One of the more complicated parts of marriage can be what you decide to do with your finances. After all, usually, salaries are not the same, not to mention over the course of your (hopefully long and happy) marriage, careers and incomes change. Do you share everything? How do you divide up bills? Finally, do you each have something individual that is only yours? This husband found out after four years of marriage that his wife has a secret personal savings account. Angry, he asked the popular Reddit forum Am I The Asshole to find out if his anger was misplaced. (1)
Am I The Asshole For Being Angry That My Wife Has A Secret Personal Savings Account?
The original poster (OP) began his story stating that one day he was going through his and his wife’s finances when something wasn’t quite adding up. That’s when he finally discovered that for the duration of their four-year marriage thus far, his wife has been holding a secret personal savings account. She has been depositing 10% of her income into this account each year for the last four years. He was quite upset when she confessed.
“She’s saying it’s a completely healthy thing to do especially for women. She says that she wants to be secured if something happened to me or if I started abusing her,” he wrote. “I find that extremely illogical and that it’s pretty bad that she’s been lying this whole time. She’s been hiding $25k dollars from me. I put my money into our joint account, since we both agreed to merge our finances. She’s now saying that I can also put 10% of my income every year into my own account.”
He then said that he threatened to take 40% of his income and put it in his own personal account to make for the difference over the last four years of her deposits. She told him that’s financial abuse and that would make him a pretty terrible person.
“I honestly don’t see what she’s thinking. She put 40% of her income and it’s been accruing interest.” he wrote.
He then continued that his wife was now staying at a friend’s house and that divorce seemed likely. His friends were on his side, but he asked the internet for more impartial advice.
Users on the forum were decidedly mixed in their opinions. Some said he was in the wrong because women are typically more vulnerable in relationships. They said all women should have an account such as this, to save their own skin if something were to go wrong.
“It is extremely good advice for women to have an account like the one your wife has. Especially if the women has less money or makes less then her partner. No one plans on dating, living with or marrying someone abusive but it happens so so often with terrible results. You think of your self as the good guy who would never hurt his wife and feel personally attacked. She’s worried you might try to kill her one day. This is a fear women have to live with. It’s just life for us. ( Not to say others can’t live in fear or that all women do- but it is super common for us to),” one user wrote. “I think she’s right to have an account.
Maybe you opening up an account isn’t such a bad idea. 40% would be a pretty big chunk of your joint income though. Maybe try 15-20 until you’ve caught up?
She feels exposed and probably a little guilty. You feel insulted. Take a step back, take a deep breath and work on this. Together.”
“Yeah, I had no escape fund when my ex decided our kids were verbal punching bags and being nice just wasn’t for him. He had the money and the power. My family helped me, but a lot of women don’t have that or worry about having to ask for it. They set a safety net,” agreed another. “40% is extreme. I do wonder why he went hunting for the money. If she’s done it all along, what set the alarm bells off?”
Emotional Reaction vs. The Threat
There were many who said he wasn’t in the wrong for being upset that his wife had kept the account a secret. What they did say, however, was that his threat to take away 40% of his income for that year from their shared finances was not okay. Many agreed with the wife, saying that this is financial abuse.
“It would be no AH, but his threat to remove 40% makes it YTA.,” wrote one user. “If he wants to start an equitable account now, fine. Seriously denting the finances in retaliation IS financial abuse. She has no reason to feel guilty. His response PROVES her concerns valid. The first hint that he’s not getting his way, and he wants to have a tantrum.”
“Everyone, male or female, should have their own savings accounts. He shouldn’t be taking 40% of their combined income, though. I think he should just start his own at 10% or whatever. But EVERYONE should have their own account, you never know what life will bring and being prepared is just smart.” wrote another.
Many users were recounting their own stories, stories of friends, moms, or other women in their lives who found themselves in bad situations. Having their own stash of money saved them and in many cases, their children as well. They also wondered if the wife had perhaps been in abusive relationships in the past or known someone who had been. Some users speculated that perhaps this is the reason she kept it a secret.
“This is great advice. As someone who was in an abusive relationship for years, I wish I had had this foresight at the time. I’m now married to an amazing man and I have an account like this. I call it “Runnin’ money”. Because you never fucking know. My mother was in an excellent marriage, but she didn’t work. Things went south, they got divorced, and she REALLY struggled. I’ll never put myself in either position.”
Is It Okay To Open a Personal Savings Account and Hide Money From Your Spouse?
This debate really brings up the question: Is it okay to have a secret personal savings account from your spouse? Every couple decides to divide up their finances differently. Some merge, others decide to maintain each of their financial independence, while others fall somewhere in the middle. If you have decided to share finances, but you still want to maintain some financial independence, many experts say that this should be something you discuss as a couple. (2)
“Hiding money from your partner is generally a form of deception, usually based in fear, neither of which bode well for the relationship,” said Todd Christensen, an accredited financial counselor, and education manager.
While it is understandable to want to have security or a “just in case” account, experts agree that keeping this a secret is not a good idea. If you’re keeping it a secret out of fear, this signifies that there is something wrong with the relationship. Otherwise, it is simply a form of financial infidelity.
“If a relationship is built on a strong foundation of mutual trust and respect, there is generally no need to ever hide money or finances,” said Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist based in Sonoma County, California.
Essentially, they all agree that if you feel you have to hide money from your spouse, there are bigger issues that likely need to be addressed. Do you agree? Who do you think was in the wrong in this situation?
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