Hidden Stashes: Keeping Money Secrets From a Loved One

Ric Shahin wanted to surprise his wife with a special trip for their 10th wedding anniversary, so he set up a secret bank account and began depositing $50 from his paycheck every two weeks. But he soon realized that although he had two and a half years to save for the trip, he wouldn’t have enough, so he increased the deposit to $150.

“This went on for a while before my wife noticed that there seemed to be money from my paycheck unaccounted for,” Mr. Shahin said. That was 25 years ago, and the couple were working as teachers in the same Midland, Mich., school district. So his wife, Martha Shahin, knew how much he was paid and how much was deducted.

“I was wondering if they hadn’t calculated his paycheck correctly,” Ms. Shahin said. She began asking to see his pay stub, but Mr. Shahin always had an excuse — he didn’t know where it was, he must have left it at work.

Mr. Shahin, now 66, finally confessed that he was depositing money into a secret travel fund. He expected his wife to be pleased with his romantic gesture. Instead, she was irritated.

“He wanted to do this really nice thing, but I was also angry because he knows I don’t like surprises,” Ms. Shahin, 60, said.


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