Men are more likely to have a secret savings pot - here's why that matters

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More men in a relationship have got secret savings from their partner than women – and they’ve put aside more in their hidden stash too.

Over a quarter of men in a relationship have savings their partner doesn’t know about, compared to just a fifth of women. What’s more, the amount they have tucked away is higher too, as the average amount men have in secret savings is £5,884 compared to £4,878 for women.

One of the reasons behind the gender difference is likely to be the differences in disposable income between partners. Regardless of gender, more people in full-time jobs have secret savings (34%) compared to those in part-time work (20%), and typically more woman work flexibly or have reduced hours, meaning they simply may not have the spare cash to create a secret pot.

But there’s a big difference across ages too. Younger men are far more likely to have a secret savings pot from their partner – of those aged between 18 and 34, 62% of men have secret savings compared to just 30% of women. By their nature of being younger, these relationships are likely to be newer, showing that it may take men longer to trust their partner with their full financial information.

Those who have had failed relationships previously are more wary too, with 33% of divorcees having secret savings, compared to 23% of those who have never been divorced. But, again, men are more likely to have a secret stash than women, with almost two-fifths of male divorcees having savings their partner isn’t aware of, compared to a quarter of female divorcees.

But why does this matter?

There’s actually nothing wrong with having secret savings, how couples manage their finances is a deeply personal thing – and many people may not feel ready to completely combine finances or to merge all their savings.

Some people actually advocate having a pot of money that only you know about so you can get out of any situation – whether that’s a bad job or a bad relationship. So, in theory, it’s totally fine to have secret savings from your partner if that’s what you want. The only issue would be if one half of the couple thinks they have entirely combined finances and is transparent about their savings, and the other half is building up a secret pot.

However, the worrying factor is that lots more men have secret savings than women, and they have more squirreled away too. This means if the relationship was to break down, the man would be in a better position as they’d immediately have money. For many women this is because they earn less and may shoulder the burden of childcare costs, meaning they may simply have no money left at the end of the month to put anything away for the future.

For everyone it’s a good idea to have an emergency fund, which is usually around three to six months of expenses (the key word here is expenses, not income, as the latter would be unattainable for many people). So, enough money to cover at least a few months of the cost of your monthly essentials (rent/mortgage, bills, food etc).

Couples can decide whether they save this together or have it in separate pots. But if you don’t have this in place and you don’t want it jointly with your partner, you need to work out a way to get it. Maybe that’s discussing your partner contributing more to certain costs so you have some disposable income at the end of the month, or it’s working out how to save some money each month and funnelling that into savings.

Source: Independent survey of 5,000 UK adults conducted for AJ Bell by Opinium between 26 and 30 August 2021.

The downlow

  • More men than women have secret savings
  • Men also have more stashed away than women
  • Divorcees and younger people are more likely to have a secret pot
  • Having savings your partner doesn’t know about isn’t necessarily bad

  • …just make sure you have an emergency pot, whether as a couple or solo

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    Key data points:

    • Men in a relationship are more likely to have savings their partner doesn’t know about. 27% of men have secret savings compared to 20% of women.
    • And the amount they have tucked away is higher too. So the average amount men have in secret savings is £5,884 compared to £4,878 for women.
    • The biggest differences are at a younger age, so of those between 18-34 62% of men have secret savings compared to just 30% of women.
    • One of the divides is disposable income, as more people in full-time jobs have secret savings (34%) compared to those in part-time work (20%).
    • Some of it may be down to learning from past life experiences, as people who’ve been divorced before are more likely to have secret savings than those who haven’t. 33% of divorcees have secret savings, compared to 23% of those who haven’t been divorced. But again, male divorcees are more likely than women to have a secret stash (39% compared to 24%).

    Source: Independent survey of 5,000 UK adults conducted for AJ Bell by Opinium between 26 and 30 August 2021.

     

    These articles are for information purposes only and are not a personal recommendation or advice.


    ajbell_laura_suter_MM's picture
    Written by:
    Laura Suter

    Laura Suter is Personal Finance Analyst at AJ Bell. She is a multi-award winning former financial journalist, having specialised in investments. Laura joined AJ Bell from the Daily Telegraph, where she was investment editor. She has previously worked for adviser publications Money Marketing and Money Management, and has worked for an investment publication in New York. She has a degree in Journalism Studies from University of Sheffield.


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