Most people spend the first few weeks of a new calendar year trying to work out just where their annual bonus, salary for November and December and savings went.

London - Couples lie to each other about the size of their savings pots, debts and even salaries, research has found.

One in ten adults over 40 keep some or all of their savings hidden from their partner, while one in seven cover up debts worth an average of £8 000 (about R190 000).

The average secret savings stash was worth £30,300 and included investments and pension pots, according to the survey of over-40s by Prudential.

Nearly a third who hid money from their partner said they did so to fund their retirement, with women more likely to claim this than men. Just over a quarter concealed savings to ensure financial security in case of a relationship breakdown.

The survey also found one in eight people refused to tell their partner who much they earned.

More than a quarter said this was so they could maintain their independence, while one in five were worried about their finances in case of a break-up.

However, another one in five did so as they did not trust their partner to make sound financial decisions.