More than a fifth of women have secretly saved money from a partner in case they wanted to separate, says Fidelity International

Over a fifth of women (22 per cent) have a secret savings fund to provide them with financial support should their relationship end or they choose to leave their partner, according to new research from Fidelity International, rising to more than a quarter (27 per cent) of women with children.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of women with a secret fund said they wanted to be prepared for any eventuality, while 44 per cent said they have always had separate savings from their partner and wanted to retain a sense of financial independence.

Data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that while families containing a married or civil partnered couple has decreased over the past 10 years, those choosing to co-habit (live together) has increased from 15.3 per cent to 18.4 per cent - equivalent to 3.5 million families as of 2019. This growing trend highlights the importance for women of feeling financially secure, particularly if they do not have a legal arrangement in place to support them if a relationship ends.
Maike Currie, Investment Director at Fidelity International, says: “When it comes to managing your money, being financially independent is one of the first steps to feeling financially empowered. It’s so important, particularly considering the economic uncertainty we all face, that people have sufficient confidence in their finances to make decisions about all aspects of their lives.
“Ultimately, everyone should have a fall-back. This doesn’t necessarily mean you want to ‘run away’ from your partner, or that you are being secretive about your money. It does, however, mean you have the savings to make choices, whether that’s leaving a failing relationship, resigning from a bad job or toxic company, or even a controlling parent. It’s about having the means to make those choices. With more and more couples choosing to live together rather than marrying, ensuring financial independence is even more important to the younger generation.

“The growing number of women putting aside money for the future - regardless of their relationship status - shows that taking control of your own money can do more than just allow women to have an income of their own; money can also offer a sense of freedom and provide an opportunity to change your personal circumstances if necessary.
“The motherhood penalty combined with the gender pay gap and can mean that women’s personal finances suffer long into their retirement, compared to their male counterparts, with many facing a massive gender pension gap, as a result. According to research 50 per cent more women than men are heading towards retirement without any private pension savings. But there are steps that women can take to ensure that they are financially empowered - making sure they understand all of their household’s financial obligations and outgoings; establishing their own savings and investments; and exploring whether there are opportunities to maximise their workplace pension by increasing contributions.”