What Every Newlywed Should Know About The “Secret” Bank Account

by Tamila McDonald
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secret bank account

Once a couple gets married, many decide to completely merge their finances, bringing their funds together to handle joint expenses. While some designate part of the cash as money for personal use, others go further, opening up secret bank accounts that their spouse isn’t aware of at all. If you’re curious whether a secret bank account is a good idea or what it could mean for your relationship, here’s what you need to know.

What to Know About Secret Bank Accounts

Secret bank accounts are any financial account that’s only in one spouse’s name and where only that spouse knows it exists. The purpose of the account may vary. For example, a spouse may have one as a form of financial protection, to use when they want to make purchases they’d rather keep hidden, or another reason.

In many cases, secret bank accounts are considered deceptive. They differ from what couples do when they choose to keep their finances separate as, in that case, both parties are fully aware that the other is handling their own financial activities privately. With secret accounts, that awareness doesn’t exist.

As a result, secret bank accounts can be incredibly harmful to a relationship. They may be considered a breach of trust and a form of financial infidelity, as one spouse is sheltering money from the other. They could also signal that the spouse with the account doesn’t trust their partner or is worried they’ll be judged for their financial activities.

In the end, secret accounts are usually red flags. They indicate a deeper relationship issue may be in play, one that, if not addressed, could lead to serious trouble.

Should You Have a Secret Bank Account?

Often, if you’ve merged your finances with your spouse, having a secret bank account isn’t a good idea. It’s designed to hide money from your partner, something that usually means there is an issue in the relationship.

Instead of opening a secret account, it’s best to figure out why you’re considering it. Reflect on your relationship to see what is driving you to think about opening one. Are you afraid of being judged? Are you concerned about your spouse’s financial habits? Is there an issue of trust?

Once you identify your reason, it’s better to address it directly. You may want to sit with your spouse to discuss your concerns or schedule a meeting with a counselor who can facilitate the discussion. That way, you can work on the root cause.

What to Do If You Discover Your Spouse’s Secret Bank Account

If you discover that your spouse has a secret bank account, you want to approach the subject carefully. It’s normal to feel hurt that they are hiding money, but heightened emotions may lead you to say something you normally wouldn’t.

Instead of letting your emotions drive you, try to remain fact-driven. Let them know you found out about the account and ask them why they opened it. Listen to their reasoning to determine if there is a bigger issue at play. If you do, you can work together to figure out how to address that problem.

Have you ever had a secret bank account or discovered that your spouse did? Can you think of anything else newlyweds should know about the secret bank account? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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