Is it OK to Have a Secret Account Your Spouse Doesn’t Know About?

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/02/2013 | 10:15 AM EST

The pros and cons of financial secrecy

When you say “I do,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that you promise to be honest to your partner about where you keep your secret stash. Some devoted partners, for whatever reason, choose to hide some of their cash in bank accounts their husband or wife knows nothing about.

But is it right?

While the answer may seem like an obvious no, for some, having a secret account may not seem like such a big deal. They would argue that “it’s my money, and I should be able to do what I want with it.” But the truth of the matter is that if you truly respect the sanctity of marriage, you’ll respect your partner enough to be transparent about your finances. Having a separate account that your spouse is aware of, however, is a more healthy alternative.

If keeping some of your money apart from the joint household finances is something that is important to you, sit your partner down and talk openly about it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something to call your own. Just because you chose to walk down the aisle, it doesn’t mean you’re sworn to give up your financial independence. However, it’s important to keep in mind that in a marriage, there is more sharing and compromise than anything else.

The best way to handle divvying up you and your partner’s money is to set up a joint account that you both agree to put a percentage of your monthly income into. That way, both partners are fairly or equally contributing to the pot. However, who makes or doesn’t make the most money may still pose as a potential roadblock. To alleviate this issue, whoever makes the most money should consider contributing a little more than the partner who does not. Remember: fairness is key. Not to mention, this kind of sharing system, allows the person who doesn’t necessarily bring home the bacon to feel empowered in the relationship.

While it would be nice to keep all your money divided, marriage changes everything - especially when both partners are responsible for paying bills like the mortgage, utility and car note. Hiding your money only destroys the trust in your relationship. Besides, financial strains is one of the main causes of divorce. So if you want a marriage that will last, you’re better off being honest. If you want an account that is all your own, do that. In fact, it’s strongly encouraged. Just don’t do it behind your spouse’s back.

(Photo: Mark Hatfield/Getty Images)

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