My Fiance Refuses to Share His Financial Information With Me. Should I Call Off Our Wedding?

My Fiance Refuses to Share His Financial Information With Me. Should I Call Off Our Wedding?
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I started dating Shawn three years ago. Following a lot of your advice for the last five years, I was very clear of what I wanted in this relationship, and of what I didn’t want. After about six months of dating I moved in with him, but before I made it very clear that my moving in was a first step to a further commitment on his part; I made sure he understood I wanted marriage after some time living together, and he agreed. A year and a half later he finally proposed, and we picked our wedding date to happen a year later. Now we are only one month away from our wedding, invitations sent and all arrangements already finalized, and we are very excited. But now I am concerned about something we never talked about before: money.

We keep our finances separate, and that is fine for me, but he does not want to share with me any information regarding his income or how much he is bringing to our marriage. I know he has some investments, and some money he has received from his wealthy mom, but I have no idea how much. He says he is not comfortable about sharing that information because he has never done it before (he has been single forever). Although I told him my intention is not to get any of his money or even access to his accounts, I just want for us to share all our information, he still insists he doesn’t feel comfortable about it. I have told him that I will not enter marriage if there are secrets between the two of us, with no change in his response. I have also argued that monogamy and the sharing of assets are the only two aspects that we can promise in an objective way, and how I do not need the money but the sharing of information, but still same answer.

What is your opinion? Should I just not worry about this and let him do it whenever he feels comfortable (if he ever does)? On the other hand, the fact that he so adamantly refuses to disclose that information makes me feel very uncomfortable; I know he is in a well-to-do financial situation, but at the same time I think that there are some legal implications about marriage that could affect us in the future. What if something happens to him? I wouldn’t even know what to do from a financial point of view, since I do not know what he has or where. So far the best I have from him is he will think about it, but that usually means he will persist in his position until I drop it. I have threatened to call off the wedding unless there is complete transparency between the two of us. Is this too much?

I would really appreciate your advice on this. Your opinions have always been extremely useful for me, both before this relationship and also after my engagement. Many of your advice has helped me understand Shawn better, and I hope this time you will help me deal with this. Just the thought of not marrying him is making me sooo sad…

In gratitude,
Esther

Dear Esther,

Two true relevant stories about money.

  1. Thirtysomething Jason got engaged to Vanessa after two years together. After the engagement, they discussed money for the first time. Turns out that Jason wanted Vanessa to continue to contribute to the household after they had kids, but Vanessa had her heart set on being a stay-at-home mom. They couldn’t come to terms and broke up.
  2. Sixtysomething Eleanor married William after a short, intense courtship. He lavished her in gifts, bought her a nicer car, and proposed to her on a trip to Europe. Eleanor assumed he was financially secure for their retirement. Turns out William had less than $50,000 in the bank and Eleanor had to support him. The marriage lasted for less than two years.

I’m sure there are some other anecdotes that I don’t know about where the wife has no idea what the husband makes and everything works out just fine. I just don’t know any.

I’m not going to get into the rule of law and the nuances of the NSA, but I would only say this to anyone who is private: if you have nothing to hide, what difference does it make?

Listen, you’ve already thought this through and you’ve come to largely the same conclusion that I would.

You acknowledged that you should have talked about money earlier.

You’ve stated that he doesn’t want to share any financial information with you whatsoever.

You’ve told him that you will not enter marriage with any secrets between you.

You’ve threatened to call off the wedding unless there is complete transparency.

Yep, that’s about right. The question is whether you have the guts to break things off. From the outside, I’d say you should, but that’s because I’m an objective third party and I haven’t sunk two years and a ton of time, energy, money and emotion into your relationship.

I’ll acknowledge one thing up front: I don’t understand secretive people. I don’t understand people who worry about cameras on the street, or even the government reading my emails. I’m not going to get into the rule of law and the nuances of the NSA, but I would only say this to anyone who is private: if you have nothing to hide, what difference does it make?

Transparency is the foundation of a relationship — the ability to be 100% yourself and be accepted for your flaws.

I’m sure you’ve already brought this up to Sean. The fact that he is not being transparent about this does not portend a healthy future for you at all. Transparency is the foundation of a relationship — the ability to be 100% yourself and be accepted for your flaws. I guess one could spin this by saying that you should “accept” him for his secrecy, but that’s like accepting him when he stays out all night and doesn’t tell you where he’s been.

So, from the outside, I would support you walking away from this relationship. You may have a quality man whom you love, but it’s his responsibility to make you feel safe. And you can’t feel safe in a relationship where he’s keeping these kinds of important secrets. To clarify — I don’t think you have to blurt out everything you’ve ever done to your partner – if he was in prison for drug dealing in college and he wanted to keep it a secret, he could. If you had an abortion as a teenager and you didn’t want him to know, that’s your right. The past is the past. But this is the present. His money situation affects every aspect of a marriage and you have the right to know everything. Don’t let him bully you into thinking otherwise. That’s not an understanding husband.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    still-looking

    I’m going to have to disagree with Evan and the majority of the posters.   The OP stated, “  I know he is in a well-to-do financial situation, but at the same time I think that there are some legal implications about marriage that could affect us in the future. What if something happens to him? I wouldn’t even know what to do from a financial point of view, since I do not know what he has or where.”
    The BF is apparently not bringing any financial problems into the marriage, he is bringing an untold amount of assets into the marriage.   If she was worried about bankruptcy & debt, I’d understand her concern.   But in her own words the BF is bringing in some amount of assets and she is concerned because she doesn’t know how much.   Why does this matter?   If it’s $30k, $300k, $3m, or $30m it should be irrelevant to her.   She either loves him or she doesn’t.   She claims that she needs to know in case something happens to him.   I’m the trustee of my parent’s estate and I don’t need to know any details until they pass.    The trust spells out where the assets are held and I’ll find out the amount when it is relevant.
    I’ve had many women confide in me that when a guy starts asking about income/assets they immediately get very uncomfortable, even when in a LTR.   My suggestion to the OP is to drop the issue.   Whatever assets he has before the marriage will remain his assets after the marriage (non-divisible) so pestering him and delivering ultimatums makes her look like just another gold digger.  

    1. 21.1
      WaterDragon

      No, she doesn’t know he’s bringing assets into the relationship.   She is assuming.   She is making some assumptions based on incomplete (and who knows how accurate) information. She could be way wrong. He may have six figure school loans or gambling debts or who knows what. Or on the flip side – maybe he does have some investments as she indicates. Maybe he sees her spending patterns and is concerned that  what he considers a modest savings might look to her like a lottery winning.    Regardless, it’s important that they be able to talk about money and what it means to them.   They need to be able to arrive at an approach that works for them both. That’s only gonna happen if they are both willing to talk about it.

    2. 21.2
      Skaramouche

      still-looking, while I appreciate the fact that your opinion differs from that of many others who have posted before you, I must admit that it’s a very curious point of view.   Have you been married/do you plan to be married in the future?   If you were married in the past, did you share financial information?   The OP may be a gold digger for all we know but nothing in her letter points in that direction.   How are they to function as a family if he is so secretive about his finances?   What about when they have children?   One might argue that they can find a way around it but I do wonder why?   Why on earth would you want to hide such information from a person to whom you are about to pledge your life?   If he is afraid that she’s after his money, why is he marrying her?   If he wants his assets to remain HIS assets, he should make that clear and have her sign a pre-nup.   At least then she won’t wonder about what he’s not telling her but   he hasn’t done that either.   Something doesn’t add up.   While I respect your right to have a different opinion, I find it hard to respect the opinion itself :).   It almost seems as if you are stretching an answer into impossible shapes in order to make it fit the question.

      The parallel you drew is also fallacious.   Parents are not the same as a spouse.   She will (hopefully) be making decisions for years to come with this man and her affairs, financial and otherwise (hopefully not the extramartial sort :P), will inevitably be tied up with his.   If they decide to have children, the tangle becomes even deeper.   In any case, I can’t think of many situations where you would be afraid to tell your “better half” the truth.   It means that either you are ashamed or you’ve done something wrong and you know it.   In either case you’re too cowardly to face the music and in something so important as this, it’s better that she finds out before they tie the knot.

    3. 21.3
      Fusee

      still-looking, I see your point, and I agree that specifics are not necessarily needed, especially if some assets are shared with other family members requesting discretion. On top of waiting way too long before addressing the topic I think the Letter Writer did not lead a good conversation at all: she should have focused on asking about his feelings for not being willing to share this information, and on only requesting very basic information such as income, debt, and credit score. The rest does not matter that much indeed.
        
      However his refusal to share any information is really suspect. Either he is in a bad financial state while trying to pretend he is well-off, or he is truly wealthy but does not trust his fiancee with what she would do with that knowledge. Both scenarios show   lack of trust and lack of intimacy which are issues that I find incompatible with marriage.

  2. 22
    still-looking

    In an ideal world there would be complete disclosure.   The point I’m making is that the OP doesn’t “need” to know the details.   If I offer to pay for all household and living expenses and agree that your income is yours to do with as you will, would you really be upset if I didn’t disclose my net worth?
    For all those who feel that full disclosure is mandatory, would you want your BF or husband demanding disclosure of your spending habits?   Nitpicking every expenditure?
    I’m not nearly as secretive as the OP’s BF but everyone is different.   I’d like to have full disclosure and common goals with my future wife but if I thought she was a bit on the spendthrift side of the house, I’d probably be a bit more vague on what I owned.  

    1. 22.1
      Androgynous

      If your wife’s spendthrift ways are a problem, then you shour address this directly with her rather than resorting to indirect, underhand, subterfugous ways to deal with it.   If she won’t discuss her spendthrift ways with you, then you bring this up next time she asks about your finances and say you can’t have a proper discussion on your issues if she won’t have one about her issues.

      Another option : Simply postpone wedding and leave it on hold immediately. Do not break up. Just say you both need more time to sort things out. Take the pressure off him but make it known that transparency is the corner of any strong relationship. If he comes round, good. If he hasn’t after a month or two, end it.

    2. 22.2
      Skaramouche

      I see your point, I really do and I’m not trying to be argumentative but I do think that the kind of setup you are suggesting would work for relationships other than marriage.   The point that I’m trying to make is that perhaps you shouldn’t attempt marriage if you think your financial affairs are your own business.   Sure, you’re allowed some independence and privacy in your own right as an individual but you forfeit a lot of that when you get married, especially in matters that affect you both.
      To answer your question, yes, I would be perfectly happy to disclose my spending habits to my husband.   Is it necessary?   Possibly not, but I would do it if he asked in the interest of transparency.   Having them nitpicked is another thing entirely.   As long as I’m not endangering our combined financial health or breaking any prior agreements we had, they are mostly my business.   I would take constructive suggestions from him for improvement of any that really bother him as long as he drops the matter if I decide to do nothing about them.   That’s not the same as nitpicking though.
      Bringing this back to the OP, I don’t think she is asking for an item by item account of his financial life.   She just wants to know what he earns, at a high level what his assets and/or debts are and any other relevant details.   IMHO, very reasonable things to ask of your future spouse.
      Re: a spendthrift spouse, why would you feel the need to be vague if you had one?   Either she accepts you for who you are or you don’t marry her.   Are you ashamed of your spending habits and do you know that they are wrong?   If so, you probably should mend them with her assistance.   Are you just tired of arguments because your financial philosophies are so different?   In that case, either she is not the woman for you or you will have to learn to “agree to disagree”.   This is best figured out BEFORE marriage.   In either case, vagueness or obfuscation is probably not a good way to address the issue.

  3. 23
    Sunflower

    Still Looking you sound very naive.   Mutual sharing is essential in a marriage. Every family has their own way of handling finances, but it’s an area where there should be complete transparency and honesty between  the two partners. I’ve know men who have used  money as a means of controlling their partner, which in essence, is a form of abuse. The woman becomes dependent upon the man and if children enter the scene, can become a horrible situation. Sometimes the writing is clearly on the wall.   In this case with the OP, there is definitely a message she needs to pay attention to.      

    1. 23.1
      RustyLH

      Do you have cats? Try this experiment. Put food down for them in a quantity where they never run out. They can eat as much as they want. In fact, use one of those dispensers designed to allow you to spend a few days away from home without the cats going hungry. Do this for several months, maybe even a year. Do the same with any treats. Don’t give them treats by your own hand. Place them down on a dish when they aren’t around, or are sleeping. The point is to get them to simply assume that the food is always there, period. You don’t want them associating the food as coming directly from you. Often, at some point, the cats may begin to act more independent from you. In short, take you for granted.

      Once this happens, reverse it. Do not keep food down, but rather make sure they are there to see you put just the amount recommended for a normal cat. Now the treats come from your hand. They get no food except by your hand. They associate you with their getting to eat. You are their provider and they recognize that. More often than not, the cats will become more affectionate with you.

      I’ve seen this in a few other people’s relationships and it even happened in mine. See, in the Navy, a man often turns over all money and bills to his wife. Why? Consistency. He is coming and going, while she is always there. He may take a small amount as his personal spending money but the rest is normally made available to her.

      I have seen women become less affectionate, less kind, less civil with him, once this becomes the norm. She no longer comes to him and flirts to get that new pair of shoes. And often she won’t even discuss it beforehand. She just goes and buys them. My ex did this. I once stated that since I was no longer going to sea, I wanted to retake control of my money. That did not go over well at all. Now keep in mind that she was a book keeper at the time so she knew how to do this very well, so I then suggested that she run a log so that we could see all money coming in and all money going out, and where it was going to. I even offered to bring home every single receipt. This was asking too much. “I was trying to control her!!!” I am so tired of women who fall back on playing the victim role. I won’t be in a relationship with a woman who acts or thinks that way. I always advise other men to do the same. I also advise them to control their money. Do not just hand it over in a joint account, except maybe the amounts that are his share of the known monthly expenses. Everything else is to be kept in his own private account.

      I even counsel young guys in the Navy to do this. Have a joint account that the monthly expense money goes into, and everything else goes into his account. This helps guard against being taken for granted.

      1. 23.1.1
        henriette

        I think it unwise for anyone to put all money into a joint account over which one person has control.   Sadly, I think it’s human nature for people to convince themselves that “what’s his/hers is mine!” as a way to justify personal greed and control issues.   I have seen both men and women fall prey to this.  
          
        And while you might imagine that discussing these issue before marriage or even living together might   let you see how the person will behave in the decades to come, I can assure you that it’s possible to slowly change over the years.   I’ve seen it happen too many times.  

        1. Joe

          Um, a joint account is by definition an account with joint ownership and access.   Otherwise it would be a personal account.

      2. 23.1.2
        Julia

        Keeping joint accounts for shared expenses is smart and separate accounts for individual expenses. Apparently us ladies are just like cats, except instead of food we are looking for shoes. Seriously though, individual accounts are smart. My friend’s ex-husband cheated on her, a day before he left her he wiped out their joint accounts and for the month prior maxed out all their joint credit cards. She was financially ruined. Keeping money separate is good advice for all, even for couples where one stays home. Having your own money that you don’t need to ask permission for makes you feel like an adult in a relationship, not a child or a housecat.

        1. Sunflower

          Women are not cats.   You’re generalizing due to an unfortunate and blindsided experience.   And seriously, if you don’t communicate about money with your partner and know what’s going on in your marriage, or relationship with YOUR money and leave it entirely up to the other person to handle, then if it all goes to hell in a hand basket, then who’s to blame?  

        2. Clare

          Sunflower,
            
          Julia was referencing Rusty’s post above – somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I might add.

        3. Sunflower

          Sorry for the confusion.   I referencing   Rusty’s post as well.

        4. Nicole

          Also keeeping your own credit cards. I have a friend who hasn’t worked in over a decade but did maintain her pre-marriage investment accounts and has alway kept active credit cards in her married name.  
          She lives in an affluent neighborhood and saw a neighbor wind up homeless for the same reason (although in that case, the woman was a housewife).   But it was sad b/c she couldn’t so much as rent a hotel room for her and her kids when her husband cleaned out the accounts and ran off with his girlfriend.  

    2. 23.2
      Still-Looking

      Sunflower – Why do you think I’m naive?   You state there should be complete transparency and honesty with regard to financial matters after I stated that in a perfect world there would be complete disclosure.   

      A relationship should also be free of jealousy, bitterness, irrational positions, adultery, and every other negative issue that has been discussed on this blog.
      Unfortunately, people have flaws and they bring those flaws into a relationship.   Sometimes the red-flags do not appear or the underlying cause of an issue does not even develop for months, years, or even decades.

      You claim that some men use money in an effort to control women.   I agree but I must add some women do the same thing.

      By asking my question of why the OP needs to know details I was attempting to broaden the analysis of this issue.   Rather than assuming the BF is a mean, controlling, SOB who plans to rule the relationship like a tyrant, do you think there might be an entirely rational reason the BF is reluctant to share the details with the OP?

      With the very limited (and one-sided) information, we can all speculate as to his motives.   Maybe the BF is just very private with certain issues.   We don’t know but I’m going to toss out another hypothetical….
      Sunflower – if you and your BF both earned $50k a year, were madly in love, and you inherited $10 million, would you tell him the details?   What if he lives paycheck to paycheck but has a shiny beemer and has very impulsive spending habits?   What if he kept pestering you for the details?   What if several months later he proposed and you start talking about buying a house and you’re thinking a starter home and he’s constantly showing you pictures of McMansions?   If you don’t have total disclosure and transparency are you engaging in spousal abuse or are you just being reasonable?   Would love to hear your thoughts.  

      1. 23.2.1
        Sunflower

        Your description of a BF is pretty pathetic……get real.  

      2. 23.2.2
        ShivaD

        Still looking – I think you are missing the point because you don’t understand the impact marriage has on you as an individual. When you marry you are no longer individuals – you are one unit. His debt would become her debt. People hide things well and to be honest 2 years is not a long time to know someone. Once they say “I do” she is on the hook for crap she had nothing to do with – child support, liens, taxes, EVERYTHING. Did you know finances are one of the top divorce reasons? Knowing this can you honestly blaame anyone for expecting 100% transperancy? If my soon to be has serious debt that he avoids while still making a nice chunk I need to know. If knowing this you still think his being completely unwilling to share anything – not even basics – is okay I wish you luck as you are most likely one of those ppl who have to experience for themselves before you truly understand. Marriage is serious business and certain topics cannot be left undiscussed. I do feel she waited a bit long to figure out how unacceptable his position is but she might have had slight tunnel vision planning the wedding. If he doesn’t trust her enough to disclose his finances it’s not a good sign. This isn’t the early days where men brought home all the bacon.

  4. 24
    kim

    My father kept secret a number of things from my mother before they were married: what his job description was (she thought he was an executive when he was a laborer), his financial status (he had no money saved and she found that out when they went house hunting), that his first wife had left him for his boss, who was still his boss, (made holiday gatherings uncomfortable) and that he had a mental illness (bi-polar and ended up in the hospital for 3 months about a year after they were married, and had 2 more hospitalizations at 5 year increments until lithium was invented).   Oh, and he was STILL married (never told her the divorce was not final) until 2 weeks before their wedding, which occurred in another country so it would have been quite the ordeal to call it off. She stuck by him even though he continued to have mental breakdowns, she had to return to work after I was born (had to swallow her pride and beg for her old job back) and neither had a happy life. I am ALL for full disclosure.

    My husband is one of those people who needs privacy. He gave me full disclosure when it was clear we would be together long term, but I am sworn to secrecy as far as the value of our home, assets, yearly income, college tuition for our daughter etc. Much of this information would be in the public domain but he considers it sacred. But, he shared it early on.

    Maybe this man is concerned about keeping his savings a secret. Maybe he is willing to share information about monthly salary. He has to if they are planning on working out a fair budget together and how they are going to share expenses. Maybe he will feel safer if she brings up the idea of a pre nup.

  5. 25
    RustyLH

    It’s animal nature. It’s the very same reason you can get in trouble feeding the bears in the wild. They don’t want the bears to associate humans with handouts. They want bears to keep their distance from humans. Your mind will learn to associate things together or not. The simple fact is many men used to do this.turn over the finances to the woman. Most men these days have learned or are learning that this is a bad idea.

    As to why I did it, as I said, it had to do with being in the Navy. You may not know this but if you kept more than just a little bit of spending money, and she got into financial trouble while you were at sea, it was not a good thing. So most men did do what I did. The problem comes when yo want to take back some control. In my experience and watching those around me, women whine about some men being controlling, but it pales in comparison to how some woman will act if she gets control.

  6. 26
    Crazyhorse

    It always amuses me when  someone talks about  being ‘committed’ and ‘in love’  but if some issue crops up they are ready to up stakes and not look back.   Doesn’t sound  like there is a whole lot of  ‘commitment’ or ‘love’  there to begin with.
      
    I don’t think the OP views herself as being a gold digger  but exactly what is a  ‘gold digger’?   To me the term gold digger  is someone who  gets married  to secure the benefits of  someone elses  wealth.   This pre-supposes that one of the partners in the relationship has more, perhaps significantly more wealth than the other partner, for gold digging to occur.   A marriage should be viewed like a business partnership.   If you were going into business with someone would you be happy to partner up with someone who has no skills, no money, no assets, wants to spend all the business  takings on  clothes and cars and holidays and eating out  with nothing set aside to run the business?   The business would go bankrupt in no time, i.e. the marriage would fail.   Then one of the business partners gets awarded most of the business assets (they havn’t worked for) and forces  the other partner to pay them income support forever because the useless partner can’t or won’t earn money to support themselves.

    I’m always    suspicious when someone (anyone) wants to know what my income and assets are unless there is a really good reason  for them to know because the only reason for them wanting to know is so they can  get a peice of the action.   The home loan people want to know everything about me (or as much as I want to disclose to them) so they can hit you up for payments and understand your credit risk profile, which is understandable and they will get your private details private due to privacy laws.

    Now what if you  hook up with  Miss Sucky Sucky from BANGKOK.   She want to know all about you Mr.   She want to love you for long time.   And all her relatives, friends, acquitances and people from her village also now know you have money and then the list of needs, wants and DEMANDS start to be presnted on a daily basis.   If you are poor, with no income, it is completely understandable that you will start ‘digging for gold’ from someone who can offer you more than someone else.   And if that means you must use all your ‘talents’ to milk the  person then so be it.   But you will have to forgive the person who is potentally going to be ‘milked’ (the Milkee) to be a bit concerned about fully disclosing up front exactly what their net worth is to the potential Milker.   Are they marrying you for you, or for your money?   What if the Milkee says “Hey babe, that money i’ve been so cagey about, it amounts to $10k”.   Milker says “What!   I thought you were worth way more than that, how is that going to support the lifestyle I have envisaged securing from you?   I’m out of here!”   If the money issue is really that much of an issue and you are not in fact marrying for “luv” then I say go your seperate ways, your not compatible.

    1. 26.1
      starthrower68

      Oh dear Lord, you just opened up the American women vs. foreign women can of worms again! 😀

    2. 26.2
      sarahrahrah!

      Crazyhorse, your post soundedd like a thinly veiled racial slur and I do not appreciate it.   You also sound rather bitter and untrusting.

        

  7. 27
    Marie

    @Crazyhorse – there are plenty of prostitutes and gold diggers right here in the US of all races and ethnicities.   Why are you caricaturizing foreign Asian women as sucky sucky women from Bangkok. I find your attitude highly racist and poorly informed and I am surprised and deeply disappointed that Evan and other readers have not said anything.   I thought this was an enlightened blog.

    1. 27.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I don’t read every comment, Marie, nor do I see fit to respond to every yahoo who says something stupid on here. Good luck trying to police the internet.

    2. 27.2
      starthrower68

      The racist stereotyping notwithstanding, if one’s default position on marriage is that of an adversarial nature, there is no way that ends well.

      1. 27.2.1
        RustyLH

        starthrower, unfortunately marriage is a legal and binding contract, but the default legal positions are not fair, or acceptable to some people.   For instance, Ohio actually took a step father to court for child support.   There are many horror stories.   I DO NOT blame a man with assets for being very worried, or downright scared.   it’s funny now that many women earn more than the husband that they are now taking another look at those life time spousal support laws.

        1. starthrower68

          Well I think there’s a couple of things you do with someone with that mindset.   Wish them luck and walk away. 🙂

    3. 27.3
      RustyLH

      Marie, it’s not the first time this has happened.   Mention bringing a girl from overseas here to marry, and the cliches and stereotypes get tossed about like confetti.

  8. 28
    Peter 51

    The early Church had little to say about formal marriage.   Sex once was enough.   Formal marriage was a way for medieval monarchs to manage their lands.   So marriage is defintely about joint management of money.   What I have done is for both to pay into the joint account and then withdraw the surplus over the monthly spend in proportion to income.   When one isn’t earning then about equal pocket money is agreed.

  9. 29
    Cris

    That would definitely not be ok with me. I mean, we are about to become a family and the dude doesn’t want to reveal this oh-so-secret data to me? That’s BS. I am all for pre-nupting and I don’t need his money, I just don’t think that it’s ok not to share it with your future wife.

  10. 30
    mc

    A lot depends on who this person really is and it all depends on the true reason for his unwillingness, I believe in truth. If you don’t want to reveal you fear what the revelation will do. Something to hide or distrust, its still a unknown and creates if not doubt, a question. Its a trust issue and not   good way to start a marriage.

  11. 31
    mc

    on the other hand if you truly love, trust and care about him and the money is not an issue, does it matter. it agains depends on his true intentions and hat they are good. Is it to test your trust in him? only he knows and the very least needed to do is ask why he doesn’t want to say.

  12. 32
    Elizabeth

    Finances and secrecy surrounding them were two of the reasons I broke off relations with my ex- husband and my ex-partner. Both were horribly in debt, a fact I didn’t know about until well into the relationship with each. Both were dependent on the money I brought to the relationship. I didn’t ask the crucial questions, “How much money did they have, did they have any debts, and did they have a financial plan?” I assumed both men to be honest; both men were not honest. I thought the ex-husband was an exception and thus assumed the second guy was not. Both were crooks! Anyway, I now ask the crucial questions.
    A couple of years ago I nearly had a third hanger on in a man who moved into my house, assuming he could stay beyond the few days I invited him to. I actually had to kick him out, because I   realized he thought he was onto a good wicket with me providing for him. What was, for me, a simple invitation to visit less than a week, he saw as an opportunity of a life time. I asked the crucial questions and found out his intentions from the answers he gave. I’m very glad I’m finally learning something or other.

  13. 33
    kim

    I would be worried that he is hiding something like debts or doing something illegal. Once married – his money problems become her money problems. I was naive when I got married – even at 30 – my then husband made a good salary and so did I. I owned a house, he owned a house. Once we were married though – I found out his house had liens on it, he owed money to several people and had judgements against him for unpaid bills. We had to hire a lawyer to sort many things out. This was a pattern throughout our marriage – and he eventually got fired from a $200,000+ year job for falsifying expense reports. We’re divorced now, no surprise. So – she should be worried and not get married until there is full disclosure, maybe even run a credit check on him.

  14. 34
    Steph

    Not sure if this thread is still current, I happened upon it because I was researching something (great blog, by the way!) Esther (OP), you have probably read through the many comments, most of which offered some great insight, so I will tey not to be redundant. The one thing I’ll add — put aside right or wrong for a moment. Try answering this: “What are you really willing or able to live with?”

    Up until now you may have been able to accept the “unknown” because the consequences for you were not there or perhaps it isn’t   something you thought about beyond the “trust” factor. But you have concerns NOW (valid ones) and the reality is that marriage is more than two people who love each other spending the rest of their lives together. If it were only about that, then why get married at all, right? Marriage is a legal contract. Period. So if you can live with the possibility that your partner may not be able to support you or contribute financially, or you are okay with not knowing what debt, etc. you will now be responsible for when entering into this contract, then forge ahead. If you cannot live with that, and he isn’t willing to be open with you, then don’t. With the current situation staying the way it is, it becomes a game of poker…and you can’t loose what you don’t bet. Hope this helps.

  15. 35
    Maria

    I was married after dating a man for almost 3 years. We went to a pre-marriage class through our church, and discussed most topics, without much transparency or regards to finances. Up until marriage and with us both working full-time w professional salaries, we kept our finances separate. Once we started having children, we agreed that I would stay home to raise and care for them, and work part-time nights and weekends. Between being home with small children, and working part-time, I became one of those subservient wives. I took care of the house and kids, and he took care of the bills and controlled the purse strings. I had NO clue how much my husband made, what we owed, how much (despite my constant badgering for him to reveal basic financial information) he had in assets and liabilities, but BOY DID I FIND OUT THE HARD WAY WHEN I FILED FOR DIVORCE! Within a week of filing, I was left with a mortgage, outstanding credit cards, and utilities that were getting shut off. I had no money to pay for food for my own children. Not only was I destitute, but I had small children to care for. It took several years, and over 10k in legal fees to get him to disclose this information, get child support, etc., and even now, I am sure has hidden plenty. It also took me years to become financially independent again. Here’s my point, communication about finances BEFORE you make a MAJOR LIFE COMMITMENT is CRITICAL, I don’t care how old you are or how long you’ve known each other. It is not always a pleasant topic, but it MUST be discussed. Everything needs to be out on the table, whether he is comfortable with it or not. Tell your fiancee to grow the hell up. If he can’t talk to you because he’s too “uncomfortable”, then what else may he keep from you in the future. You should both feel safe to be honest and open about your finances, especially since it will affect the decisions you make with each in planning a life together. Ignoring the elephant in the room, or in this case, a bank account, maybe more, is a huge red flag.

  16. 36
    Tom

    It’s all about trust. Of course the person you are marrying has the right to see your financial information is they request it, however it’s important to approach it the right way. I am engaged and recently my fiancée said “I have to see a full credit report on you before we get married. If I can’t, that’s a deal breaker”. I have nothing to hide from her, but don’t like the way I was asked, like she didn’t trust me, wanted proof. I was very put-off by the way she said it. It made me feel like our relationship was not good. So girls, just because a guy refuses doesn’t mean he has something to hide, it’s how you ask. It’s a touchy thing that has to be approached the right way. You should go into a marriage with full trust in the person and what they tell you. If you don’t have full trust, don’t get married.

  17. 37
    Joel Dingeldein

    This actually answered my drawback, thank you!

  18. 38
    Stacy2

    Wealthy people trip over themselves to disclose their assets and sign a prenup. If he is not doing it, he’s NOT well to do and most likely in some sort of financial trouble, which can be very serious and ruin his wife’s life… RUN not walk from this situation.

    1. 38.1
      Carrie

      stacy you are re very intelligent and right!!!

  19. 39
    Cawini

    I would love to know what happened with this situation..great point of views from everyone..

  20. 40
    Carrie

    My boyfriend of 5 years and I recently split because of his stubborn unwillingness to act as a partner in the relationship.   When you get married, it is a business arrangement as well as a family unit.   The fact that he does not want transparency is a huge red flag.     I would strongly suggest a third party professional intervene and mediate the issue.   I don’t care how much he represents to have, marrying a man with the facade of money has a price usually not worth paying in my experience.   If he can’t be transparent as a PARTNER in life commitment, she needs to not walk but RUN.   She stands very vulnerable to the fact that he is in this position.     I used to work in family law.   Men who represent as having money often aren’t paying taxes.   My own father’s girlfriend divorced a guy with a million dollar home on a lake near Malibu in Southern CA after a couple of kids.   She has been sentenced for life to paying his tax debts with a meager income because he is in business for himself and can refuse discloser, can better hide income.   As much as my Dad loved her, he wouldn’t marry her!   Because of the ex’s taxes!   Now put that situation out there and think about it.   I’ve seen hundreds more where a spouse has no idea what she is marrying into.     In my experience having been married to and divorcing a divorce lawyer, the more money a man represents to have, the more important it is for her own safety and future to have complete transparency.   Why?   Because it is her who has the most to lose!   Why?   Because legally, the more he has prior to marriage, all his separately under community law mind you..   the more screwed she will be if they divorce.   This is a very ugly fact that women and lay people I. General do not understand.     He has more resources to win.   He usually, if secretive about assets, has a significant upper hand of control whether married or divorcing.   The law is irrelevant.   

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