Separate Bank Accounts

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    Canadian Eagle

    Is it OK to have secret bank accounts that your spouse is not aware of ?

    When we married we pooled our limited finances , bought a house and reared our family.
    Until the other day I did not question this narrative as we built our life together from nothing.
    A few days ago my bank manager and I were discussing retirement planning and he referenced an account in my wife’s name with a substantial amount of money in it , it predates our marriages over 30 years ago. I could tell he know he made a mistake just after he said it, but the cat was out of the bag.

    At this stage the money in this account would have no meaningful impact on our lives but 30 years ago it would have made a huge difference as we struggled to pay bills and mortgages. My wife acted surprised when I asked her, claiming she never know this account existed but now we have found it let’s enjoy it. The account was dormant as my wife had not been adding or extracting funds, but she did change it to our new bank 20 years ago, so she must have been aware.

    The only reason I can think of why  she held this back was a rainy day fund if the marriage did not work out …..

    My feelings on this discovery are very mixed . At one level I don’t really care and at another level it feels like a break in trust , akin to infidelity .

    How do you advise I approach this issue …



    I have not been married myself, but I was advised by my mother at 18 to keep a bank account of my own if I chose to get married one day. She told me that its purpose would, yes, be a rainy day fund if the marriage doesn’t last. Also though, it could act as a savings account for your kid for college, or it could be money that you use solely for you and your hobbies.

    I can see why it may hurt your feelings that she didn’t tell you about this separate account in the first place and is now playing things cool. However, I’d advise you to just ask yourself if it really matters to you to make a big deal about it? If you’d like to talk to her, knowing you’ll feel better once you know the truth from her, then do it! If you feel like you’ll be able to move on and just accept that she was saving money on her own, then do it! Do whatever you think will ease your mind about the situation.

    In my opinion there’s no reason not to save money individually in a relationship. You pay your mortgage and the things you use together, together. So use the rest of the money you earned to do what you want.



    After reading both your post and Kylee’s reply, I couldn’t think of anything much better to say! I would truthfully just do whatever will give you peace of mind, however as long as your life together is doing fine and the extra funds aren’t causing any harm then there shouldn’t be much of an issue. I work at a bank myself and have seen a plethora of couples who have a joint account and also have their own separate accounts. In some instances the spouse knows about the account, in other instances they don’t. It’s very common and honestly recommended (like generally in life not by the bank lol) to have separate accounts. I can only imagine how disheartened and maybe betrayed and suspicious you might  feel but I would advise you not to sweat it too much unless there is an actual, current problem in your marriage.


    Just a different perspective… I’ve been with my husband for 16 years, married for 9 and we have always had separate bank accounts. We divided up expenses long ago and never fight about money. This works better for us because we have different spending habits (I am more social and would be resentful if I had to run every dinner with friends by my husband, it just never appealed to me).  We have a joint account for things like trips and large expenses and if we need to collaborate on something, like a new roof, we talk about it and figure out what we each owe. Basically we are very transparent about money though we chose not to put it all into one account. I think the part that is odd in your story is the fact that you didn’t know about it. I can see how it would make you feel a bit hurt, but I wouldn’t liken it to infidelity. I’m not sure your wife’s family background but for me it was important for me to always have my own money as a feeling of independence, after watching my mom struggle after divorce. Not that I have any doubts in my marriage whatsoever, but you never know what life will throw at you. I think just talk to her and let her know how you feel. It sounds like she wasn’t active with the account so I wouldn’t perceive it as a betrayal.

    Canadian Eagle

    Interesting what worried us yesterday is nothing today

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