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Secrets can set you up for trouble

Keeping secrets certainly isn’t a way to strengthen your relationship or to resolve ongoing conflict.

In fact, with financial infidelity becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., you may only make matters worse. Nearly one-in-four Americans admitted to financial infidelity in a survey commissioned by Bankrate, meaning they’re keeping financial secrets from their partners. That would definitely include having a secret bank account.

Another survey, this time by SunTrust Bank, found that 54% of Americans believed that a partner who was in debt was a major reason to consider divorce. About three-in-five Americans even considered putting off marriage while their partner fixed their debt.

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So, should you have one?

There are some undeniable benefits to having a bank account that’s kept away from your spouse. In the case of an emergency, you’ll have those funds available should the worst happen. This can be especially helpful if you’re in a risky relationship, like say your partner has an addiction and could use your cash to fund their habits.

Even if that’s not the case, there are benefits to opening an account if you’re considered in a “financially inferior position” in the household, according to Cristin Lowe Law, a California-based divorce and family law firm.

Some stay-at-home parents, for example, may not enjoy open access to the household accounts. Instead, your partner may demand a discussion on all purchases.

If you’re in a position where your partner could easily cut you off, having your own bank account might be a good idea. Especially if a situation approaches divorce territory, there is the very real fear of being left with nothing.

It’s a worst-case scenario measure

Even if you’ve decided opening a secret account is your best option, you might consider meeting with a financial adviser first. They can certainly guide you in not just creating an account, but also figuring out what you’d need in a worst-case scenario.

That being said, communication about finances remains one of the largest stresses of a marriage. Being open and honest with your partner about your finances will likely lead to a more open, honest and trusting relationship.

All these conversations might still lead to opening up your own bank account, but without the secrecy. Because even if your relationship is perfect now, who knows what the future might hold.

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About the Author

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Freelance contributor

Amy Legate-Wolfe is an experienced personal finance writer and journalist. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Toronto, a Freelance Writing Certificate in Journalism from the University of Toronto Schools, and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University. Amy has worked for Huffington Post, CTVNews.ca, CBC, Motley Fool Canada, and Financial Post. She is skilled at analyzing trends and creating content for digital and print platforms. In her free time, Amy enjoys reading and watching British dramas on BritBox. She is a mother and dog-mom to a Wheaten Terrier.

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