Nearly 1 in 10 Americans keep a savings account secret from their partner. Do you?

But unless you have a good reason to keep money secret, pros say it’s better to establish these good saving habits in your home.

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There are different ways of cheating on your partner — and one way to do it is with money. Fully 8% of Americans admit to having a savings account that their spouse or partner doesn’t know about, according to a new survey from The most common explanation for their secrecy is that the issue never came up or they never felt the need to share (31% of respondents). A quarter of people are embarrassed about the way they handle money, 14% don’t trust their partner with money — and 13% are using the money to support an addiction. Yikes.

To be sure, there are valid reasons for keeping a secret bank account. Some people start saving to exit bad situations like domestic abuse. “Aside from the horrible situation of abuse, secret accounts do not serve a positive purpose. Keeping the strong trust and communication lines open is more important,” says Sonya Lutter, certified financial professional and director of institutional research and education at Herbers & Company Academy. Other pros say there may be other reasons that make sense too. “If you are a saver and you know your spouse or partner is a spender and can’t control his or her spending, then a secret checking or savings account may be in order,” says Grace Yung, certified financial planner at Midtown Financial Group .

But unless you have a good reason to keep money secret, pros say it’s better to establish these good saving habits in your home.

Learn to be open about money by having monthly money talks

For couples just beginning to discuss their finances and establish cash flow and budget, it’s good to set aside some time to touch base, says Krista Aliga, certified financial planner at Personal Capital. “It doesn’t have to be anything lengthy, you could set it up as a casual coffee date. As couples continue with conversations, this frequency could become less — once a month is appropriate for almost any couple to review the prior month and check in on the upcoming month,” says Aliga. “A big part of what makes money such an emotionally charged topic is that so many people think it’s taboo to talk about it. Even if you elect to keep most of your finances separate, I still think it’s important to discuss money issues early and often in a relationship. One way or another, your financial lives are intertwined.”

Set up savings goals

What do you want to save for — both together and individually — and how do you do it? As you ask these questions, note that it is key to have 3-9 months of expenses in an emergency fund as one of your goals if you don’t already. Consider additional savings goals, such as for a down payment on a house or saving for a special vacation. “The funds for these goals can be put in separate sub-accounts so that they’re not mixed in with money that’s set aside in an emergency fund,” says Chanelle Bessette, banking at NerdWallet.


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