Tackling your debts

Are shared finances the only thing keeping you together?

Posted 28 April 2014

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<p>Building a life with someone often means shared financial commitments … which can be hard to cut if you break up.</p>

When you fall in love, it’s only natural to want to build a life together. This might be through opening a joint bank account, moving in together or perhaps even getting married and starting a family. As a result, not only are you sharing your life with someone, but many of your financial commitments as well.

However, if that love goes and you want to end the relationship and move on, these financial ties can seem hard to break.

Unable to move on

Unfortunately, this is exactly the situation many people in the UK have found themselves in, according to a study* conducted for us. Nearly one in five of the people we spoke to admitted they have at some point stayed with a partner they no longer want to be with just because of their financial circumstances.

Among these people, a fifth had stayed in the relationship for up to three months after it would have otherwise ended. However, more than two-fifths revealed they’d remained in the partnership for over a year … and a quarter stayed for more than three years.

Money matters

It’s hardly surprising so many people feel they can’t break off a relationship because their finances are too intertwined with those of their partner. They may worry they can’t afford the mortgage on their own and will have to move out, or that they’ll struggle to afford their current lifestyle on just one salary.

This can lead to a financial situation spiraling out of control. In fact, research** carried out for us last year found that more than one in 10 of those looking for help with their debts did so because of the breakdown of a relationship.

Speaking to our own clients in 2013, we discovered that one in 20 had ended up with a problem debt after a breakup and the same number because of a divorce.

Starting over

Of course, financial ties to your partner can be very hard to sever … but it might be equally difficult to remain in a relationship that makes you unhappy and that you think is over. That’s why seeking help with your finances if you are going through a breakup could be beneficial.

Give one of our advisors a call and they will offer you support and information on how to manage your money during this period. And if you have problem debts, they can provide advice on any solutions that might suit your circumstances. If you’re going through a marital breakup, you can read our divorce and debt action plan here.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 4th April and 9th April 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents.

** Consumer Intelligence research carried out a survey of a representative sample of 2,202 UK adults from 31st July - 05th August 2013.

by Kyri Levendi

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.