Do you have a secret bundle of savings stashed away in case it all goes horribly wrong? Many of us do. And it doesn’t even mean you’re unhappy in your marriage or relationship. Just wise.
According to a survey two in five of us have savings or a separate bank account that remains a secret from our other half. Putting a little by each month, having a separate income stream, or receiving a lump sum from a family windfall or inheritance means you have extra financial security. The average stash is worth a stonking £7,500. Which is loads compared to the average savings.
There’s comfort in knowing you could leave if you want to. Women of previous generations were financially dependent on their husbands, so they would have struggled to start a new life alone if they were unhappy. But today’s women like to feel in control of their destiny. It’s their joker card to play if they ever need to. But hope that they never will.
That secret stash could even be the saviour of your relationship, because sticking together because you want to – rather than have to – means so much more. Having a mental escape valve is healthy, and means you always retain your self-respect, whatever happens. Having a certain amount of financial independence means you still feel like you – the pre-marriage you who used to splash out on a mini-break or a handbag when you felt like it. Holding onto that sense of self is important in a relationship of equals. And if the worst comes to the worst… well, you’re ready for it.
It’s not unknown for women who aren’t in a relationship to have a running away fund – just in case the career or the lifestyle doesn’t match up to their dreams and escape to an exotic location is required.
The crucial thing is to make sure your fund’s not tucked away under a mattress or in your knicker drawer, or even a current account, but somewhere safe – like an ISA. Financial Advisor Miss Lolly, who specialises in smart advice for women, says “The limit for 2015-16 ISAs is £15,240, and you’re losing out if you don’t put it in an ISA. The interest isn’t taxable so everything it earns is yours – and it’ll just keep growing”. And pay for a lovely ‘not running away’ treat!
But, warns Miss Lolly, check that you can get at it at a moment’s notice. “The nature of a “running away fund” means that is should be easily accessible so make sure you look into what access you will have to the account”. And if you have a large fund, you might need to think more strategically. “Having large amounts of cash in the bank is rarely putting your money to hard work, because it doesn’t tend to beat inflation. Work out what a sensible amount of cash is for you – usually 6 months’ worth of outgoings would be the maximum to put in an easy-access ISA. If your fund is worth more than this, you should consider investing the remainder. A good financial advisor will be able to give you the information you need to get the best return”.