Recently a good friend was telling me about a bank account that she hides from her husband. She says she feels like she needs financial security and just pops money into it whenever she can.
A day later, I was listening to an encore show of “Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer” on Sirius radio (the show with Martha Stewart’s daughter Alexis Steward and her partner in crime Jennifer Koppelman Hutt) and they were talking about secrets that you keep. A woman called in and said that she had a secret bank account with $100,000 in it! Her husband was being investigated for tax problems and even though they file separately she was terrified her husband would find out about. (The woman ran her own business and has a separate account anyway so she was just squirreling away from her business.)
Time magazine wrote about the history of women hiding money from their husbands in a 2004 issue.
“Wives have probably been hiding money from their husbands since marriage was invented. The Japanese have a special term for the secret funds: hesokuri, variously translated as belly-button money or spindle money. Before the revision of marital-property laws, a state-by-state process that took until the 1930s, American women had good reason to be stealthy about their hoards, says Princeton sociologist Viviana Zelizer, author of the Social Meaning Of Money. All household property legally belonged to their husbands.”
“What’s surprising is that today, despite greatly expanded financial opportunities and legal rights, women still feel the need to play this cat-and-mouse game, albeit an updated version. No one knows how many wives hide money from their husbands, but there is evidence that the practice is widespread. A survey of 1,000 professional women conducted by working woman magazine in 1995 found that 13% of those interviewed had a secret stash. Women who have been divorced may be more likely to keep hidden funds: 1 in 4 women surveyed in 1999 by the Stepfamily Association of America, 71% of whom were married for the second time, said they kept some money aside. Author Heidi Evans estimates that millions of wives hide money. For her 1999 book, How To Hide Money From Your Husband … and Other Time-Honored Ways to Build a Nest Egg, Evans interviewed women ages 26 to 83 whose secret stockpiles ranged from a mere $200 to a mountainous $200,000. “It’s something of a sisterhood,” she says.”
I started Googling the topic and you wouldn’t believe how many things come up!
This link takes you to an article on MSN Money about women hiding money and red flags to determine if your spouse is guilty of this transgression.
The article quotes a a survey by British online bank Cahoot.com that found that about 75 percent of women admitted to hiding money, compared with 53 percent of men.
(There’s also a link to a video that teases: The worst kind of infidelity? Financial infidelity is a main cause of divorce. Here’s why it’s such a marriage-breaker.)
There are even books to teach women how to hide money. The title is: “How to Hide Money from Your Husband… and Other Time-Honored Ways to Build a Nest Egg: The Really Smart Woman’s Guide to Stashing Cash and Securing Your Future” by Heidi Evans, Judy Sheindlin
They nicely call it building a nest egg. That doesn’t sound selfish or deceitful, that makes it sound wise!
We’ve talked before about how I feel strongly about joint accounts. (Maybe that’s because I’ve never made as much as him.) His check is direct deposited so I’m not sure how he could hide any money.
I do have $50 in cash that my mother gave me for my birthday in my top dresser drawer. It’s kind of more safety money just to have in the house as opposed to mad money.
Are you hiding money from your hubby? If so, why? And tell us about your stash! How much have you saved? How long did it take? Where do you hide it? Does he suspect? Would he be mad? Do you think it indicates a problem in the marriage? Do you find it deceitful or wise? Would you be upset if he had a slush fund too?