Secret Spending Stash

By Brandi Savitt – January 21, 2015


Money, Relationships & Full Disclosure

A few weeks ago, Maggie went to the bank to open a savings account for her two-year-old daughter.  While talking to a personal banker, he encouraged her to review all of the family’s accounts to make sure everything was properly linked, and they weren’t being charged unnecessary fees.

That’s when Maggie discovered that her husband Dan had his own separate checking account – that she knew nothing about. Of course she wasn’t privy to any further information from the bank. But how could she have missed this? She’s the one who handles all the household finances, after all!

Her head started to spin… It could only mean one thing…right?

Maggie left the bank and immediately drove to her husband’s office – where she learned the rather innocent but questionable truth. When Dan’s eccentric Aunt Susie turned 75 – just before they were married – Susie started sending him $200 or so every few months.  She had a little nest egg, and this was her attempt to protect Dan from having to pay as much of an inheritance tax on the money she planned to leave him when she died. Dan couldn’t stop his Aunt from sending the money – and soon she began to wire it directly into his account.

Dan couldn’t express to Maggie why he never told her about the money or the account. Aunt Susie never had mentioned it to Maggie either.  It was their weird little secret… Dan explained he used it as his secret spending stash for stupid stuff like building his graphic novel collection or buying cigars. Because the amount of money was rather insignificant in his mind (around a $1,000 a year), Dan didn’t think it was a big deal – until now…

Maggie and Dan’s story is not uncommon. CNBC posted an article just this week summarizing a recent report released by that states that one out of five Americans have spent $500 or more on a purchase without their partner knowing. And approximately 7.2 million Americans have a secret bank account or credit card that their spouse knows nothing about!

Stereotypically, women get a bad rap for shopping and spending more than they tell their husbands.  You yourself might be guilty of buying a  pair of designer shoes and hiding the purchase from your significant other.  But the report surprisingly reveals that twenty-six percent of men have spent more than $500 without notifying their partner versus just 14 percent of women.

Does this surprise you? How would you react if your partner hid a big purchase from you or had a hidden account?

Clearly in the case of Maggie and Dan, trust was broken and Dan’s behavior has made Maggie question many things about their marriage.

But is full financial disclosure always essential for a healthy and lasting relationship? Tell us what you think!


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2 Responses to “Secret Spending Stash”

  1. Sue says:

    Realistically I think that most people should have a his account, a her account and a their account. THe their account of course is for the day to day essentials of rent or house payments, utility bills, food, etc. The other for little treats or gifts such as to each other that should not have to be accounted for. I am not saying it has to be a large amount of money either. I guess one question that Maggie should ask Dan is whether any of that money ever went for an emergency they incurred such as an unexpected car repair or something like that or was it only for him. Also there are way too many women who end up on the short end of the stick in divorce situations. I personally, when I told my now ex that I wanted a divorce had an emptied out bank account and could do nothing about it.

  2. Louie says:

    In a marriage, or partnership, all accounts should be divulged and transparent. Certainly large purchases should be divulged, but not necessary to report every one. The idea of a his and her accounts isn’t bad as long as the account balance is discussed and agreed upon.
    Honesty is the best policy

Any Thoughts?