Hiding money from your partner is a complex business. Indeed, aspects of the practice might better be addressed by a relationship counselor, instead of a personal finance blogger whose most intense relationship is with her iPhone. Why you are trying to hide money from your partner is really none of my business. Sometimes it’s to surprise them with a wonderful nest egg. Other times, it may be because things are stingy and you desperately want to buy the latest thing in cashmere. I’m not here to judge either reason. This is not about the why. It’s all about the how.
Let’s start with the obvious. If you feel like you would like to have some money your partner was unaware of, maybe you should talk about keeping your finances separate. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining your own bank account, and spending your own income. It’s certainly a more honest approach than other methods of hiding money (see below).
You could also open up a joint bank account that some money goes into, and pay bills and rent from that bank account, while maintaining your own bank account. As long as the bills are paid, a partner has no place to judge how you spend the money you’ve earned. This is otherwise known as the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
Secret bank account
Reading up on this topic, there seemed to be a lot of talk about stay-at-home mums squirreling away the dollars, as protection should there be a divorce. While I’m sure there are many people who fit into this category, the secret bank account holders can also be the savers who happen to be married to be spenders. It’s not they don’t trust their partners, they’re just concerned they’ll spend the money that’s been set aside. My grandmother dragged my grandfather over the rocks once he admitted to secret savings, though I’m sure it would be appreciated in the long run.
Air the mattress
Hiding money from a savvy partner is not as easy as you would think, and cash under the mattress might just be your best bet. After all, come tax time, your finances will be aired as well so cash is a winner if you are serious about this privacy thing. Often people only have three or four thousand dollars hidden, usually fun money. Saving a significant amount takes a long time, especially if you are intent on keeping your partner in the dark. The mattress might not cut it for more dedicated hiders.
Invest in items
People often don’t recognize how expensive an item is, and so investing in a couple of choice items might obfuscate the amounts of money you are hiding. Buying yourself a Monet might be slightly obvious though.
If you know nothing else, know why you are setting aside this money. If you are going to extreme efforts to hide money from your partner, maybe you might want to think about your motivations. According to statistics, often people are more likely to hide money away in their second and third marriages, after the fall-out from the first. There are lots of understandable reasons to hide money, that doesn’t necessarily make them good reasons. If communication in relationships is important, maybe consider passing on the information about the house you own in Majorca.