Very British Attitudes to Money: Exploring Britain’s Biggest Taboo

We conducted a survey of 2,000 adults to find out just how uncomfortable talking about money makes us, the conversations about money that we’re least happy to have, and who we talk to about our finances.


Conversations about money are so uncomfortable that many Brits admit to having lied about how much they earn


Over 1 in 5 of us has lied about how much we earn – most often to our friends, and partners. More people say they’ve lied to their partner about what they earn than have lied to a total stranger.

Young people are much more likely to lie about how much they earn


Over a third of 25-34-year-olds say they’ve lied about their salary, compared to just 13% of 55-64 years old. And the lies go both ways – nearly 1 in 3 people who’ve lied about their wages have said they earn less than they actually do, although the majority say they lie because they’re embarrassed about not earning more.

The topics we find most uncomfortable vary by age



Older people are more comfortable discussing their salaries and listening to others talk about their spending habits. They’re also more likely to be comfortable not leaving a tip. However, when it comes to talking about borrowing or lending money, older people are much less comfortable than younger age groups.

Conversely, 18-34-year-olds are far more uncomfortable discussing debt, what they earn, and how they spend their money than those over 35.

Men are more likely to lie about their financial situation than women


24% of men have lied about their salary, compared to just 16% of women. Most strikingly, when talking to their own children, Dads are 5 times as likely to lie about how much they earn than Mums.

When we talk about money, the conversations and situations that make us most uncomfortable are about lending or borrowing…

We’ve put together an interactive version of the full list of conversations and situations that make us uncomfortable, view the full study of British attitudes to money to see how opinions vary depending on age and gender.