“It’s not always the easiest thing to communicate about,” Schulz says, “but it’s incredibly important.”
Not surprisingly, people were more likely to be secretive about their finances if they weren’t living under the same roof as their partners. Then, the number of people with a hidden bank account or credit card increased to 14 percent.
That still keeps the share of couples with cash piles in the minority. But the report showed couples might have other reasons for keeping their bank statements close.
One in five people surveyed said they spent $500 or more without telling their partners. But people said they weren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of their significant others having those spending sprees. When asked how much their significant other should be able to spend without telling them, 31 percent of people put the limit at $100.
Men were much more likely to keep money secrets than women. Twenty-six percent of men have spent more than $500 without telling their significant other, compared to 14 percent of women.
And 8 percent of men said they had a hidden account, compared to 5 percent of women. They were also more likely to make major purchases without talking it over with their spouse or partner.
The idea of splurging without telling your significant other may seem harmless, but it can slow things down for couples trying to merge their finances or meet savings goals, Schulz says.
As my colleague Danielle Douglas-Gabriel wrote last year, couples don’t have to merge all of their bank accounts after they tie the knot, but keeping track of monthly income and expenses is important. And that gets harder to do when one partner — or both — stay hush about major purchases.
Columnist Michelle Singletary shared the horror story of one reader last summer who was married before openly discussing differences in spending habits with his fiance — he was frugal, she was loose with her spending. After they married, he learned that she owed $30,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
What do you think? Have you made a major purchase without telling your significant other? Is it okay to have a credit card or bank account your partner doesn’t know about?