Do you know what your partner earns? And if you don’t, is that a problem? If it’s just a matter of whether or not you go Dutch on the next date, then perhaps it’s not all that important. But when it comes to joint bank accounts, or a joint mortgage, then that becomes a whole different ballgame.
So it’s intriguing that a recent poll conducted by pensions specialists Portafina suggests that many of us aren’t being entirely honest with our other halves when it comes to our finances. Almost half of those questioned admitted that they didn’t know exactly what their partner earned (with some choosing research their partner’s wage in secret rather than simply asking), while ten per cent said that they suspected their partner had outgoings that they knew nothing about.
Of course money can be something of a touchy subject, particularly if one half earns significantly more than another – and we Brits are masters of avoiding difficult topics. The thing is, at the risk of sounding like a relationship counsellor (which I can promise you is not a career path I’m considering), the more honest people are about their finances, the more likelihood there is of that relationship being a successful one. After all, if your partner suspects that you are being secretive about your spending, what else might they suspect you of doing behind their back?
The data seemed to indicate the same thing. 70% of couples who had been together for over 26 years knew exactly what their partner earned, whereas for couples who had been together for four years, that percentage was 27.
That could indicate one of two things: that couples who are honest about their finances are more likely to have a successful relationship, or that people become more honest with their partner the longer a relationship lasts. Whichever reading of the data is correct, it just goes to show that the old maxims run true. Honestly really is the best policy.