younger respondents were most likely to admit to have undisclosed liabilities  – a quarter of people aged 25 to 34 said they had, compared to less than seven per cent of those aged over 55.

Ian Williams, a spokesman for the Debt Advisory Centre, said:

“It is very common for people to conceal borrowings, especially if they are struggling to repay it all. In fact, in some cases when clients speak to one of our debt advisors we can often be the first people they’ve told about their debt problem.”

Nick White is head of the Forensic Accountancy Department here at Stowe Family Law, helping to uncover hidden assets for clients and a reveal a true picture of financial circumstances. He said:

“These figures don’t  surprise me at all.  In fact I am surprised it is as low as 13 per cent.  In the cases we see it is not just hidden liabilities that come out of the woodwork, it is also hidden assets that the other partner does not know about.  I would say that the more financially sophisticated the individual the greater the likelihood that assets are hidden and liabilities are overstated.”

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