I was going out to lunch the other day with a co-worker and she needed to get some cash. I know what bank she uses and proceeded to go there. She advised that she needed to go to another bank. I inquired as to why she was going to this bank as she always goes to Bank of America. Turns out, she had been spending too much money and she and her husband had been arguing about money. The reason we were going to a different bank? This is where she keeps her secret accounts. Her husband knows nothing about this account and this is the account she uses when she needs to get cash that she doesn't want him to know about.

This started me to thinking...do most married couples do this? Do you hide money from your spouse? I guess I find this totally crazy being a single person so maybe you guys can shed some light on the subject.

Update: Lynnae over at BeingFrugal.net posted a great follow-up to this topic. Head over and check it out.

11 comments

  1. Moneymonk // September 5, 2007 at 4:17 PM  

    If that what it takes to lessen arguments so be it.

    Most married couple have 1 acct for him and 1 acct for her and then they have a joint acct for household bills.

    My husband and I have two joint accts 1 for bills and 1 for miscellanous---fun/entertainment/food/gas etc

  2. Sick of Debt // September 5, 2007 at 4:46 PM  

    The only time I hide money is when I'm purchasing my wife a present. We have 2 bank accounts, one is our day-to-day funds and the other is our emergency fund. If I'm purchasing something online, I'll use the emergency fund one so she doesn't see the purchase right away and get the clue I'm getting her something. By the time we look at that account together (monthly), she's already gotten the present.

    I disagree with the previous comment about most married couples have 1 account for each and 1 joint account.

  3. SingleGuyMoney // September 5, 2007 at 7:21 PM  

    I thought most couples just had 1 joint account and individual savings account. When I get married, I am not sure how I would do it.

  4. bluntmoney // September 6, 2007 at 12:22 AM  

    I doubt that most married couple have "secret accounts". Although I guess if they were really secret, we wouldn't know. We have his, hers & ours accounts, but of course we know about them.

  5. Randy Peterman // September 6, 2007 at 7:46 AM  

    This is somewhat common, however, its really, really problematic. What this reflects is a lack of unity in the marriage. I recently read an article (I forget where, I have too many input sources I guess) that said that most financial counselors recommend this and most marriage counselors recommend you don't do it :)

    I think its safe to say that solid finances and solid marriages can be had, but once one of them goes out of whack the other can get out and be an indication of things needing to be fixed in the other as well.

  6. Dedicated // September 6, 2007 at 11:24 AM  

    I think that this is definitely a sign of trouble. I would call it a marker of the future - trust and honesty are the largest things we bring to marriage. Going in with this huge "double life" is most likely going to encourage more secrets.

    We are joint on all accounts. Except retirment accounts of course. We carry cash and credit cards for any "private or surprise" purchases and only use the accounts monthly to pay bills. Maybe we are too open and honest about our spending, but it works for us.

  7. Lynnae @ Being Frugal // September 6, 2007 at 11:23 PM  

    Wow! I cannot imagine keeping an account that my husband doesn't know about. I think there's probably more wrong than just the finances.

    My husband and I have all joint accounts. We allocate some "blow money" for each of us from within those accounts.

    Secret accounts. I'm still shocked!

  8. Robin // September 7, 2007 at 8:21 PM  

    Happily married, 13 years, one bank account. Never, never, never marry someone that has different views about saving/spending money than you do. Or someone that you can't work things out honestly with. I see a huge red flag with your friend. I'd hate to be in a marriage where I couldn't relax.

  9. plonkee // September 8, 2007 at 4:02 AM  

    Having secret accounts is not good. Having separate accounts is fine. Every relationship is different and people need to do what works, not what theoretically might be the best solution.

  10. Living Almost Large // January 26, 2008 at 11:16 AM  

    NO WAY! Fastest way to divorce, I guarantee it. Money is what causes divorce. Fights about money. Infidelity isn't even the top reason. MONEY.

    I can't imagine being so dishonest about money. Trust me I do sometimes not mention what I bought, but if asked outright?

    Marriage is not always easy because it takes work. Also we only have a joint account, I can't imagine having separate accounts. Maybe if we had more money?

  11. Anonymous // March 6, 2008 at 11:39 PM  

    That's pretty messed up in my book. If you and your spouse are arguing about money, there's a problem and you need to fix it. Getting a secret account to maintain your habits (whatever they may be) ain't gonna fix your marriage. Talking about it isn't insurance that everything will be all right but at least it leads to more openness. That's always a good thing.

    Jerry
    www.leads4insurance.com