Secret Savings, Accounts, and Debt – Oh My!

by J. Money - Published June 29, 2015[Edit]

love and money

Morning my fiscally sexy peoples! Got forwarded some pretty wild research dug up by the folks at Haven Life recently, and thought we’d break it all down here and spit some truth. Both literally and figuratively – I chopped up the infographic! :)

Y’all know my stance on this stuff already (A.G.B.T.T.Y.L.A.M baby! Always Gotta Be Talking To Your Lover About $$$!) but it’s a helpful reminder to all of us. Especially those new to the money scene and trying to get it all worked out. As the infamous Suze Orman says: People first, then money, then things. Gotta keep those relationship on lock!

Here’s what their research showed, along with my uninvited commentary…

70% of married couples would think twice about their relationship if their partner confessed to more than $5,000 in secret debt

70 percent secret debt

Of course! And I’d be one of them!! It’s not even about the $$ more so than the secrecy of it all. Not only was the money covered up until the sleuth that I am uncovered it (hah), but I’d be more curious as to what the hell was bought/used by it all? I’d have to imagine it was for stuff outside of the house or else I’d notice it coming in, right? Which means fancy dinners, entertainment, sneaky hotel rooms – OMG my wife is cheating on me!!! How could I be so oblivious??? Haha…

More than one in four (27%) Americans with financial secrets are hiding a secret checking account

That’s pretty freaky. And again, warrants the question of “why?” What are you so afraid of hiding from your significant other? Or is it more of a control/independence type thing? Cuz that I totally get, and which is why both the wife and I have our own “do as we please” accounts. Though we rarely use them anymore… It feels good knowing we have something of our own though since everything’s merged and shared these days – especially with kids now in the picture. No shame in keeping a little independence! But not sure why it needs to be kept a secret…

Devil’s Advocate: D’uh guys, the accounts are secret because they’re for gifts for their sexy lovers! They have to hide them so they don’t ruin the surprise when they go over their accounts and see 1-800-Flowers and Scandalous Lingerie Party as line items. It’s all for their significant others! :)

One in five Americans have secret debt their partner doesn’t know about

secret debt stats

Also a VERY scary number… I think I much prefer the secret savings than I do the debt ;) A much nicer surprise than “Honey! I’m home!…. with $8,352 of debt I forgot to tell you about,” Ugh… My only hope is that they had this going INTO the relationship and was too afraid to say something rather than accumulating it while IN the relationship. Not that it makes things that much better, but it still softens the blow a bit. And makes it a lot more easy to understand too.

Devil’s Advocate: It’s not that they’re hiding any debt on purpose, it’s just that they don’t KNOW about it! I bet a majority of people can’t tell you how much debt they have, or where it’s all hiding. Ignorance is bliss, right? ;)

For women who report financial secrets, top of the list are secret personal purchases (34%)

Okay, well I can’t comment here since I’m not of the beautiful female species, but I will say I’d much prefer my wife spending it on herself than on someone else, *ahem*. And considering she rarely spends anything on herself as it is, I’d actually welcome it! She never thinks of herself first! Haha…

21% percent have either a secret savings stash or checking account

The secret stash reminds me of my father who had one while in the military, only it wasn’t a secret and more of just “a stash.” Growing up I always asked him why he was allowed to buy fancy $100 Nike running shoes and I was not. He told me foremost that it was because he was “Dad” and dad’s can do whatever they want (touché), but more importantly because he saved the money throughout the year to be able to buy such things that Mom wouldn’t necessarily approve. And by now you all know my mother well enough to agree :)

When I asked her about this during our interview, she said that dad would save all the leftover money from travel and food stipends while in the military instead of blowing it all on fancy dinners and hotels like his counterparts. This would accumulate into the hundreds every year, thus giving my father plenty of “free money” he could do with as he pleases outside of household responsibilities. Smart man!

Now onto relationships and money…

One in three (32%) Americans will only discuss financial matters with a partner when the relationship has become exclusive

I’m pretty sure most of us here will spill it on the first date ;) For the general public it sounds about right… I don’t really care *when* you talk to your significant other about money and goals/life/babies/etc, so long as you actually DO IT. Let’s get those #’s higher! And from what I hear, you scare away less fish after at least date #5 than on the first, but what do I know… I haven’t dated in 10 years. I hear you can meet online now?? :)

More than one in five (22%) will wait until after getting engaged

engaged money stats

I probably wouldn’t wait that long to bring it up, but still better than once the knot is tied! Or keeping it a secret like people are apparently doing…. I still can’t believe people get away with that for so long. I have the worst poker face, and give me a few beers and it’ll all slip out anyways even if I didn’t want it to, haha… People never surprise me though.

20% of Massachusetts women believe the best time to discuss financial matters with a significant other is after moving in together

I would say that definitely warrants “the talk,” yes, but wouldn’t it be smarter to do so BEFORE moving in? Or before getting married and moving in, since my mom said you’re only allowed to cohabit with a woman once you’re married? ;) 80% of them are doing good though, so I’ll give it up to Mass. And if you’re wondering why they’re singled out like that, it’s because Haven Life currently only offers term life insurance online to them right now. They’re about to start hitting up all the other states too though soon, so don’t laugh until they find out how many people wait to discuss $$$ in YOUR state! ;)

massachusetts money talks

What does all this mean? Why should we care??

Well, the short answer is we shouldn’t care about what others are doing, but we SHOULD very much pay attention to our own loving relationships. I’m no marriage counselor, but you can never go wrong doing the following:

  1. Talking about $$$ sooner than later. I don’t care if you have to get naked and whip out a bottle of wine (or two) – just do it before you feel ridiculous waiting too long to bring up! I’m sure both of you have issues you wish you didn’t have, but better to release ’em into the world now before they add up and cause even more of a scene later. No secrets!
  2. Love the $hit out of each other. You won’t be able to do this every day of course – we all get on each others’ nerves – but as cheesy as it sounds love really does conquer all. Especially money problems. Money can be fixed no matter what position you’re in, but love ain’t something to be messed with. Communicate as much as you can, and money – and everything else! – should be much smoother over time.
  3. Communicate the $hit out of each other. Loving is the first step, but almost equally as important is communicating in a relationship. It saves sooooo much trouble, even though it’s sooooo freakin’ hard to do sometimes. Very much like saving or buying insurance when you’d rather blow it all on a guy’s (or girl’s!) weekend – hah. But just like with the principles of money, you gotta keep a solid (and trusting!) foundation with love too.

Start with trying a weekly “money talk” where you literally spend 5 minutes going over the state of affairs with everything. The good, the bad – all of it. Once that gets repetitive/boring, move it to every other week or even once a month. 5 minutes is nothing from your life, but can make all the difference in your relationship. And feel free to slip in “goals” or “career” or even “sex” in those 5 minute chats too!

Imagine if every week you and your partner were focused on all your goals and missions with life?? How could you NOT improve?

*Makes note to set up weekly chats himself… Self knows it’s smart to do, but he’d be lying if he says he does them right now. Also an important reminder: make sure *someone* is in charge of these chats! If you don’t appoint a chat-master (new word, coined here) you’ll never stay on top of her. I mean, them.

And that’s a wrap! Any other tips you’d like to add? Any of you hiding secrets from your significant other? If so, why? (Anonymous time!)

Remember, A.G.B.T.T.Y.L.A.M — Always Gotta Be Talking To Your Lover About $$$.

Problems are always scarier in your mind building up over time than they are when released into the wild. They’re never fun, and your significant other could very well be pissed off for quite some time learning of them (and rightfully so), but better to put it out there now and start cleaning it up! You owe it to your relationship, if not yourself.

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PS: You can see the entire infographic here. And since Haven Life – a provider of term life insurance (my fave!) – compensated me to mention them on my blog, I’d be remissed not to include a link to their killer insurance calculator. No pun intended ;) My wife and I both love and have term life insurance ourselves because it’s simple, easy, straightforward and necessary for many of us. You pay X amt a month, and if you die your beneficiary gets the money you insured for – no weird gray areas or hoops to jump through. And it’s cheap as hell too! Especially if you get on it while young and nubile ;)

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Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 [email protected] June 29, 2015 at 6:30 am

At this stage of my life, if I were to remarry, which I don’t think I would, I would not mix my finances with my husbands. I’m older, been married before and feel I would want to preserve my assets for my daughter and grandson. When you’re younger though and starting out, I agree you should be talking about money all the time with your partner. When there’s secrecy there’s shame and the only way to bust through the shame is to get it out on the table. Great post.

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2 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:25 am

Thanks, Maureen. You def. gotta do what you gotta do to keep your family safe :) I think the bigger issue is the communication part about $$$ more so than the combining of it or not. I know lots of couples who keep their finances separate but still openly discuss. Now whether they know exactly what’s in there or not is a whole other story!

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3 MyMoneyDesign June 29, 2015 at 6:34 am

My secret stash of money is up in my dresser drawer. However its not a very good secret; Mrs MMD is always asking if she can get a $20 out of it when she’s short on cash.

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4 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:26 am

Hah!

Now I know where it is too :)

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5 Elise@ Simply Scaled Down June 29, 2015 at 7:39 am

The only secrets I have are about my many many lovers …and by lovers I mean donuts. Donuts are my weakness and if that means our marriage is over…so be it…its worth it ;)

My husband actually read an article last week that said that 30% of people don’t know what their spouse makes. And when asked they guessed more than $10,000 more than they actually make. That to me was shocking. I know every penny that goes into our bank account!!

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6 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:30 am

oh wow, yeah – that is shocking! donuts are no joke! i mean, salaries are no joke! ;)

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7 Talaat @ His and Her Money June 29, 2015 at 7:45 am

This report is sad, but deadly accurate. In talking with other couples about their finances over the year, we have had to cross many of these bridges with them. I even went through this personally prior to marriage. I had a bunch of debt, and my soon to be wife had zero debt. I tried to feverishly eliminate all of my debt before our wedding. Needless to say that I couldn’t get it done. I had to confess that I had this secret mountain of debt, and that confession almost cost me my fiancee’ because of my dishonesty. Fortunately love brought us through, and now we warn everyone we can to be open and honest about their finances with each other. That’s the only way couples can win with their money is by working together.

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8 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:45 am

OH WOW!!! You’re a perfect example for this stuff – thanks so much for sharing man! And so glad love over came in the end! (And you still brought it up vs keeping it a secret for longer!).

I love that y’all help couples now too like that – way to pay it forward :)

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9 Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness June 29, 2015 at 8:01 am

Ouch – I feel sorry for those couples. We are completely honest with each other about money. It’s hard not to be when you have joint accounts and business income. That said we both get a ‘blow it however you want’ allowance each month which helps keep our indulgences in check.
Totally agree re the money talk – we have meetings to talk about our rental properties and business, money stuff. I try to rope in a grandparent to babysit and we go for a nice coffee so it almost feels like a treat!

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10 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:48 am

Yeah – I’d talk about ANYTHING without kids for an hour and a coffee – hah! :)

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11 Kalie June 29, 2015 at 8:16 am

Very interesting stats. I just heard that a friend learned of her new husbands’ six-figure debt to family members. Yikes! I’m hoping I got the exaggerated version of the story. But at any rate, it’s sad that people can date for years and not work up the courage to share about their financial situation. I’ve also known people who gladly paid his/her spouses’ credit card debt off when they married, even debt racked up on past romantic relationships. To me that is a beautiful example of unconditional love, and a good reason to be honest and give the person you love a chance to respond graciously (though I’m sure it doesn’t always work out that way).

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12 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:50 am

Oh man, I’d be sooooo pissed to learn that so late in a relationship. I’d like to say i’d be one of those to help pay it off in the end, but who knows. True love is an amazing thing though, as Talaat above mentioned!

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13 Brian @ Debt Discipline June 29, 2015 at 8:38 am

What’s sad about this report is not the dollar amount, but that the trust is being broken in the relationship. Much harder to earn back.

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14 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:58 am

Exactly.

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15 Mr and Mrs Geek June 29, 2015 at 8:43 am

Uauu… that data is quite shocking!
It can be hard for you to imagine but any purchases off the budget/plan we discuss it. I thought about buying a new suit and Mrs Geek was the devil’s advocate and in the end we conclude that a suit would be a need for the following years. From my experience this helps creating trust and confidence.We have joint accounts, that also helps in terms of “It’s our money” not my money..so before spending I need to confirm with her or her with me :) The exception is gifts were we define a budget in advance ;)
Cheers,
Mr and Mrs Geek

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16 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 11:01 am

Great way to do things for sure :) Do you have a price limit on stuff that you need to talk about though? We’re “allowed” to spend stuff w/out asking the other person for things usually up to around $50 or so, and then we double check w/ the other once it gets higher in price (bills owed withstanding). This works pretty well for us.

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17 Mr and Mrs Geek June 29, 2015 at 3:04 pm

I would say that the threshold is £25. But to be honest we don’t buy too much stuff when we are alone! Like clothes..shoes… If it is groceries..each own can make their own decisions..
I will never enter in a shop and buy a suit only by myself…for me that is almost cheating her because it is also her money..and she needs to be involved in the decision… Some people could feel this is lost of freedom..for us is commitment with financial independence and a additional layer to protect us from spending…I hope it makes sense.
Mr. and Mrs. Geek

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18 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm

I think it sounds just fine :)

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19 John @ Frugal Rules June 29, 2015 at 9:10 am

I’d have to agree with Brian, what’s really sad about this report is the amount of trust being broken. You add finances to the mix and it just makes it an even bigger cluster in my opinion. So much of it comes down to transparency and that open communication so both sides know what’s going on in the relationship. As to our finances, we’re joint everything aside from a small cash allowance we get each month – which we usually end up just combining to get something we want that we didn’t include in the budget or towards travel.

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20 Lisa O June 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

I am on a second marriage and we have his, hers and ours. We both were somewhat burnt with the first spouse…mine gambled about $45K away and his put them in debt by $50K for buying stuff. We agreed when we got married that we would share expenses and be in charge of our retirement & credit cards. We did not co-mingle our credit cards nor did I place is name on my IRA(s) that I had for several years prior to our marriage. He knows that those accounts are left to my children. After 11 years, it seems to work okay. Nothing is ever perfect but I do agree that you need to talk about finances when you are married.

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21 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 11:10 am

That sounds like a great way to do things – so SUCKY both of your exes screwed around with y’alls money! Ugh…. people are just so selfish sometimes..

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22 Lisa O June 30, 2015 at 11:13 am

Tell me about it! It has put retirement behind and made life a little be more responsible on our side. For him, the ex-wife gets 33% of his military retirement the rest of her life. For me, I have put my children thru private school at my cost, college help for both of them, covered car/health insurance until 23 all with very little child support from the dear old Dad who moved 7 states away! I have started living more frugal to help get to that comfortable place called retirement. Sometimes life is a bumping journey!

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23 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Oh wow… glad to see you guys seem to be handling it all well though :) Love that you’re on personal finance blogs!

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24 T. Thema Martin June 29, 2015 at 10:36 am

I have nothing against marriage. I saw how my parents were able to work together until one died. However, as a Single, Generation Xer, I have NO desire to get married because of UNSURPRISING stats like these.

As John and Brian have stated, TRUST is the main issue, not the money. As someone who works in the adult industry and used to be an HIV/STI Educator, spouses/partners are lying about money and who they are sleeping with.

I lived with a partner for 2.5 years. Unfortunately, that partner did some unscrupulous things regarding money that I was unaware of until after the fact. Now, 16 years later, I still get calls from Bill Collectors looking for my ex. Thank GOD we were never married because had we been, that hot financial mess would have affected me, too.

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25 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 11:14 am

That is horrible on all levels :( I can’t even imagine taking all those calls and knowing what people are doing behind their spouse’s back – I’d be skewed too!

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26 Free to Pursue June 30, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Wow! I’m sorry you had to go through that experience.

If you’re so inclined, you might want to submit your story to Valerie Rind. She’s working on a follow up to her first book “Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads”. (www.valerierind.com)

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27 Hannah June 29, 2015 at 10:52 am

This is why I love budgeting so much! I feel empowered to buy anything I want, as long as we’ve budgeted for it.

Interestingly, despite the fact that my husband has equal access to our bank account and our budget, he always, always, always texts me before he buys something (a courtesy I don’t extend to him unless I think we are both intending to buy the same things). He even does this a few days before my birthday when I usually get a text that says, “Hey, I’m withdrawing cash. Don’t ask why.”

I will say, we didn’t discuss finances until we got engaged, although I did know that he was employed, clipped coupons, and didn’t have student loan debt before then.

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28 J. Money June 29, 2015 at 11:15 am

hahha… “don’t ask why” – love that.

you married a keeper ;)

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29 Adam @ AdamChudy.com June 29, 2015 at 11:09 am

Man, hiding secret debt seems like a dealbreaker to me. You can’t be dishonest on one of the top couple of issues that couples face. I haven’t had that issue so far that I’m aware of…

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30 Debt Hater June 29, 2015 at 11:19 am

It’s kind of scary that in all these statistics that while it is a minority of people that have some sort of financial secret, it’s not a tiny amount either. 1/4 to 1/3 of people is still a significant amount and you’re hiding something important from the person you are supposed to trust the most! Seems like they may need to focus on trust to begin with as money may not be the major issue there.

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31 Michelle June 29, 2015 at 11:47 am

I think it’s crazy when there are financial secrets or when one spouse has no idea about the financial situation that a family is. Everyone should always be informed and up-to-date!

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32 Kayla @ Add-Vodka June 29, 2015 at 12:36 pm

I have a secret savings account – but I’m not married and the secret is from myself so I don’t get into it and spend it foolishly. I think that’s an ok kind of “secret account”, haha. :) If I were married though I wouldn’t have secrets from my spouse.

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33 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 1:53 pm

HAH! Brilliant plan actually :)

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34 Diana June 29, 2015 at 12:47 pm

This is a great post today. It is our 25th anniversary. It just keeps getting better everyday for us.

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35 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Awwww – Congrats! A quarter of a century!

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36 Mrs. Frugalwoods June 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm

I can’t imagine that hiding money from each other leads to anything but strife! I really like having joint finances and joint financial goals–it makes it so that our money and our marriage are in alignment. Money is life, whether we like it or not, and being on the same page with your life partner is crucial!

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37 Debbie M June 29, 2015 at 2:31 pm

I’ve heard of people in abusive relationships who have a secret stash because they can’t afford to leave yet. And of course there are people who are about to ask for a divorce but don’t want to lose half their money, so they try to hide some of it. Or worse, spend up some credit cards.

And I’ve heard of people in relationships where the man doesn’t feel manly unless he is the only one providing money for the family, but there are problems he won’t face, and so the woman secrets some of it away to use in bad times to help him save face.

And I’ve heard of relationships where not only does the spender spend everything, they get angry if they find out about extra money that’s been saved instead of being spent. So they are basically begging the partner to lie about saving.

None of these relationships sound very fun, but the second two kinds could be awesome in so many other ways that some people will happily deal with these issues.

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38 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Okay – so you just opened up a ton of variables out there that would totally make sense! Guess it’s not as black and white as we assume :)

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39 EL June 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Sometimes a saver guy/ gal has to do what they have to do, to hide money from spendy mc steamy. (They always burn a hole in various pockets.) I like the research done to find out all of this secret money stuff, good job sharing it. I wish I had a secret account so that I can save more into it. HAHA.

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40 Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income June 29, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Money is awesome and a great life-long investment. Marriage can be even better. Imagine if you combine both together and you have the ultimate bliss and business partnership working together to be happy and rich. On the other hand you can have the exact opposite and be miserable with money and marriage. Communication and honesty goes a long way with money and marriage.

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41 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 1:56 pm

There you are! You’re back! :)

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42 [email protected] June 29, 2015 at 5:59 pm

These are interesting stats! There are many accounts I have my wife is not aware of, mainly because she doesn’t really care. She trusts that I have our family’s best interest at heart…which luckily I do :)

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43 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Our wives seem pretty similar :) She can’t stand thinking/talking about money so leave it all up to me who fortunately does! It would be pretty sucky if *both* parties hated money.

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44 Vicki June 29, 2015 at 9:47 pm

As usual you pose some interesting questions and offer some intriguing stats. I think money in the home and within a relationship is alot like the relationship in the home. Unless you are personally in it then it is hard to know what the motivations are. I know of families who look perfect on the outside hiding abuse, addiction and so on from everyone. I worked with women for 17 years and many times there would be ” financial abuse” which often coincided with emotional and sometimes physical abuse. This can run through all socioeconomic classes. I know women who had to hide money so that they could afford the things the family needed because they were put on a ( usually unreasonable) budget by the man of the house. I worked with women who wanted to leave before they got killed so they would stockpile in order to be able to do this when they could. I get it, yes indeed talk to your partner, love your partner and so on and so forth. I think this is the ideal and I discuss all money decisions with my partner and we work as a team. In my work with women who were survival sex workers I saw upper and middle class men driving fancy cars ( sometimes with car seats in the back believe it or not) picking up women for sex and I can tell you they were not discussing this expense with their partners at home who back there looking after the kids. This is one perspective from my professional experience. I can say from personal experience my first husband and I had money but did not really talk about it or not we just spent it and were both clueless. This was almost worse than hiding it, never talking about it and just spending it means that when the relationship goes sideways we are both in debt and that is when I learned about fiscal responsibility. My point, indeed talk about money and how it is spent. Oh and BTW J Money I found $10 AUSD this week on the ground and as usual when I find money I think of you…LOL :)

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45 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Nice find! That’s more than I’ve picked up on walks for a whole year – hah.

Appreciate the other perspective here too. I def. made this a black and white type thing when it seems like it’s most def. not! So big thanks to you and Debbie M above for sharing some other (super valid!) reasons for hiding stuff on purpose… I with it weren’t the case though, it’s incredibly saddening!

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46 Reelika @Financially Wise On Heels June 30, 2015 at 12:01 am

I wonder what these numbers are in Europe :D I gotta do some research now :) However, many people are so afraid to talk about money, because it sounds such a sensitive topic. In my opinion people need to open up more, especially with their partners. It is no secret that money is one of the most common reasons why people get divorced or have a fight. Thanks for doing such a deep research :)

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47 Debbi June 30, 2015 at 5:32 am

It was easy to discuss when I first met my husband. He was up front, “I’m broke, ex wiped me out, we both sucked at $$ management bouncing checks, so we closed our bank accounts. I cash my paycheck, hand bills to the teller & get money orders. But I have no debts except my mortgage & still retain my house”.

So I said “great, I’m your new bank teller but won’t charge you for a money order! Hand me the $$ & I’ll do the checkbook”. We’ve been in financial bliss ever since, LOL

We have a joint account but he never sees it because he doesn’t want to see it, just says “I trust you. You’re my banker. You handle the finances. I can’t”. At least he admits his faults! We discuss finances all the time so we’re on the same page when it comes to spending & saving.

I don’t know how people can trust each other if they hide $$ & have secrets about it. Once the trust factor is broken, it’s very hard to repair.

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48 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 2:10 pm

HAH! That is awesome, Debbi! Smart man too putting it all out there and knowing his limitations… Even closing out the bank accounts for that matter – you never hear about that these days, pretty extreme! And rightfully so.

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49 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank June 30, 2015 at 4:57 am

I have debt that my wife doesn’t know I have. It’s like that I have to keep this a secret because she knowing this debt would be angry with me. Thus, I deal with this on my own until I pay it off. And, it’s not that I am not being honest, but it’s like a way of maintaining my image, somehow.

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50 Lisa O June 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm

You really should come clean and let your wife know if you truly love her and never want to loose her! I am speaking from experience……as a wife that got blindsided with a husband in debt with a $45K gambling debt …trust disappears pretty quickly when it all comes out!

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51 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Yikes… I’m with Lisa. And if you especially let her know that you’re *actively working on killing it all* it would certainly help your cause, I have to believe.

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52 Free to Pursue June 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Scary stuff. I don’t think our relationship would survive fiscal infidelity because I consider it a symptom as opposed to a root cause of difficulties. Only couples who don’t have common goals, communicate and/or trust each other would hide money. And the behaviour is just, well, warped and selfish.

Joint savings that grow over time and full financial transparency…now that’s the way to make love last.

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53 Michelle June 30, 2015 at 3:28 pm

After spending three years blogging about money and changing my attitudes around it, I need to be with someone who can let it all hang out financially. You don’t need to be perfect, and you can have debt-but you just have to have a plan and be working it.

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54 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm

BOOM!

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55 ko June 30, 2015 at 11:44 pm

I think I may be some of these statistics.

We dont talk $$$ at home. I am the only $$ earner. I dont have a secret stash, rather I save for future events (car repairs etc). Debt never gets mentioned in specifcs. I have mentioned I owe money and significant other doesnt really mention their debt at all (the few times they have I got the impression they could have done at least one year of med school)Im not usre if they just dont care or just dont want to face it.

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56 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Oh man… I think it’s time to pop a beer/wine and start putting it out there. Though of course easy for me to say without knowing you/them/etc :) I wonder how much relief would be felt afterwards though? Would that be better than the secret(s)?

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57 Tre July 1, 2015 at 8:48 am

We learned the hard way that you really have to talk about money and make sure you are both on the same page financially.

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58 mel July 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I agree with this theory on paper. But, in reality, I have to keep secret savings & investment accounts or my husband will spend it all. I’ve finally been able to build up a decent portfolio and emergency savings, fun savings, etc. and can sleep at night knowing that we can weather any storm. Since my hubby is self-employed doing seasonal work, it has taken a long time to figure out a system that works for us. Keeping him in the dark works for us.

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59 J. Money July 1, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Interesting… A lot of you bring up some VERY good counterpoints here that I obviously didn’t consider :) Appreciate the perspective!

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60 catherine July 2, 2015 at 9:19 pm

So I don’t have a secret account per se but I started our emergency fund in a separate bank account (and at a separate institution from our daily banking). My husband initially didn;t know about it, now he does but has no idea how much is in it at any given point. I did it initially to protect us. We’d save $$ and find ways to bleed it unnecessarily…now that I know we can hold onto it until absolutely necessary I could move it but it’s fine where it’s at.

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61 J. Money July 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Agreed – keep it where it is and just keep on filling ‘er up! Gotta run with whatever’s working :)

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62 Alice @ Earning My Two Cents October 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm

I’m pretty late to this conversation as I just found the email about this post buried in my email. A year into our marriage we moved and while packing I found a grocery bag full of unopened bills addressed to my husband from the past few years, including one for $5k from having emergency surgery without insurance. I was pissed, mostly because it was something we were both unaware of, not as much because he was hiding. He had no idea how much those bills were for. He had a habit of not opening bills because he knew he didn’t have the money to pay it so he just avoided it. So I knew that he owed money, but neither of us knew how much. I put all those bills into a spreadsheet and tallied them up, which blew us away. It has taken several years since that to get to the good communication place where we are now and a lot of it has come from growing as people and trying to communicate better, being honest with ourselves and with each other, and confronting our debts and issues rather than avoiding them. So I think that sometimes that secret debt IS because they don’t know how much they owe and its not as much keeping a secret from their spouse as just trying to ignore the problem.

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63 J. Money October 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Oh my wow… I think my heart would stop if I came across something like that! He is so lucky to have you, geez… Good for you for just diving in and looking at all in the eye once and for all. I can’t even imagine never opening up a bill no matter how big or small I think it would be, so you’re definitely right – not something I’d ever considered! And probably something others do as well realistically.

Man… you’ve got my brain working over here!

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