Money & Ethics


Is My Husband Hiding Money From Me?

Knight Kiplinger

Your husband should not deviate from your banking plan without talking to you first.



Q. My husband and I agreed when we married three years ago that we would keep the checking accounts and credit cards we had when we were single, but get new cards together and open a joint account into which we would deposit all our income and from which we would pay all our bills. (We have similar earnings.)

Not long ago I heard by chance—from a friend in his office—that everyone there got a big bonus recently, which my husband didn’t mention to me. When I asked him about it, he told me he occasionally deposits bonus checks in his old checking account, which he uses for household savings. He said he almost never writes checks on that account, and if he does it’s only for household expenses. I let the matter drop.

My best friend says I should be suspicious of his behavior. I trust my husband, but I don’t want him to continue doing this. What do you suggest?

A. Your original plan was a good one. In the event of death or divorce, you each have credit in your own name and an account that’s not at risk of being frozen. At the same time, you wisely decided to pool your earnings for paying household expenses out of a joint account, so you have transparency and shared decision-making on your spending priorities.

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Your husband deviated from the agreement, which he should not have done without discussing it with you first. At the very least, you have a communication problem. But perhaps his secrecy is a larger issue. You should tell him of your disappointment and suggest that you share your personal checking-account statements with each other, to clear the air and reestablish trust.

If there was no deceit, perhaps you can modify the agreement to allow each of you to put a small amount of earnings into your personal accounts for “mad money,” hobbies or other minor personal expenses.



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