Do you think anyone you know might be hiding debt?
This was when my world fell apart having just learned that my wonderful husband (boyfriend at that time) was up to his neck in debt and that he’d been hiding it from me.
Hiding debt from those you love is quite common
We’d just bought our first house together and when applying for the mortgage, we had to list all our debts (and assets – not much to list there!). So we did just that and on paper, our financial situation was pretty poor but our wages meant that that we could afford a mortgage and also repay our debts.
When credit scores were checked as part of our mortgage application, everything was fine as no payments had been missed and therefore we had a good credit score.The mortgage was finalised and we happily moved into our little house with our two cats.
We plodded along peacefully until one day, my now husband was fired from his job. After an initial panic, he found another job but took a huge paycut – still, we were just able to pay our bills so we relaxed a bit and life carried on as normal.
I noticed ever so slightly, letters starting to build up that weren’t being opened. We were both so busy and some of the letters were mine that weren’t opened as well as him. I knew that mine were junk mail and thought his were too.
Just before Christmas, my subconscious starting talking to me about the mail that wasn’t being opened. I started to quiz my other half about it and he brushed it off saying it was just the usual junk mail. At this point in our lives, we both had separate bank accounts and we were happy with that – we wanted to be financially independent from each other and we trusted each other implicitly.
Shortly afterwards, I began to regularly nag my future hubby about the mail and eventually he did open one of the letters. It was a bill with a red statement saying URGENT OVERDUE on it. The debt figures on there were astonishing and it shocked him as much as me. He had no idea about how much he owed and one by one we opened the rest of the letters: they were all as bad as the first.
Up until just before we read the letters, the repayments were being made on his debt. (We checked his bank account later and found that he was £5K into his overdraft – the payments had been coming out of his account and each month he was getting further and further overdrawn until finally he had maxed out his overdraft.)
This is an extract from the Simple Finance Blog article:
Why They’re Hiding It
Fox Business quotes therapist and relationship expert Dr. Karen Ruskin on the five main reasons why partners hide money from one another:
- They’re committing adultery.
- They don’t trust their partner.
- It’s a form of conflict avoidance.
- Planning to leave the relationship.
- Afraid their partner might leave the relationship.
I guess for us, we can relate to points 3 and 5 from this list. My hubby says now that deep down he knew the debt was bad but didn’t want to face it. He didn’t tell me his suspicions because he didn’t want to lose me.
My husband is a great guy and has been keen for us to post this article to raise awareness of people hiding debt problems from those they love.
I can honestly say that I do trust him implicitly still. It’s just that he was crap with money and didn’t know how to spend it wisely or save it. I’m pretty much the same myself, just that I didn’t have as much debt as him to hide. The point is, that anyone could be hiding a debt problem and feel that they can’t share it. This is both super scary for the person hiding the debt and for others who may share the problem when they find out.
Looking back there were other signs aside from the build up of mail. Impulsive spending for one but I didn’t take any notice as I also bought things impulsively. Being secretive about bank accounts is another.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago (after the other debt hurdle – check out our story!) that we finally got ourselves a joint account. It’s the best thing we ever did – we still feel like independent people but our finances are joined. We have no secrets now and are moving forwards with paying our way out of our joint debt.
Do you think someone you know is hiding debt?
If you suspect that someone you know is hiding debt, I would say firstly to monitor their mail build up and if there is a great big pile of unopened letters, either encourage them to open them or open them yourself (if you dare)! The sooner a debt problem comes to light, the sooner there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are loads of organisations out there available to help. Try these two (UK charities) for starters: