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Do you know where your partner's money is?

  • 27 per cent of Brits married and in relationships have no idea where their partners’ money is banked or invested
  • 17 per cent of people who have been in a relationship for 10 years or more wouldn’t know how to locate their partner’s assets in the event of their passing
  • Almost one in five married Brits say their partner doesn’t know their current account sort code and account number (18 per cent)

New research from Direct Line life insurance1 reveals that while Brits are prepared to share nearly all aspects of their life on social media, when it comes to the last taboo, their finances, they aren’t so forthcoming even with their nearest and dearest.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Brits has no idea where their partner’s money is banked or invested. In fact, ten million people would have no idea how to locate or access their partner’s accounts were they to be incapacitated or pass away. It’s not just an issue for new couples, 17 per cent of people who have been married or in a relationship for ten years or more wouldn’t know how to locate their partner’s assets in the event of their death.

Over a quarter (28 per cent) of those in a relationship wouldn’t know how to access their partners’ current account, having no idea of their account number or sort code. Even amongst married couples, people don’t know the basic details of their partner’s current account, with almost one in five (18 per cent) not sharing account information with their loved one.

Table one: Brits marital money secrets

Type of account Percentage of married
people who don’t give their
partners access
Percentage of those in a
relationship
Workplace pension details 20 per cent 32 per cent
Current account details 18 per cent 28 per cent
Private pension details 17 oer cent 26 per cent
Savings account details 17 per cent 28 per cent
Credit card account details 16 per cent 27 per cent
ISA account details 15 per cent 24 per cent
Other investments (e.g. shares and bonds) 13 per cent 21 per cent

Source: Direct Line Life Insurance

While married Brits are more forthcoming with their partners about their finances than unmarried couples, there are still millions of Brits who are secretive about their financial information. One in five married Brits have a partner who doesn’t know the details of their workplace pension, rising to almost a third (32 per cent) of all Brits in a relationship.

Nearly one in five (17 per cent) married people denied their husband or wife’s access to their savings details and this number increased to 28 per cent of all those in a relationship. Similarly, 16 per cent of married people wouldn’t give their spouses access to their credit card details, but this figure rises to 27 per cent of all Brits in a relationship.

Jane Morgan, Business Manager at Direct Line Life Insurance, commented: “Establishing a foundation of trust in a relationship can be difficult; especially when it comes to finances. As awkward as it may be, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to money matters. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, concealing details of your finances from your other half or a close family member can delay probate at a significant cost to those nearest to the deceased.”

“Life insurance offers an affordable way for families to help look after loved ones financially if someone passes away, paying out a lump sum to help deal with every day money concerns such as household bills, credit card costs and mortgage payments.”

Case study: Andrew from Kent said: “When my Dad’s aunt passed away we found out she’d taken a life insurance policy out protecting her younger brother when he was eight years old. My Dad tried a few times to see if it was worth anything but always ended up getting nowhere as we didn’t have a copy of the death certificate. However, when I had some time recently I contacted the insurer again, we worked out he would have been over 150 and as I was the only living relative, the company were happy to pay-out. Thanks to my Great-Aunt we’ve just received £1,200. I’m really hoping to do something special with the family, to honour her in a way.”

Regional findings:

Residents of London are the least likely of any UK city to know where their partners’ assets are located, with over a third (34 per cent) of those in a relationship not knowing how to access these funds. Those living in Plymouth have the greatest awareness of their partners’ banking details and investments with just 14 per cent of people not knowing how to track down their partners’ assets.

Table two: Couple’s awareness of the location of their partners’ money

City Percentage of residents who would
not know where their
partner/spouse’s money was
located if they were to pass away
London 34 per cent
Norwich 30 per cent
Nottingham 29 per cent
Southampton 28 per cent
Edinburgh 28 per cent
Glasgow 27 per cent
Belfast 26 per cent
Bristol 26 per cent
Leeds 25 per cent
Birmingham 24 per cent
Cardiff 22 per cent
Manchester 20 per cent
Liverpool 19 per cent
Newcastle 16 per cent
Plymouth 14 per cent

Source: Direct Line Life Insurance

Familial finances

When it comes to sorting out someone’s estate, it’s not only partners’ assets that people struggle to access in the event of a death. Locating assets of children, parents or grandparents can also be extremely challenging and can cause serious issues when it comes to probate. Only 38 per cent of Brits would know where to find details of their parents’ banking and investments and just 24 per cent for their children aged over 18.

Table three: Familial awareness of assets

Family relation Percentage of people who
know where the assets of
their loved ones are
located
Partner 10 years plus 81 per cent
Partner or spouse 71 per cent
Parent 38 per cent
Child over 18 24 per cent
Grand parent 9 per cent

Source: Direct Line Life Insurance

For more information on life insurance, please visit: https://www.directline.com/life-cover/family-financial-planning

Notes to editors

1 Research conducted by Opinium amongst a representative sample of 2,000 adults completed between 1st and 4th May 2018

For further information please contact:

Claire Jarrett
Media Relations Executive
Direct Line Group
Tel: 01651 832 411
Email: claire.jarrett@directlinegroup.co.uk

Katie Ormrod
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 282 1023
Email: katie.ormrod@citigatedewerogerson.com

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel, pet and life insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line life insurance policies are underwritten by Legal & General, registered office: One Coleman Street, London EC2R 5AA. Legal & General Assurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under number 117659. You can check the FCA register at www.fca.org.uk/register or call the FCA on 0800 111 6768. Legal & General will introduce customers who select the Funeral Benefit Option to Dignity Funeral Services, who are members of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0800 145 5522 or visiting www.directline.com/life-cover