Hiding The Emergency Fund

Paul hides money from his wife. He's been squirreling money away for emergencies. Paul is worried about what her reaction will be if Murphy shows up and he has money.

QUESTION: Paul in Spokane doesn’t hide debt from his spouse, but he does hide money. They’ve been married 30 years. He’s been squirreling money away for emergencies, and she doesn’t know about it. Paul is worried about what her reaction will be if Murphy shows up and he has money. Dave gives Paul some sage advice.

ANSWER: I think you have a reason to be worried, not only about her reaction, but about what this represents in your relationship. It represents a wedge. Deception is never a positive thing for a relationship. You’ve got to tell her. As a part of telling her—not to blame this on her—you lying is not her fault, but you telling her comes with another conversation. You have to ask her to understand that in your mind, the reason you did this is you didn’t think you could tell her no if she came up with some idea for this money. You messed up and lied, and you shouldn’t have done that. You deceived her and are asking for forgiveness. You also need to say that you’re committed to telling the truth but you’re also going to say no. You’re going to grow a backbone.

You’re going to have to have a better thing where you can stand up and say, “I am not okay with this. We’re not doing it.” She needs to have a vote, too. Both of you have a vote. You have to make your decisions together.