Ever thought about if a spouse or family member is lying about debt?

Most people are shy about sharing their financial details, even with those closest to them. We often hear a partner hasn’t been 100% honest about their income or debts. Everyone has different ways of coping with debt stress. It may be lying about it and pretending it’s not there. Or, it’s accepting outing invitations from friends to “save face”. It could even be over spending on family members during the holidays. All of these are an effort to appear financially secure, when in reality, you’re drowning in debt.

Ignoring debt will only lead to an increase in interest rates, negative scores on your credit history and penalty charges. In short, hiding from debt could drag you down from a stable financial condition to a pit of bad credit and oppressive debt.

Lying about debt is common.

According to Super Drug Online, 73% of “people surveyed who’d been in a relationship for at least a year admitted to lying to their partners in order to maintain their healthy romantic relationship,”.

Additional research found that almost one in five (17%) adults is uninformed of the amount of their partner’s debt. Yet another showed that not all people intended to tell their partner about their debt in the future. 17% of people said that they will not tell their partners about how much debt they are in. 11% admitted lying to their partners about their current debt. Needless to say, lying about debt is far more common than most people realize.

Why is it difficult to be honest about financial matters?

The burden of debt can disturb people in many ways. As well as hurting your budget, it can also cause anxiety, stress, depression, and other debilitating conditions. If debt has this big an impact on us personally, divulging it to anyone would be difficult.

Most people try to avoid embarrassment at all costs. Being in severe debt is embarrassing for most people. It’s a pretty easy conclusion to say people avoid talking about their debt because they’re embarrassed.  A responsible adult shouldn’t be in severe credit card or other debt, should they? Well, no, not ideally… but the reality is many adults in America are.

A study from Equifax in the UK showed – 51% of people questioned said their explanations for hiding debts were that they were ‘ashamed’, and 46% confessed that they were ‘scared of their partner’s reaction’.

Here’s the top reasons we found people lie about their debt.

  • Guilt or Shame
  • Not wanting to burden their partner
  • Can cause turmoil in an otherwise healthy relationship
  • Sometimes, the reasons can be more serious such as the result of gambling debts or other addictions. In this scenario, hiding can be a bigger problem.
  • Many individuals hide debt to save themselves from embarrassment. When the collection agents don’t get the response, they start calling the family members aggressively.
  • Lack of education. Sometimes people don’t realize there’s various debt relief options available to help them. A common problem is oppressive consumer debt, specifically credit card debt. A good debt relief company will offer you an effective and sympathetic plan to help you get out of a financial pit.

There’s psychological reasons for lying about debt in a relationship specifically:

  • People, who hide debt, tend to be less trusting of their partners
  • It’s a form of denial and conflict avoidance
  • They’re afraid that their partner might leave the relationship so choose to lie
  • They’re done with the relationship and they don’t see a need to talk about it.

What are the repercussions?

Hiding or avoiding your debts is never a practical solution, not even for the short term. Let’s discuss a few possible consequences of hiding debt.

Missing payments and the addition of interest will result in rapidly growing debts. Of course, the creditors will want to reclaim what they’re owed. There’s a few cases in which the individuals were found liable for debts sustained by their ex-partners, even the debts were hidden from them.

Missed repayments will be recorded on your credit history which will have adverse effects on future borrowing. If the situation gets worse, you may have to deal with lawsuits. It can cause losing valuable possessions such as your car. In the worst cases, in leads to bankruptcy.

If you have a mortgage and you don’t pay your payments, in severe cases, you might even lose the home.
Financial loss is not the only consequence of hiding debt, but the guilt and stress of hiding debts can lead to additional mental health issues like depression or anxiety.

Where can you get help for managing debts?

There are many organizations and charities that aim to help people who are struggling with debts. These comprise of websites that give useful advice on how to rearrange or pay off your debts, specialists on bankruptcy and also facilities that can help with mental health issues.

While we specialize in debt settlement, we encourage all consumers to explore their options and get the help they need. That has to be done before tackling you debt. We believe trust is essential, and encourage people to talk to their partners about their debt. Make a plan together and use it as a tool to build your relationship, rather than harm it.

If you’re struggling with severe debt, specifically unsecured debt like credit cards, no-collateral loans, medical bills, etc. – Speak to one of our debt consultants to find out your options.


Your partner in debt relief,
Consumer First Financial