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Should you have a secret account?

It's no secret that a majority of divorces are borne out of financial problems. Essentially, when money dries up, spouses are more likely to turn on each other. Given this notion, is it prudent to have a secret bank account or resource that your spouse does not know about? This is a question of scruples that leaves many people divided.

We recognize that every marriage is different, but there are a number of benefits that can be realized by having one's own "secret stash." First, the feeling of independence and self-worth can be very beneficial. There's nothing like being able to quickly step in and provide a remedy when a calamity arises (i.e. a car breaks down, an appliance needs to be replaced). Also, for those who cherish saving money for particular goals, having an account that is untapped by life's emergencies is particularly important.

For some couples, having their own separate accounts is perfectly normal. They may agree that each person will be responsible for paying certain bills (i.e. the power bill, the cable bill) while they will put money into a joint account only to pay a large bill (a mortgage, for example). As for how they spend money out of their own accounts, it's their prerogative.

Finally, and probably most obvious, having a separate account can give a spouse a powerful war chest to litigate (or survive) legal challenges in a divorce. It is an unfortunate reality, but custody battles and disputes over asset division cost money.

Suffice it to say, having a secret bank account has its perks, but it must be funded correctly. Check out our next post to learn more about the drawbacks of secret accounts.

Source: Forbes.com, Pros and Cons of keeping a secret fund in case you divorce, February 14, 2013

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