Trouble in Paradise
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Hiding money

I am using an AE for a reason.  I can assure you this isn't MUD.

If you found out your SO was hiding money from you, and when you asked them about it, they said it was "their" retirement fund (not joint), what would you do?

I am thinking I need to start my own stash.... we have 2 children together.  I am a SAHM, and do not have an existing 401K or Roth IRA.  Things had been rocky for about 1 year, about 2 years ago, but we were in a better place more recently.

Suddenly, I am feeling very anxious about where our relationship maybe headed.

Re: Hiding money

  • I'm not married so I might not be the type of person you're actually looking to hear from... but I see that as a huge red flag. There could be many explanations that i can think of that wouldn't necessarily mean that he's thinking of being on his own. Even still... I'd think it's strange that he didn't tell you about said retirement fund. Do you have (or does he think you have) a spending addiction and maybe he's afraid you'll blow it all and so he wants to make sure that you two are covered for retirement? Maybe he just used the word "my" rather than "our" by mistake when referring to the fund. 

    If that's not a possibility and he really did mean HIS fund, I would maybe consult a lawyer. No big moves need to be made, but they'd be able to give you the best advice.

    Did he not give any other explanation or reasoning? Or he just thinks he's completely in the right to hide money (half of which is yours)? 

  • This sounds very suspicious. Why wouldn't he tell you?! You two are in a partnership. 

     I'd start saving up for my own account. You can never be too sure nowadays.

     H and I both have joint and separate accounts....just in case...you never know.  

  • Honestly, I'd be a little worried. I'm a SAHW(wife), if that helps. 

     

     

  • Is it in an IRA (individual retirement account) or 401k/403b type account?

    Or is it in a savings/checking account?

    I would be less concerned if it was in an IRA/401K, more concerned if it is in a checking/savings account.

    Either way, I would take it as a sign he doesn't see you two together long term. You can talk to him, see about marriage counseling, try to work on things. You should also prepare for a life on your own. Start thinking about what kind of work you will do to support yourself and your children. Where you will live, and maybe look into getting a lawyer.  

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  • I'd be livid.

    I'd also wonder what else he is hiding.

    And I'd want to know why he is hiding that money.

    "His" retirement fund is YOURS, also: when you get married, it is now an OUR money situation.

    When somebody hides money, they're up to no good. It's another woman/man and or a habit that he is funding. JMO.

  • I would be worried that he's preparing himself for divorce. I would also be thinking of getting a part time/evening job for myself so I wouldn't be dependent on someone taking care of me.

  • I would be LIVID!

    There is nothing wrong with saving money but to "hide' money?

    Yea, if I were you I would start investigating because this is not normal. 

  • I would run a credit check on your finances.  I would want to make sure there were no bank accounts or credit cards that you are unaware of.

    As a SAHM, you are undeniably vulnerable right now.  If you are so nervous about this situation that you would create an AE and ask for advice, then you feel that something is wrong.  Trust that gut feeling.

     

  • This happened to me and my reaction was pretty much what all of the PPs said.

    Actually we are getting a divorce now. When I found out that he had secretly been putting money into an Etrade account I flipped out. It made me feel that he was not a partner in our marriage, and that he did not respect me. It was the last straw. However, unlike you, I did not have children and I worked full-time so it was easier to get things together to end the marriage.

     I am sorry! 

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  • Also, a good idea to start your own stash if you can make that happen!
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  • image vpine:
    I would be worried that he's preparing himself for divorce. I would also be thinking of getting a part time/evening job for myself so I wouldn't be dependent on someone taking care of me.

    This. Very shady and you are completely right to be upset. I would also worry about what else he isn't telling you. 

  • image Golden42:

    image vpine:
    I would be worried that he's preparing himself for divorce. I would also be thinking of getting a part time/evening job for myself so I wouldn't be dependent on someone taking care of me.

    This. Very shady and you are completely right to be upset. I would also worry about what else he isn't telling you. 



    Run a credit check on yourself and on him.

    And have a look at credit card statements and cell phone statements.  If there is a charge on that card you find odd or questionable, call the number and find out just what the charge is for.

    Same goes for phone numbers you do not recognize; find out who the number belongs to. Call it.

    You can also try googling it and seeing what you come up with.

    When this hiding of money starts, no good can come of it. He very well could be pissing the money away in some type of investment that's amounting to a hill of beans -- or pissing it away somewhere else.
  • I'd consult an attorney regarding what is considered community property. I'd probably not go run out and find a job, but would get skills so I would be marketable in the near future. I'd ask the attorney if staying at SAHM was to your advantage.

    I'd definitely start my 'own' retirement fund regardless since it is not a position you ever want to see yourself in when you reach retirement. Sometimes you have to look after your own best interest, which in turn flows down to your children. I wouldn't make a big deal of it to him, only because you'd be showing your cards. When you are armed then you can see how to deal with the situation.

    Ditto on checking your credit, but you also might want to establish some in your own name if you don't have some already. He could have one foot out the door or just planning if things got worse in your relationship. Unfortunately, he just made your relationship worse.

  • Huge red flag. Huge. Your SO may not want a divorce right now, but he is preparing for one in case things get rocky again. SAH Partners need to be able to trust that while they are investing their time and resources into the children/home/etc, that their SO is providing financially for both the present and future of BOTH parties. I'm not sure what the available channels are to find out what all your/your husband's assets are, but if your husband isn't willing to reconsider his stance on that retirement fund I would suggest you look into it. Another option would be to build your own nest egg into the household budget so that both retirement accounts are funded.

    As always, I also recommend counseling. It might be able to help identify why your husband feels the eed to prepare "just in case" of a divorce. It might also help resolve any lingering issues stemming from the rocky patch 2 years ago. A good therapist can work wonders, and heal hurts you couldn't even identify or vocalize before. Best of luck!

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  • On the one hand, I consider hiding money in marriage to be grounds for divorce.

    On the other hand, you're lack of knowledge on this issue is clear, and you might be jumping to conclusions prematurely. For one thing, tax-advantaged retirement accounts can only be held individually, not jointly. This doesn't mean he should have hidden it, and it doesn't make it okay for him to have opened one for himself and not for you.  Then again, I don't see how it's his responsibility to open an account for you; that's really something you should be doing for yourself, and ideally it wouldn't take your finding out that your husband has a retirement account to get you to realize that.

    However, it is just as likely that your husband is equally ignorant, most people unfortunately are.  A lot of people, even on the money management board, don't know that a SAHM qualifies for her own IRA even if she doesn't personally earn any income.  Employers often automatically sign up employees to participate in their 401(k) plans (with employees having the option to opt-out, which they may or may not even realize in the mound of paperwork they are given), and given the statistics on how this increasing participation (from almost no one to almost everyone), it seems entirely possible that your DH could have a retirement account at work that even he wasn't particularly aware of himself, maybe didn't ever ask for it or want it, and maybe didn't even know he had choices about. Or maybe he's never said or done anything about the retirement account issue because he is lazy.  There is simply no savings account easier to participate in than your employer's 401(k); it's easier to check the box than to remember to bring it up over dinner.  And it's simply ridiculous to believe this means he plans to leave you; if he has any sense at all, he won't be withdrawing that money until he is in his 60s.

    I suggest that you educate yourself on these issues before making any snap judgments. I really like the book, "Smart Couples Finish Rich."  It's an easy read and it lays out tons of great information about how to manage your money, set your priorities, save for retirement, and communicate with your spouse about it.  

  • My husband I and both refer to our retirement plans as our own (as in "I have such-and-such money in my 403b" and "I really need to start putting more money in my IRA"), because, like PP mentioned, they are individually owned.  In your case, it is the case that if you don't go back to work, you won't ever retire, so it's not really meant to fund your retirement.

    Of course, neither of us are hiding these accounts and we periodically talk to each other about how much we should be socking away.  So, for example, I would not be surprised if my husband said he was pulling money out of an account to cover expenses in an emergency (a major emergency of course).  I may not know exactly how much is in an account at a given moment, but I know the accounts exist. 

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  • Oh, so I should say, yeah, if he doesn't want you to know the accounts existed, or only admitted that the account existed under duress (I don't know how you found out about the account), then I'd be very concerned.

    If it was more like "oh, I have my company withhold 5% of every paycheck for my 401k" then I'd say the "my" vs. "ours" is just semantics. 

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  • image phdprocrastinator:

    Oh, so I should say, yeah, if he doesn't want you to know the accounts existed, or only admitted that the account existed under duress (I don't know how you found out about the account), then I'd be very concerned.

    If it was more like "oh, I have my company withhold 5% of every paycheck for my 401k" then I'd say the "my" vs. "ours" is just semantics. 

    Totally agree with this. I'd love context.

     In my case, my H freelanced and had barely been working all summer. Things were very very tough financially and I was getting us by by doing things like selling some gold I never wore and being extra cautious with the bills and expenses.

    He finally had a week of work and I kept expecting to see the money (I paid the bills and handled finances). Finally I asked him about if he were getting paid soon and he lied. Then I snooped and found out he had hidden about $3000 in an Etrade account. We were already limping along and in retrospect our marriage should have been over already. That was the final straw. 

    But I can see that there are other scenarios in which he might just have forgotten to mention a company benefit or something? 

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  • Step 1: Get your own separate bank account

    Step 2: Contact an attourney and look into your local divorce/separation/child custody laws. 

    Step 3: Take 50% of all your joint assets out of his account and put it into yours (or whatever you would be entitled to under a prenup).

    Step 4: Make an exit plan

    Step 5: Execute the exit plan ASAP

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  • have you asked yourself why he is hiding the money??

    Could it be because you are bad with money and have a need to spend..

    Does he feel that if he doesn't save by hiding he will find himself stuck with nothing in later life..

    I can see why you would be anxious, but until U know the real reason why he is hiding money, dont go jumping to things that might not be there..

    Be open, tell him how finding the money has made you feel, ask him to explain why its just for him... and not for both of you, unless you ask you will never know..

    You have to children, so thinking about them as well... talking is needed for them as well as both you and hubbie

    Good luck and dont forget talking might just be what is needed 

  • image CarlottaA99:

    I am using an AE for a reason.  I can assure you this isn't MUD.

    If you found out your SO was hiding money from you, and when you asked them about it, they said it was "their" retirement fund (not joint), what would you do?

    I am thinking I need to start my own stash.... we have 2 children together.  I am a SAHM, and do not have an existing 401K or Roth IRA.  Things had been rocky for about 1 year, about 2 years ago, but we were in a better place more recently.

    Suddenly, I am feeling very anxious about where our relationship maybe headed.

     

    I fall more on the side of SillyGooseGirl.

    1) It's a retirement fund. He will not be able to touch that money without penalty until he's in his 60's. It will not help him leave you.

    2) It can't be joint, so it is "his." There is nothing wrong with him phrasing it that way.

    3) I think you are jumping to conclusions by thinking he is "hiding money from you." Without any additional info, it's just as likely that he mentioned it once long ago and you forgot, or that he thought he mentioned it and didn't, or that he assumed you would assume he was saving for retirement. If your marriage is otherwise going well, I don't see this as a red flag at all.

    4) Yes you should open an IRA, but not because your husband is planning to leave you and you need to protect yourself. Just because it is the wise money thing to do.  

     

    Signed,

    My DH forgot to tell me about his extra 25k in a separate retirement account. And I was thrilled to find out we had an extra 25k! 

  • This seems quite suspcious and not really fair. What happened to joint income? A shared future?

    What type of account is it? If it is a certain kind of retirement account, it is actually illegal to not name your spouse as the beneficiary (in the event of death) unless the spouse signs away their rights to it.

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  • If he IS trying to keep this money from you, the joke will likely be on him if you end up getting divorced. From what I understand, retirement plans are often divided just like any other assets when a marriage ends. I'm sorry you're going through this.
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